The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Lenten longings for our church

Stories that help along life's way

Being snowed in the first few days of February presented a chance for introspection. Having just completed needed updates of job descriptions with staff, it was time to do the same for the editor. Most of it would likely bore readers: responsibility for this, authority for that, editing out a bit of ambiguity, all the while trying to focus on the bigger picture of how The Lutheran serves the ELCA in all its expressions to carry out ministry. What became clear were some hopes and aspirations as well as a few misgivings for our church.

Start with this month's cover article ("Coming to grips with struggling congregations"). Denominational statistics tell a tale of decline — as one reader said of a related piece in the January issue, "No news there." Yet there is. Some of our congregations do take the plunge into self-examination and refocusing of mission.

That's why the magazine, month in and out, highlights congregations taking risks, finding different ways to reach their neighbors, upgrading or tweaking programs that sustain their missional life. What these parishes have in common is not living in the past. They want to be alive and relevant, to be a place that may or may not be the same as their grandparents' church.

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