New Joy is a spirited community,
called by God to:
extend a radical welcome,
share a generous grace,
nurture transforming faith, and
Live God's promise.
Since its founding, New Joy Lutheran Church has extended a wide welcome to neighbors and friends alike. New Joy has a wonderful tradition of opening its doors for community use, of welcoming newcomers to faith without judgment, and of extending God’s love and grace in myriad ways.
For 20 years New Joy has directly or indirectly embraced a welcome that extended to members of the LGBTQ+ community. So far as we know, however, we have never provided explicit or extended training on LGBTQ+ welcome, or leaned into this welcome with explicit action, community partnership, or public witness.
Given the state of public animus toward the LGBTQ+ community, many within New Joy are discerning a call to go public with our Christian love and full support for LGBTQ+ people and families. We are initiating a season of congregational learning, discernment, and engagement in a new kind of explicit welcome and advocacy with and for God’s beloved LGBTQ+ community.
New Joy Blog Posts
Pastor Chris held a four-session Bible Study on LGBTQ+ Welcome and the Bible, February/March 2023. Below are the notes from each of the four sessions.
January 24 blogpost outlines a series of classes and opportunities to explore what an explicit LGBTQ+ welcome would look like at New Joy.
December 6 blogpost invites the congregation into a time of discernment and reflection on explicit LGBTQ+ welcome.
SESSION 4 LGBTQ+ Welcome and the Bible. The fourth and final session explores why explicit welcome of LGBTQ+ people is faithful to the Gospel. Continue reading
SESSION 3 LBGTQ+ and the Bible. Today we are looking at the “clobber verses” – the small handful of Bible passages that are frequently used to reject, shame, and condemn homosexuality and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Continue reading
SESSION 2 LGBTQ+ and the Bible. The second session of this series looks at hospitality in both the Bible and also in New Joy’s history. Continue reading
SESSION 1 LBGTQ+ and the Bible. The first session offered an initial overview of Christianity and human sexuality. Continue reading
New Joy is planning a four-week Bible Study and a few experiences to learn from members of the LGBTQ+ community and from members of LGBTQ+ affirming congregations. Continue reading
New Joy’s vision was to be a congregation that “welcomes, accepts, values, and nurtures all people wherever they are in their relationship with God.” “God does not discriminate, and neither do we. New Joy happily welcomes all, without regard to race, income, or sexual orientation.” Continue reading
Sermon by Pastor Chris
August 14, 2022 sermon that addresses New Joy's need to be more explicit with our welcome and care for LGBTQ+ people.
Lutheran Advocacy Group
Major resource and advocacy group for Lutheran congregations extending an explicit welcome to the LGBTQ+ community.
Within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Reconciling Works has been caring and advocating for LGBTQ+ people within and beyond the church for over 40 years. Reconciling Works welcomes congregations to become “Reconciling in Christ” ministries which make explicit and public their welcome and full support for the LGBTQ+ community.
This season of congregational learning, discernment, and engagement around the LGBTQ+ community is part of a process that could lead to our designation as a “Reconciling in Christ” congregation.