About 1,100 people — many from former ELCA congregations — met in late August in Grove City, Ohio, and launched the North American Lutheran Church, a denomination they say will "uphold confessional principles."
Paull Spring will serve a one-year term as NALC bishop. A retired ELCA pastor, he also served 14 years as bishop of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod.
Spring was still on the ELCA roster Sept. 2, although the ELCA does not permit dual rostering. "In light of Paull Spring's election and installation as bishop of the [NALC], I anticipate that he will resign from the roster of ordained ministers of the ELCA," said David D. Swartling, ELCA secretary.
Participants also voted to request membership in the Lutheran World Federation, a global communion to which the ELCA belongs.
They heard Benson Bagonza, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania's Karagwe Diocese, preach at the convocation's closing worship service.
NALC leaders will share office space with Lutheran CORE in New Brighton, Minn.
As of Sept. 2, in the year following the ELCA Churchwide Assembly's 2009 decision to allow congregations to call clergy in same-gender relationships, 222 congregations passed the two votes required to leave the ELCA.
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