The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Cover story raises questions

Some like change, others don't

A sign I’ve seen in corporate cubicles reads “Grow or Die.” After reading the November issue , I wonder when the ELCA will distribute such signs to all congregations. My wife and I are members of a once-vibrant congregation that is now in a slow decline and facing an uncertain future. It’s both interesting and discouraging to watch members’ reactions. Some deny, pointing fingers of blame, but they end up pointing most fingers back at themselves. Some with blinders refuse to believe change is happening, then become bewildered when changes affect their little world. Some are weary and sigh, “Let it die.” Some of us try to look ahead and work with like minds, including folks in nearby Lutheran congregations also in decline, and ask, “How shall we grow?” Are Lutherans becoming an endangered species? Only if we let it happen.

Tom Pulsifer
Xenia, Ohio

An alien in my church

I read the November cover stories. After I attended my father’s funeral in the church of my youth, I realized why I no longer feel at home in my current church of 32 years. The church of my youth didn’t modernize the sanctuary for PowerPoint and video. The beautiful woodwork remains, and members go to the altar for communion. Perhaps we ... have lost our identity as Lutherans with all the new rituals and contemporary services. I don’t like PowerPoint and video for worship. I miss the old hymns. Your articles made me realize I’m an alien in my church. Perhaps I’m your target audience and need to move on.

Julie Uplinger
Great Bend, Kan.

Let’s talk about this

I agree completely with Kenneth Inskeep in “What about the ELCA?” (November). Part of what I do as a retired layperson is to coach congregations following the Natural Church Development process. The statistical facts mentioned in this piece beg for some pretty extensive soul searching and discussion. I want to hear a lot more about this.

Larry Kallem
Madrid, Iowa

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February issue


Embracing diversity