At its May 2012 meeting, the Board of Directors of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) passed a resolution to make LSTC a Reconciling in Christ seminary.
Prior to the vote, the board heard a presentation by members of the Masters Students Association (MSA), the International Students Association (ISA) and Thesis 96, the student association concerned with the inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. They reported that the LSTC community overwhelmingly favors the official designation as an RIC seminary. For the last several months, students had tested support for the resolution by meeting with faculty, staff, and fellow-students to discuss concerns about becoming an RIC seminary.
Intern Chad McKenna, who was not on campus to participate in the months of discussions that preceded the board meeting, was surprised by the vote. In his May 15 entry for the LSTC Taste and See blog, he wrote, “I’ve always assumed LSTC was an RIC seminary, based on the general vibe of welcome and inclusivity here. Today’s vote makes that ‘vibe’ more official and intentional.”
LSTC joins 24 synods of the ELCA and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia as RIC institutions. In 2007 the LSTC Board of Directors adopted a welcoming statement but chose not to become RIC before the 2009 ELCA Churchwide decision to allow persons in publicly-accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve as rostered leaders.
Becoming an RIC seminary
In the coming school year, LSTC will incorporate the language of reconciliation into the life of the seminary.
“As a student body, we want to make sure that all voices are heard and that spaces are provided for conversation on a wide variety of topics. We want to be intentional about the ‘so what?’ part of LSTC becoming an RIC seminary, focusing on continued reconciling at LSTC and incorporating the language of reconciliation -- in all areas of our life together, not just concerns with sexual orientation and gender identity -- into our everyday language of the school,” said Alex Raabe, one of the students who made the presentation to the board.
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The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.