Lilly is a frequent commenter on this blog. Her Wisconsin congregation has voted itself out of the ELCA and now she wonders where to find a church home. Her husband is excited to return to his UCC roots and has already joined the choir in a local UCC congregation. Lilly is still torn, and she and the minority that was ousted by their congregational vote are serious about starting an ELCA mission church.
Private emails from a lady in Florida report heavy-handed and unconstitutional behavior on the part of her pastor who is attempting to lead that congregation out. The first vote barely reached the 2/3 requirement, but there may be serious issues with the procedures and whether that vote will stand due to failure to adhere to constitutional requirements. In any case, she reports,
My husband and I have been attending a vibrant and welcoming Episcopal congregation and it has greatly restored our souls during this season of Lent.
In Elk River, Minnesota, a group of 100 former congregants of Central Lutheran, which has departed the ELCA, have been worshiping Sunday evenings using the facilities of a local Episcopal church. They will soon move to an elementary school in order to offer Sunday morning worship. This group has already received a charter from the Minneapolis Area Synod of the ELCA and has adopted the name “Elk River Lutheran Church”. Pastor Cynthia Ganzkow-Wold leads the worship services.
The story of Elk River Lutheran is reported in a local newspaper, the Star News, and has received extensive positive commentary on the Facebook group, “Lovin’ the Lutheran Church.” Here is a sampling of comments:
As a member of a divided congregation, I am encouraged – I hope that I will have the courage to do something similar if called upon.
I see this as one step backwards, TWO steps forward! Good for Elk River!
What a wonderful, heart-warming story. God bless as you continue to preach the love of God for all God’s children.
What say you? Are you a member of a conflicted congregation? Has your congregation voted to leave the ELCA or are votes pending? Please share your experience.