Kingston Church Recognized For Welcoming LGBTQ Community

February 6, 2018 GMT

KINGSTON — A local Lutheran church has earned recognition from a national organization for its policy to promote a welcoming attitude toward all people, regardless of their sexual orientations, gender identity or other qualities. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Kingston officially adopted a policy of welcoming all people to its congregation, regardless of their ability, age, ethnicity, financial situation, gender identity, life circumstances, race or and sexual orientation. “You are welcome here. Your children, family, friends, spouses, and partners are, too. God loves us all,” read the church’s statement. The stance has earned the church recognition from ReconcilingWorks, a St. Paul, Minnesota organization, which gave Holy Trinity its “Reconciling in Christ” designation, which means it publicly welcomes the LGBTQ community. A map on the organization’s website shows that Holy Trinity is the only Lutheran church in Luzerne County to adopt the policy. The next closest church is in Brodheadsville. The Kingston church has always welcomed people of all kinds, but after several congregation members asked about seeking the designation, the church began a long look at the proposal, said the Rev. Paul Metzloff, the church’s pastor. Church members had questions, they discussed the idea at Bible studies, other events and informally and church leaders took classes about the issue. The goal was to not surprise people with a change and to give them the chance to learn and think about the issue, Metzloff said. The entire congregation is invited to an annual meeting, and at the latest one, they took a vote. The unanimous decision was to adopt the policy and to seek the Reconciling in Christ designation. “In the end, I think we were able to successfully address those questions and let people understand that this is welcoming and what we’re called to do as Christians,” Metzloff said. The designation means the Kingston church will be listed on a registry of churches in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America that have adopted the LGBTQ-friendly policy. The ELCA is the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States, with about 4 million members, according to its website. “I think it’s an excellent program,” said Cheryl DeHaut, a member of a church committee that researched the idea and brought it to the rest of the congregation for a vote. “If people are looking for a church, regardless of denomination, and they see were are part of Reconciling in Christ, maybe they’ll come check it out. We’re a small congregational family. We want people to feel welcome, we’d like some more membership and we want to be welcoming to everyone.” Contact the writer: bwellock@citizensvoice.com 570-821-2051, @CVBillW