Tuesday, May 01, 2007


My son, who now lives in The Big City, was home on the weekend. He said, "I need to find a church." He mentioned that there is a big church within about two blocks of his apartment, but he didn't know what kind it was.

I am aware of the ELCA's church locator on the website, so it was easy to find a list of churches near his place. It was also pretty easy to figure out which church he was referring to; it is one of the biggest churches in the city.

This search made be realize that I live in Lutherland. The church locator lists 70 ELCA churches within 5 miles of his zip code. Within 25 miles, there are 242 ELCA churches. In fact, even in my rural area, there are 28 ELCA churches listed within 50 miles.

One aspect of many churches in a rural area is that they tend to be small; some so small that they have a hard time either finding or supporting a pastor. Sometimes they go without a pastor for years. The people don't want to give up their local church, their historical place of worship. In contrast, in our area, some of the other denominations have few churches, but they are larger and therefore have more programs and opportunities for worship and service, but the people have to travel much further to attend them.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I think, in part, this is why Lutherans from outside of Lutherland sometimes have trouble understanding Lutherans from Lutherland. There's a culture that is overwhelmingly Lutheran (and Scandinavian) in the upper midwest, whereas in the East Coast Megalopolis Lutherans are just one among many. In the German-settled rural parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland some ethnic Lutheranism still survives, but not in the urban areas.


And what do you think?