Our Synod Offers Wide Welcome

Our synod became a Reconciling in Christ Synod in 2016. What does this mean? It means we offer a wide welcome to all of God’s beloved children regardless of anything that seeks to divide us. Our unity is in Jesus Christ. Learn more here!

On May 19, 2016, our Lower Susquehanna Synod Council adopted the following statement of welcome:

You are Welcome Here!

In the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the ELCA we feed the hungry as we have been fed by Christ. We welcome with full participation and inclusion all who are seeking God’s love and grace. We welcome all because God welcomes all, regardless of race or culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, or relationship status. We welcome all without regard to addictions, physical or mental health, imprisonment, socio-economic circumstances or anything that too often divides us. Our unity is in Jesus Christ.

Then, at our 2016 Lower Susquehanna Synod Assembly, the Harrisburg Conference brought a resolution asking that our synod become a Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Synod designation in keeping with our statement of welcome. That resolution passed by a large margin, and we then sought designation from Reconciling Works. Since that time more congregations across our synod are becoming RIC congregations and requesting resources for study and discussion.

An Introduction to Reconciling in Christ and our synod’s Statement of Welcome:

What is RIC? The RIC designation is a program for congregations, synods, seminaries, colleges, and other Lutheran organizations that publicly welcome the full participation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons. Currently, 883 Lutheran communities and organizations are on the RIC roster, and more than 385 communities are in the process of studying and/or receiving this designation. For more information about RIC and Reconciling Works, the organization that sponsors and oversees the RIC program, click here.

What Congregations and organizations in our synod are currently Reconciling in Christ? 
Christ Chapel, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg
Communities of Hope, Harrisburg
Epiphany Lutheran Church, Harrisburg
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Hershey
Lower Susquehanna Synod
Lutheran Camping Corporation of Central Pennsylvania
Messiah Lutheran Church, Harrisburg
Redeemer Lutheran Church, Lancaster
St. James Lutheran Church, Gettysburg
St. Paul Lutheran Church, Penryn
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Middletown
St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Lancaster
St. Matthias Lutheran Church, Carlisle
St. Michael Lutheran Church, Harrisburg
Tree of Life Lutheran Church, Harrisburg
Union Lutheran Church, York
United Lutheran Seminary, Gettysburg

Wondering About Gendered Language?

Below is an excerpt from the ELCA’s Style Guide regarding the use of gendered language.

Gendered language
When possible, use terms and labels that can apply to any gender. Other language cannot always be
gender-neutral but have gender-neutral alternatives when the person’s gender is not known.

When referencing attachment to the Godhead – especially in worship – the gender-neutral term
“siblings in Christ” should be used.

When not talking about a specific role or event or when the gender is not known, “parent” should be
used instead.

preferred pronoun
Do not use. It has since been replaced by “personal pronoun” or “pronoun.”

Pronouns for entries in forms and elsewhere should include:

  • he/him/his
  • she/her/hers
  • they/them/theirs
  • other (with an option to fill in the blank of the pronoun)
  • none (just the person’s name)


“Child” should be used when the gender is not known or when talking about a hypothetical child.
“Children of God” should be used instead of “sons and daughters of God.”

These can function as both singular and plural pronouns. It is the optimal substitute when discussing
someone whose gender is not yet known or when talking about hypothetical people.

titles of people in forms
Forms should use the following titles

  • Bishop
  • Deacon
  • Dr.
  • Mr.
  • Mrs.
  • Ms.
  • Mx.
  • Pastor
  • Sister*
    • *“Sister” can only be used for members of Deaconess community.
  • The Rev.
  • (None)**
    • **”None” is in parenthesis to indicate that it is not a formal title but rather the person chooses
      not to use a title to reflect the absence of using pronouns.

How can I and/or my congregation learn more? Our synod has produced several videos to provide information and insight. We can provide workshop and Bible study leaders and materials to help you learn more.

“Blessing Beyond Belief”: Becoming a Reconciling in Christ Congregation
(St. Michael Lutheran Church’s Story)

Journey into Deeper Welcome (St. Peter’s Lutheran Church’s Story)

Called to Serve: One Seminarian’s Journey
(The Rev. Robin Fero’s Journey to Ordained Ministry)