Friday, June 26, 2009

Drip, drip, drip

I just read in our synod monthly newsletter the surprising announcement of the closing of Wilmette Lutheran Church after 88 years. Wilmette is one of Chicago's wealthiest suburbs and while the church was never large, in the past it had been a siginifcant source of revenue for the local synod. I knew it had "faded' somewhat in recent years but had no idea it was on the verge of closure.

The question is how does a denomination lose a previously thriving congregation in one of the most prosperous areas in the country? Undoubtedly there is a back story here--internal conflicts, scandal, mediocre pastors, or some combination of the usual suspects. Looking at the online statistics, however, it mostly seems to be a case of a long but steady decline. The loss of such a congregation speaks volumes about the state of the ELCA and mainline Christinity. It would be interesting to learn about the general health of mainline churches in Chicago's suburban "old money" North Shore. In any case, the steady decliine of the ELCA obviously continues.

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