How do you close a congregation while leaving a legacy of hope and vision?
Members of Montclair Lutheran Church, Denver, did just that when they brought closure to 73 years of ministry. With only a small group remaining and an average age that matches its years in ministry, Montclair left with a vision for the future that embraces the ELCA's ecumenical relationship with the Episcopal Church and provides a home for one of the newest congregations in the Rocky Mountain Synod.
At the closing worship service Dec. 28, Montclair members were received by St. Luke Episcopal Church, just a block away, and with whom they had already shared ministry.
Montclair’s building, grounds and all the furnishings were given to the HKBP (Indonesian) Montclair Lutheran Church, Denver, an ELCA congregation that maintains its cultural roots with the Batak Church through the Batak Special Interest Conference of North America. In thanksgiving, the Indonesian congregation wrapped each of the Montclair members with a traditional handwoven ulos, which in the Batak culture carries a sign of deep respect and blessing.
In his closing words to the congregation, synod Bishop Allan Bjornberg said: "Could there be a more gracious, hospitable act than to give yourself away for the sake of the gospel? You have seen beyond the boundaries to ecumenical opportunity and beyond the boundaries of this country. This is an amazing witness — a holy time and holy place in the presence of the Spirit's work. The Spirit has crafted something new that we could never have imagined."
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers