Healing the Church: The Coalition for Education and Reconciliation

Immediately after the ELCA churchwide decisions to lift the ban on LGBT pastors last year, when people were worrying about a break in the church, I came up with the idea of getting people together who are on opposing sides of the issue to talk, to listen, to share their stories, to begin to develop relationships, and to work together toward healing. It was decided that a little time needed to pass before initiating such a dialogue, however, because volatile passions on both sides needed to settle down.

Earlier this year, as the one-year anniversary of the decisions approached, I took the idea to our bishop, Mike Rinehart, and he agreed that the time had come. People were ready. Accordingly, the Coalition for Education and Reconciliation was born. While not a formal task force of the synod, this organization has the full blessing and support of the bishop and his staff. It is not, either, a program of Lutherans Concerned or of Grace, but is a lay-led, grassroots healing effort. The decisions have been made and implemented, and it is now time to learn how to live with and love each other through this transitional time.

The organizational group for the Coalition has met twice now, and has established the basic approach we will take. People will be invited to meetings across the synod (which stretches from Brenham to New Orleans, along the Gulf Coast), where they will be invited to reflect on what we have in common, what the roots of their positions are, to tell their individual stories, to really listen to one another, and to ask questions within a carefully controlled atmosphere of mutual respect for differences. This will begin the reconciliation aspect of our work. The educational aspect will flow from this, and will be geared toward the expressed needs of each group.

This is where you come in. We need people to help make this happen. We need calm and considerate people from all sides of the issue to help with the Coalition’s planning and implementation. We need good, clear-thinking planners to come to our monthly meetings. We need people who can be trained to facilitate either/both reconciliation or education sessions.

The level of time commitment is flexible in all cases. It’s up to each individual how much time can be afforded, but this goal of healing really does rely on each and every one of us. Think about becoming involved. Pray on it. And then, if you feel called to do so, get in touch with me at 832/314-2821, or LauraBourdo@comcast.net.


No comments:

Post a Comment