August 29, 2019
The LWM Board invited Anthony Briggs, Executive Director of Crossroads Camp and Retreat Center in New Jersey to share with the board about Crossroads’ journey to becoming an RIC organization. Questions asked to Mr. Briggs included:
- What led Crossroads to become RIC?
- Who approved the process?
- What has been the impact?
- Anything that would or could have been done differently?
Mr. Briggs shared that for 10 years, Crossroads was the only RIC camp in the Lutheran Outdoor Ministry Network. He communicated that there has not been an issue with the decision to become RIC and that the impact has been positive. The only negative feedback mentioned was that a gentleman who lives out-of-state annually writes a letter asking the organization to reconsider the decision to become Reconciling in Christ. The decision to become RIC was made by the organization’s board.
LWM usage statistics were also presented to the board highlighting congregations that are actively involved (through patronage) in Living Water Ministries programs. These statistics included participation in any LWM program over the last three years.
After hearing Mr. Briggs feedback and engaging in discussion, the LWM Board decided to continue this conversation by setting up a timeline and bringing this before the synod assemblies at the May 2020 assemblies for the North/West Lower Michigan and Southeast Michigan synods. Rationale for presenting a resolution seeking synodical approval from the assemblies included:
- While Living Water Ministries is an independent organization, the life and work God is doing through LWM is deeply interwoven into the life and work God is doing in each synod. In the Reconciling in Christ process, there is a step that includes a congregational vote to approve. The representative bodies found at each synod assembly is believed to be the best equivalent to a congregational vote available to LWM in this process.
- Taking this resolution before each synod assembly allows for public dialogue and discourse. This is not a decision the LWM Board wishes to make in a vacuum.