We've been waiting several months now for this new "reconfiguration of Lutheranism in North America" promised us by Lutheran CORE, which is overseeing the formation of an alternative to members of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in . The ELCA, as you may remember from last August, voted back then to allow gay clergy and opened the doors to same-sex unions further down the road. America
Today, on the anniversary of Martin Luther's death (in 1546), CORE has announced the denomination-to-be will be called the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). More concrete deliberations will happen during Lutheran CORE’s 2010 convocation Aug. 26-27 in
, so for now the proposal is on the table for discussion. Read CORE's press release here. Columbus, Ohio
It appears as though they'll have at least some congregations willing to sign up with the NALC. Congregations around the country are already taking votes on whether to leave the ELCA. A widely circulated e-mail from ELCA Secretary David Swartling reports that, as of Feb. 3, 220 congregations in 49 of the ELCA’s 65 synods have taken votes to leave the ELCA. Of that 229, 156 congregations had attained the necessary two-thirds majority on the first ballot.
Note: Two votes at least 90 days apart — each receiving a two-thirds majority — are required for a congregation to leave the ELCA. All of those votes attained the two-thirds majority for the congregation to leave the ELCA. However, 28 congregations is a drop in the bucket compared to the many times larger ELCA, as pointed out in this blog.
So it's true NALC's beginnings may be humble. But detractors should take note of what's happened to the breakaway Anglican Church in
North America that has pulled away from the Episcopal Church. The ACNA is gaining members; the Episcopal Church is about to drop below 2 million as early as next year. So, don't write off the NALC yet. -- Julia Duin, religion editor