By Rev. Charles Fredrickson, Guest Contributor
San Antonio’s Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd is holding its annual Reconciling in Christ Sunday on January 25 at 10:30 a.m.
Reconciling in Christ Sunday, typically held on the last Sunday in January, is recognized ecumenically throughout the welcoming church movement as the annual highlight of the shared ministry of reconciliation.
Good Shepherd is the only Lutheran congregation in San Antonio that has made a public stand in welcoming and fully including people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
To celebrate Good Shepherd’s congregational journey, the church has observed this annual event with several speakers over the past few years. Daniel Graney, a member of the congregation and a local gay activist, spoke in 2012. Katrina Stewart, executive director of the Transgender Education Network of Texas, spoke in 2014.
This year, the congregation will be celebrating a momentous year of growth for welcoming congregations like Good Shepherd. Thirty-seven states across the US have legalized same sex marriage and San Antonio has had a year in which to build upon the revised nondiscrimination policy to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status.
The annual worship event is also to challenge the Christian community on how far Christians have yet to go toward full inclusion.
This year, the congregation has invited Rene Garcia, the ReconcilingWorks Region 4 Coordinator to preach and share about his journey as a gay Lutheran.
Rene has much to share based on “attending Sunday school, confirmation classes, and vacation bible school in the summer” as the son of a “German-American Lutheran mom and a Mexican-American Roman Catholic dad.” Rene, a gifted speaker, is from Houston where he is a teacher and member of Grace Lutheran Church.
The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd is located at 1630 Goliad Rd. in San Antonio. Reconciling in Christ Sunday worship with Holy Communion begins at 10:30 a.m. on January 25. All are invited. A reception with light refreshments will follow.
Rev. Charles Fredrickson is pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.