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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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The vanishing member

Are inactives gone and forgotten?

Pat Albu disappeared from the church. No one noticed. She wasn't kidnapped, and she didn't die. Personal problems put such a strain on her life that one day she felt unable to attend worship.

For three years Albu joined the one-third of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America population listed as "inactive," meaning a person who has not contributed or communed for a year.

Like many inactive members, Albu had been a constant presence at Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Arlington Heights, Ill., singing in the choir. By the time she was ready to return to church, she was embarrassed and feared others would judge her.


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