Jackie Bruchi at Stand Firm caught this AP report about the vote of First Lutheran Church, Harvey, ND to separate itself from the structures of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The vote is the first of two that are required for secession, and 2/3 of the voters favored separation.
I contacted Pastor Erma Wolf of CORE, an affiliation of Lutherans committed to the traditional Christian teaching and spirituality that marked Lutheranism from its 16th century beginnings. Pastor Wolf said,
"I read about this congregation's first vote and thought 'This is just the kind of congregation that the ELCA can least afford to lose.' It is around 800 baptized members, the worship attendance is growing steadily, and it has been contributing a healthy amount of money to the mission of the synod and the ELCA over the years. But this is precisely the kind of congregation that is most at risk of leaving because of the decisions in August, and other decisions over the years that have shown how far the leadership of this denomination has moved away from the majority of people in the congregations. It is sad. The ELCA leaders have squandered their inheritance, and I fear we have a bitter time ahead of us, much more so than what we have known to this point."