A NUMBER OF CHURCHES HAVE BEEN ADDED TO THE MOST RECENT LIST OF CHURCHES VOTING TO LEAVE THE ELCA. We appreciate the work of George Erdner to identify these churches.
Hope Lutheran Church, Smethport, PA, was formally organized February 20, under the leadership of Pastor Thomas Beam. A total of 19 persons attended the first service, held at the Free Evangelical Christian Church in Smethport on Sunday morning. Others who are committed to the new congregation bring the total of its members to 26. The congregation also voted to join the North American Lutheran Church (NALC).
After Bethel Lutheran Church, Holdrege, NE passed two successful votes to leave the ELCA, the Nebraska Synod refused to release them. We received a report that the Nebraska Synod had released Bethel Lutheran Church of Holdrige, but we have been informed that the release did not taken place.
The Rev. Tom Gopp, LCMC interim pastor writes: "As much as we want to be released by the Nebraska Synod, as of this writing they have not done so and we are still in negotiations. We have voted to leave the ELCA, joined the LCMC, have formed a call committee to call and LCMC pastor, and are moving forward with our ministry in spite of the Nebraska Synod's decision. We are saddened by the Synod's delay, but it has not dampened our faith nor our enthusiasm to remain faithful to the Word. We have moved on and pray the Synod will graciously release us as they have so graciously released other congregations in the Nebraska Synod."
Peace Lutheran Church, Watertown, MN, voted to join the LCMC this past Sunday. The members of Peace Lutheran left Trinity (ELCA) in Watertown, MN and began worship last August. They recently chartered 110 members. The congregation meets Sunday morning at 9am in the Community Center in Watertown.
The 3rd Leadership Open House for congregations in transition out of ELCA was held Sunday, Feb. 20 at Alma NE, with more than 140 persons from southern Nebraska and northern KS present. Thanks to Peace-Alma (LCMC) for a fabulous job of hosting a crowd that exceeded the planning team's expectations. The series of open houses started 6 months ago at Hope-Smithfield NE (LCMC). It's a collaborative effort of congregations helping congregations through the discernment and decision-making process that so many are going through. We're very intentional about presenting information about both LCMC and NALC. It looks like we'll need to make the next open house plural - as in multiple sites - given the number of congregations in the process and the geographic territory involved. Watch for more details as planning proceeds. We'll send info to Rev. Barnhart's site. Meanwhile, a brief paper describing the "Open House" approach is being prepared. To be placed on an e-mail list for this document, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and write "Open House Paper" in the subject line.