The just-completed synod assembly season offers a window into the ELCA of the here and now and perhaps a glimpse or two into its future.
Clearly, our denomination isn’t where it hoped to be at the age of 22 in terms of better reflecting the demographics of the U.S. As our cover story ("'I felt welcomed, and I stayed'") details, the ELCA remains 97 percent white—while the country appears headed to a minority majority nation within a few decades.
A glimpse around the assemblies attended by The Lutheran’s staff (30 all told) easily showed our current situation: With an even mix by gender, the gray hairs and no hairs overwhelmed the 20- to 40-year-olds in the crowds. Nothing new, bad or wrong about that since it reflects the reality of the ELCA’s makeup. But it adds urgency to our church’s priority to “accompany congregations as growing centers for evangelical mission” in the society we find ourselves today.
With all this in mind, The Lutheran will produce more articles and reference materials in the coming years to assist congregations in their mission. This synod assembly season produced a mixed bag of reactions by voting members about the magazine. Some, even many in a few cases, support The Lutheran, others less so. There appears to be a correlation between member allegiance to the magazine as a missional tool and synods with four-page local news supplements that appear quarterly inside The Lutheran.
The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers