Devils Lake church votes 87-0 to leave ELCA
Peace Lutheran in Devils Lake becomes third ELCA congregation in the Eastern North Dakota Synod to leave since 2009 change to allow gay clergy.
By: Herald Staff and Wire Report, Grand Forks Herald, Dec 26, 2010
Members of a Devils Lake church voted unanimously to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
According to the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, the Rev. Rafe Allison, pastor of Peace Lutheran Church, said all 87 members who voted recently in the second of two required ballots were in favor of leaving the 4.5-million-member denomination.
According to the ELCA’s 2009 yearbook, Peace Lutheran had more than 300 baptized members.
Peace will affiliate with the newly formed North American Lutheran Church, made up mostly of former ELCA congregations that want to continue traditional practices, including not allowing unmarried clergy, whether gay or straight, to live in relationships.
Peace is the third congregation in the ELCA’s Eastern North Dakota Synod – which now has about 230 congregations – to quit the denomination since the August 2009 ELCA assembly in Minneapolis that voted to allow clergy to live in committed, long-term same-sex relationships.
The Northwestern Minnesota Synod, based in Moorhead, has had about 17 congregations quit the ELCA in the past year, leaving the synod with about 250 congregations.
The Chicago-based ELCA has slightly more than 10,000 congregations and plans to start at least 70 new ones in 2011, church officials have said.