The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


March 2001 Churchscan

More than one-half (54 percent) of ELCA congregations have 350 or fewer members, according to the 1999 parochial statistics from the Office of the Secretary. Those congregations account for one-fifth of the 5,149,668 ELCA baptized members. At the same time, 4 percent of the total 10,851 congregations have 1,501 or more members. Those congregations also have slightly more than one-fifth of the members. Combined with the congregations in the 951 to 1,500 range (7 percent), the two largest categories have within them almost 40 percent of all members.

In other news from the report, financial resources for mission and ministry — savings, investments, endowments and memorial funds — increased by $135 million from 1998 to $1.5 billion. And the total income of congregations in 1999 exceeded $2.2 billion, up $141 million or 6.64 percent from the previous year.

Community Family Life Services, an agency of First Trinity Lutheran Church, Washington, D.C., was The Washington Post's winner for excellence in nonprofit management in 2000. Thomas Knoll, pastor of First Trinity, was previously named an outstanding citizen of the year in Washington by the Washingtonian.

  • Zion Lutheran, Akron, Pa., is the first ELCA congregation to formally start a chapter of the Daughters of the King, a women's prayer ministry of The Episcopal Church. Seven women, including Cindi Holland, director of Christian education and discipleship and an Episcopalian who had already brought the group together informally, will meet regularly to pray for the pastor, staff and congregation.

  • Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp, Fort Collins, Colo., received first place in the "services for youth" category from Group Publishing. More than 135 agencies were represented at the awards banquet, which annually honors volunteer organizations for the work
  • they do in Northern Colorado. Group Publishing, headquartered in Loveland, Colo., described Sky Ranch as "an organization that believes Christian discipleship involves the Bible, blue jeans and blisters."

  • The world has changed considerably since seven couples at St. Mark Lutheran Church, West Des Moines, Iowa, said their wedding vows, but they say their love has remained constant. All seven couples celebrated 50 years of marriage in the year 2000, and the congregation recently took time to honor them. The couples spoke during worship services, telling the congregation stories ranging from being high school sweethearts to pen pals during World War II.

  • St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., leads the nation's colleges and universities in the percentage of students who engage in international or off-campus domestic studies. That news comes from the Institute of International Education, whose study is published by the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. One in five students at St. Olaf studies abroad each year and about 90 percent of the students participate in international or off-campus studies by the time they graduate. St. Olaf offers more than 115 academic programs in Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, North and South America, and Oceania.

  • Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, will soon become the sixth ELCA college to serve as home to a church synod office, the Southwestern Texas Synod. The university recently broke ground for a building that will house offices, a library, archives, a chapel and conference space. Other school-hosted synod offices are at Roanoke, Salem, Va.; Concordia, Moorhead, Minn.; Wartburg, Waverly, Iowa; Augustana, Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Pacific Lutheran, Tacoma, Wash.

  • This is our little spiritual home for the jazz community," said singer Nancie Banks during the 30th anniversary celebration of the annual All Nite Soul Jazzfest at St. Peter Lutheran Church on Manhattan's East Side. The site of weekly jazz vespers since 1965, St. Peter is renowned for its ministry to New York's large jazz community.

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