The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has reported that its baptized members totaled 4.54 million in 2009—a net loss of 90,850 members and a one-year drop slightly larger than losses in the previous two years. Its number of congregations declined by 48 last year from close to 10,400 churches nationwide.
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor. 10:16-17).
As the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America fights to stay out of a legal battle over unpaid pension benefits, all sides agree on at least one point: more is at stake than millions of dollars owed to some 500 pensioners of Augsburg Fortress, the ELCA's publishing arm.
Three months before a major assembly of the Lutheran World Federation, church leaders in Tanzania and Ethiopia—who represent the two largest Lutheran constituencies in Africa—have expressed opposition to “same-sex marriages and those who support the legitimacy of such marriage.”
A Missouri bishop has lifted the public censure of a Lutheran church that hired a lesbian minister in 2000. The action is seen as the first of its kind since the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination removed a ban on gay clergy last summer.
Lutheran dissidents said in late September they would hunker down for a year and study whether to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Amer ica and create a new church body. But in mid-November, Lutheran CORE (Co alition for Renewal) announced that such a body will likely be necessary sooner.