When Paul Hagedorn came to the Newark, N.J., area to start an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America mission, he had no idea that it would be for people who speak Portuguese.
But after studying the demographics, Hagedorn discovered that Newark has the largest Portuguese-speaking population in the country.
The Lutheran Information Center began in 1995 and shares a space with a Christian bookstore. "We get a number of walk-in folks because of the bookstore," said Hagedorn, who is learning Portuguese. "We have begun English as a Second Language classes an d Bible study classes in Portuguese. We hope to start worshiping in mid-June."
The Newark area, once rich with Lutheran churches, has only one ELCA church remaining — St. John Lutheran, he said. The synod is trying to reinvest in the city, beginning with the Portuguese mission.
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