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Published November 02 2009

Pontoppidan Lutheran will vote to stay or leave ELCA

Pontoppidan Lutheran Church will vote on whether or not to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Congregational President Paul Linstad said Monday.

“There's going to be a vote, no question,” Linstad said.

The vote will come after the congregation’s Tri-Annual Meeting in January when a committee will present information comparing and contrasting the ELCA with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ. LCMC has been described as “centrist,” and grew out of WordAlone, a group that works for renewal in the ELCA.

In August, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly voted to allow gays in committed relationships to serve in the clergy. Congregants at Pontoppidan later voted to create a committee to “study the impact of the ELCA’s recent decisions and the effect on Pontoppidan,” according to the church’s newsletter.

Linstad said that LCMC will likely be the only alternative affiliation on the table. He did not know if the congregation would vote on whether to affiliate with LCMC during the same meeting at which the congregation votes on whether or not to leave the ELCA.

Some congregations have affiliated both with the ELCA and LCMC, but Linstad thought it unlikely that Pontoppidan would double affiliate.

Pontoppidan voted to suspended funding to the ELCA while the fact-finding committee is doing its work.

In a letter appearing in the November church newsletter, Pontoppidan Pastor Doug Klungtvedt said he has had “several calls to reinstate giving to the Eastern North Dakota Synod and the ELCA Churchwide.”

Such a move would require a congregational vote, the letter states.