Peace Lutheran Church in Waldorf, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has become the first Lutheran church in Southern Maryland to become a Reconciling in Christ congregation, according to a news release from the church. The RIC program includes approximately 910 Lutheran communities that publicly welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual/aromantic, LGBTQIA+, people.

On Jan 26, also nationally designated as “RIC Sunday,” the congregation voted to adopt the following welcome statement to the LGBTQIA+ community, their friends and allies:

“In response to God’s unconditional love for all people, we at Peace Lutheran Church affirm that every person is a child of God. All believers and seekers regardless of your age, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, relationship status, abilities or economic circumstance are a part of the body of Christ. We recognize that there are differences among us and believe that we can love alike even though we may not always think alike. We invite you to join us in our faith journey toward greater love and understanding.”

“Identifying ourselves as a RIC congregation is a way to intentionally reach out

and invite all people to join in our life and ministry,” Rev. Shannon Anderson said. “We want everyone to know that Peace is a safe place to worship God and serve our neighbors.”

At 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 1, Peace will hold a celebration of its new status and welcomes the community to attend. For more information, visit www.myplc.org.