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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'You don't look like a Lutheran'

Racism in the ELCA sends unwelcome vibe to visitors

The church "welcomes" in the sense that we tell people we want them to come. We throw open our doors and post cute things on our signs like, "We Will Not Be Undersouled." What we fail to mention is that for a nonwhite family, a group of teenagers, a disabled person or a gay couple, it's another story.

Many of our congregations are cliques. It's hard enough for a lot of whites who aren't disabled, gay or from the "wrong" background to break in. As a result, the "different" people often leave our churches with a bad impression and are unlikely to return.


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November issue

NOVEMBER issue:

The ELCA's aging clergy wave

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