Once again The Lutheran this month publishes a list of congregations removed from the ELCA roster (see print version). We did so in May and August, and that left some questioning why, as well as the advisability of doing so.
"Negative reporting encourages negative results," a reader in St. Louis wrote to the editor after a list of 84 congregations appeared in August. "Are you lending support to congregations that are leaving the ELCA by listing them? Instead of having nearly two columns of congregations that are leaving the ELCA, maybe print a percentage of those leaving or even better a percentage of congregations staying."
A reader in Peoria, Ill., proffered the August list "does not give an entirely complete picture since many individual members have left their ELCA congregations even when their congregation has remained in the ELCA."
And "a very concerned Lutheran" in Ontario, Ore., said he "was astounded. ... If this withdrawal rate should continue, it seems to threaten the demise of the ELCA in this country."
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© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers