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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Update: Louisa Groce appreciates 'little miracles'

Just before her graduation from The Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia — at age 80, Louisa Groce talked with The Lutheran (May 1999, page 18). "I'm a little afraid about whether I'll be good enough to handle a call," she said.

Members of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Jersey City, N.J., trusted she would. Groce was ordained there Sept. 12 and became, according to known Lutheran records, the oldest new ordinand in the history of the ELCA or its predecessor bodies. Groce counts that as the first "little miracle" among several:

  • Sunday school restarted.

  • In the sanctuary filled with stained-glass windows inscribed to German founders, a first dedication in memory of an African American member — a communion chalice.

  • A $1,000 gift from an outsider, inspired by her story — also covered by CBS, the Associated Press and the British Broadcasting Corporation. It is a start for the $37,000 needed for roof repairs.

    How does the new pastor feel now about handling a call? "I get tired," she admits, "but I'm feeling real excitement. My work in the congregation is a brand-new adventure."


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