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Open & Affirming

Emmanuel is a Reconciling in Christ congregation. We welcome into our full life and ministry people of any sexual orientation, gender identity, age, occupation, ability, nationality and race.

Pastor Dawn and Vicar Kelsey Brown at Bakersfield Pride

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  • What is the Reconciling in Christ program?

The Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Program recognizes Lutheran congregations that welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) believers.  RIC is NOT a reparative therapy ministry—we love you as God has made you.  The complete Reconciling in Christ Roster now exceeds 450 settings, including congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries, and other organizations. 

  • All people are welcome here.  Why should we single out lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people?

The RIC Program doesn't seek special treatment for LGBTQ people.  The reality is, however, that we live in a time where the voices of fear and misunderstanding often dominate the public discussion about sexuality. Tragically, these fearful voices are often all that are heard—and are sometimes taken to be definitive of what it means to be Christian.   

As a result, it is assumed by many LGBTQ people that they are not welcome in any church unless told otherwise. Since even a general statement of welcome is heard as really meaning "everybody but me," it takes a special effort to communicate that a congregation is sincere in its welcome.  The RIC Program seeks to make clearer the policy of congregations, synods, and other organizations where all people are welcome as fully participating members, celebrating their sexual orientation or gender identity or that of their children, siblings, and friends.

Emmanuel's Welcome Statement


Guided by the Holy Spirit, we recognize the church is in a never-ending process of growth, reformation, and reconciliation.

As a welcoming, all-inclusive community of faith, we believe Jesus commands us to love one another. We value the uniqueness of each individual as created in the image of God. We celebrate people of any age, faith history, ethnic background, education background, sexual orientation, gender identity, social, economic, or marital status.

As a loving, caring, forgiving community, centered in Jesus Christ, we make room at God’s table for all, including those who have known the pain of exclusion and discrimination in the church and society.

As a place for everyone, we affirm our diversity, unified by Jesus Christ in a faith that transcends our differences. We invite all people to journey with us in God’s mission at Emmanuel Lutheran Church.

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