The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


PBS chronicles church closing

In southwestern Minnesota, near the intersection of Interstate 90 and U.S. Highway 71, you can find a quaint little church at the Fort Belmont tourist site. How that 125-year-old church decided to close its doors is the subject of Delafield, a one-hour PBS documentary airing in May (check your local listings).

Forced to face the realities of rural decline, an aging, dwindling Delafield [Minn.] Lutheran Church auctioned off its contents in 1998.

Members then disassembled the building that had been central to their lives and watched as it was hauled to a tourist site 22 miles down the road.

Filmmaker Mark Brodin, who grew up in the congregation, uses the story of Delafield to explore changes sweeping rural America, causing more farm families to find they can no longer make a living doing what they love.


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Embracing diversity