“The Church is a people created by God in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, called and sent to bear witness to God’s creative, redeeming and sanctifying activity in the world.”
-ELCA Statement of Purpose
The St. Olaf College Student Congregation was organized in the spring of 1952 as the center of the spiritual community at the college. It exists to help students encounter the Christian Gospel and hear for themselves God’s call to faith, as college is often the first significant long-term absence from home for many students. Bearing witness to God’s love is the main focus of the congregation. Through the programs of the congregation, students motivated by Christian love are active in outreach concerns, engaged in dialogue regarding the application of the Christian faith to current issued and seeking to make worship an integral part of life.
In the spring of 1989, the congregation voted to become a Reconciling in Christ congregation by accepting an “Affirmation of Welcome” which publicly welcomes and affirms gay and lesbian people as children of God and participating members of the congregation. The “Affirmation of Welcome” follows here:
As a community of the people of God, we are called to minister to all people in our world, knowing that the world is often an unloving place. Our world is a place of alienation and brokenness. Christ calls us to reconciliation and wholeness. We are challenged by the Gospel to be agents of healing within our society.
We affirm with the apostle Paul that in Christ “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female” (Galatians 3:28). Christ has made us one. We acknowledge that this reconciliation extends to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Because gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons and their families are often scorned by society and alienated from the Church, we wish to make known our caring and concern. It is for this purpose that we affirm the following:
- that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities share the worth that comes from being unique individuals created by God;
- that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are welcome within the membership of this congregation upon making a common, public affirmation of faith; and
- that as members of this congregation, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are expected and encouraged to share in the sacramental and general life of this congregation.”
The Student Congregation is proud to be one of the first ELCA congregations in the country to begin using the new resources provided in Evangelical Lutheran Worship published in 2006 by Augsburg Fortress, Publishers.