Despite growing diversity in our country, people of different races and ethnicities still tend to live, socialize and worship with those like them. As a result, it has been frustrating for the ELCA to achieve its goal of growing into a multicultural church.
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An example of how to bring various cultures together is Lutheran Church of the Wilderness in Bowler, Wis., located east of Wausau.
Potlucks at Lutheran Church of the Wilderness in Bowler, Wis., reflect a diverse membership in a congregation that had been an ethnic-specific ministry.
“This church has really rallied,” said Marilyn Sorenson, director for ELCA American Indian and Alaska Native Ministries and racial justice. “I hold up this church as a model of what existed and what can be.”
This spirit of multiculturalism didn’t happen overnight. Founded as an ethnic-specific ministry for the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians, the church dates back to the 1930s in the Midwest and was originally a mission congregation of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.
Church of the Wilderness still receives mission support from the ELCA, but it has devoted ministries to mission outreach as well. In 2005 the congregation celebrated the 50th anniversary of its building.
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