Saving the Date

It sits on my desk, a nice photograph on glossy, heavy stock paper.  It’s a save the date card, but not for a wedding or an anniversary or a birthday celebration.  Rather, it’s a save the date card for the last day that a local congregation will exist.

Another Lutheran congregation in town (not the same synod as mine) has been struggling for years with shrinking membership, and has finally decided to close down the congregation.  It’s ironic, because they sit on millions and millions of dollars of property.  They ought to have all the resources in the world to reinvent themselves and do something different.

They’re opting instead to end the congregation and create low income senior housing on the property they occupy.  It’s a legacy to be sure.  It’s a valid decision that a congregation is always free to make (depending on denominational polity and rules).  There is no shame in making this decision, but it’s painful to watch.  The card says that the congregation is over 100 years old.

We recently sent out save the date cards as well, for our centennial anniversary as a congregation.  A long history is no guarantee of a long future.

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