North Minneapolis congregation decides to leave ELCA, join AFLC
Hope Lutheran’s members voted 95% for the change
Members of Hope Lutheran Church, 5200 Emerson Ave. N., Minneapolis, have decided to sever their congregation’s ties with its parent body, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
The conservative 700-member congregation voted twice, as its constitution required, and consulted with the Minneapolis Area Synod bishop’s office before finalizing the decision.
According to Hope’s pastor, the Rev. Thomas Brock, the resolution to leave the ELCA carried by 95.3%.
The congregation considered leaving the ELCA 12 years ago, but the vote failed by six votes.
Brock told Metro Lutheran that he and most members had become disillusioned with the direction in which the ELCA is moving.
He listed four concerns which troubled him personally. They include using alternative terms for God the Father in published ELCA materials; a perception that the ELCA no longer considers faith in Christ necessary for salvation; disappointment that the ELCA Pension Plan pays for abortions during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy; and what Brock calls “the ELCA’s weakened view of the authority of Holy Scripture.”
Originally organized as an Augustana Synod congregation, Hope Church has applied for affiliation with the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations (AFLC). Brock said the congregation “has a history with the AFLC.” The parish has employed AFLC youth directors, and members have attended AFLC Bible camps.
The AFLC is a small conservative Lutheran group promoting Bible literacy and congregational autonomy.