The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Pulling together for engagement

It starts with Sunday gathering

Sunday and worship still go hand-in-hand for millions of Americans and ELCA members. But the two are heading apart at an increasing rate. That's where this magazine and leaders in this church hope to influence a course correction.

The trend is disheartening. In 1972, fully 35 percent of the American population reported weekly worship attendance. That sank to 26 percent by 2008. Meanwhile, those who never attend worship shot up from 9 percent in '72 to 21 percent in '08. In the ELCA, average weekly worship attendance fell from 1.5 million in 2003 to 1.19 million in 2010, a 21.1 percent decline. Much but not all of that came from membership loss (14.3 percent to 4.27 million) over the same period.

Where is the ELCA in all this? We are a church that believes God is calling us into the world — together. We don't have to do it all alone, and we don't have to do everything. We work through our 9,800 congregations, 65 synods, eight seminaries, 26 colleges, numerous social service agencies, the churchwide organization and the Lutheran World Federation.

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February issue


Embracing diversity