Apple Valley, Minnesota

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Sundays · 9:30 AM

We are a Reconciling in Christ
Community

Our Statement of Welcome

We at Grace Lutheran Church are committed to being an affirming, loving and welcoming community of faith for all people. We believe the gospel is God’s gift to be shared unconditionally regardless of age, ethnicity, race, national origin, family configuration or relationship status, physical or mental ability, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Although our world can often be an unloving and alienating place, we rejoice in the diversity that has nurtured, enriched and challenged the life and ministry we share. We are committed to equity and inclusion, to the work of anti-racism, and advocating for marginalized groups and peoples. All are welcome to participate fully in the community of Grace Lutheran Church. Following the example of Christ, this congregation welcomes you exactly as you are.

ADOPTED NOVEMBER 13, 2016 · REVISTED AND REAFFIRMED OCTOBER 20, 2021

About our Reconciling in Christ Identity

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment and replies with two: Love your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. The Gospel of Luke expands this to answer, “Who is my neighbor?” with the parable of the Good Samaritan.

A man was beaten and left at the side of the road between Jerusalem and Jericho. Two religious leaders ignored the man, based on the rules they followed to worship God. But a third man – a Samaritan who worshipped God differently – only saw a fellow human in need of compassion. He tended to the man’s physical and safety needs – both immediately and into the future.

Jesus then asked, “Who acted as the neighbor.”
His listener replied, “The Samaritan, who showed him mercy.”
Jesus then commanded, “Go and Do Likewise.

Matthew 22:37,39 and Luke 10:25-37, NRSV (paraphrased)

God calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves, without exception, by showing mercy and standing for justice. God deems all people worthy of our love and care, without litmus tests. Grace seeks to answer God’s call by “welcoming without exception, listening without judgment, and supporting without prejudice, all people.”

In November 2016, Grace Lutheran voted to become a Reconciling in Christ (RIC) congregation through the Lutheran program, Reconciling Works. What does this mean? On its RIC journey, Grace Lutheran strives to make an impact for the LGBTQIA+ community by:

  • Engaging the congregation through education
  • Seeking ways to advocate for the LBGTQIA+ in our community to ensure equity and safety
  • Financially supporting the national Reconciling Works/Reconciling in Christ organization

Next Steps & How to Take Them

We’re on a path toward widening our welcome. Whether you’ve been part of Grace for decades or meeting us for the first time, you’re invited to join this journey, both personally and as a community. Here are a few steps to take:

  • Below, you’ll find books, media, and more for all ages to learn and grow in knowledge and heart. Start with one resource and invite someone to join you in reading, viewing, or discussing what it means for you.
  • We’ll be hosting opportunities for studies, conversations, community events, and outreach/service. Stay tuned and sign up when they come!
  • Email our Reconciling in Christ team with questions, or if you are interesting in joining the team. Contact us at ric@graceofav.org or call the office 952-607-9643.

Our Reconciling in Christ Partner Organization

An independent, Lutheran, membership-supported organization, ReconcilingWorks is committed to strengthen all of God’s beloved for authentic, visible, faithful lives and to work for systemic change within the church and society. It it through partnership and a lengthy, intentional process with ReconcilingWorks that we receive our RIC designation.

Since 1974, ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation has advocated for the full welcome, inclusion, and equity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual/aromantic (LGBTQIA+) Lutherans in all aspects of the life of their Church, congregations, and community.

In relationships built through outreach and education, ReconcilingWorks shares Christ’s message, the Gospel, which is for everyone equally. We advocate for systemic change in policy and practice in church and society, working to alleviate not only the painful symptoms of oppression but also to eliminate its root causes.

The Latest on our RIC Journey

Step by step, we’re moving toward a deeper understanding of what it truly means to welcome without exception.

Reconciling in Christ Celebrations & Updates This Sunday

Reconciling in Christ Celebrations & Updates This Sunday

This Sunday, we celebrate our 5-year anniversary of being a Reconciling in Christ congregation! We’re spending time during our 9:30 am worship service lifting up this milestone, as well as presenting our updated Statement of Welcome, adopted last month by our...

Reconciling in Christ Book List

Reconciling in Christ Book List

GROWNUP READS One Coin Found: How God’s Love Stretches to the Marginsby Emmy Kegler (Author), Rachel Held Evans (Foreword) The stories of Scripture are for everyone. No exceptions. Emmy Kegler has a complicated relationship with the Bible. As a queer woman who...

What is Reconciling in Christ?

What is Reconciling in Christ?

What is RIC? The Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Program is for congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries, and other Lutheran organizations. Lutheran communities that publicly welcome people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, genderqueer, and other...

Meet the Team

Janet Nelson, Melissa Loe, Karen Wilson,
Deb Hansmeier, Martha Hiltner 

Resources to learn, grow, and connect

Books

Cover to cover, these books will help us see things in a new way as these incredible stories both inspire and challenge us.

Articles + Media

Things to watch and listen to that peak our curiosity and make us as consequential questions.

For Kids

We have a lot to learn and a lot to teach. Kids can help us with both.