Minnesota’s mainline Christian denominations face unprecedented declines, altering communities and traditions celebrated for generations

"The rising toll is evident in rural, urban and suburban churches across the state. St. Paul’s On the Hill Episcopal Church on prestigious Summit Avenue was recently sold to a developer after more than a century of religious service. Bethany Lutheran Church in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis held its “holy closure” ceremony last fall. St. Michael Catholic Church in West St. Paul celebrated its last mass 18 months ago. Mainline Protestant churches have been hit the hardest. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in Minnesota has lost almost 200,000 members since 2000 and about 150 churches. A third of the remaining 1,050 churches have fewer than 50 members. The United Methodist Church, the second largest Protestant denomination in Minnesota, has shuttered 65 churches since 2000."

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Bert Perry's picture

....it is as if these denominations ought to have contemplated the consequences of abandoning Biblical teaching in many areas before they did, no?  I'm a product of a Methodist home, and the interaction of evangelicals and liberals jockeying for position in that denomination is just fascinating.  As a rule, the theological liberals really control only the bishops' offices, the seminaries, the publishing houses,  and the big city and university churches.  In the suburbs, it's touch and go, and in small towns, they may accept a female pastor, but otherwise there are a lot off evangelicals there because there simply isn't any other place to go.  

You'll see a lot of the same dynamics in the ELCA, among Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians, and the like.  It also causes genuine pain when the central authorities start requiring churches to have female deacons/elders, or to celebrate same sex mirages, and the like.  

Not that we don't have our own problems, but I'd never trade ours for theirs.  Yikes.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jim's picture

Ex-priest bought a large former Lutheran church building in Hibbing MN for $ 40 grand ... for his casket business. 

https://simplepinebox.com/

Nice streetside view http://bit.ly/2m6no0g

https://twitter.com/BoydHuppert/status/1016317721129226242

 

--------------- As an aside ... having thought a lot about death & funerals over the last 2 1/2 yrs (less so this week) ------------

This is my idea of a casket ... (real wood ... but not fancy ... and inexpensive!) 

 

Ron Bean's picture

With over 50% of people opting for cremation and growing numbers choosing to forgo funerals all together, funeral hames may be "dying" as well. 

Changing Funeral Practices

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

irvcobb's picture

Our home and the church I pastor are located in a "bad" part of town. Lots of drugs, booze, and crime. And not much money left for other things. We've been able to have meaningful ministry by taking the place of the funeral home. Folks can have their service in our building, a meal in our fellowship hall, and my "services," and it costs them nothing. I get to share the gospel with people who won't hear me any other time, and church goes  up a few notches in people's minds. I've had grown men shed tears when I explained we would do this for them. It's been a great opportunity for us.

Jim's picture

irvcobb wrote:

Our home and the church I pastor are located in a "bad" part of town. Lots of drugs, booze, and crime. And not much money left for other things. We've been able to have meaningful ministry by taking the place of the funeral home. Folks can have their service in our building, a meal in our fellowship hall, and my "services," and it costs them nothing. I get to share the gospel with people who won't hear me any other time, and church goes  up a few notches in people's minds. I've had grown men shed tears when I explained we would do this for them. It's been a great opportunity for us.

Great story Irv

 

 

Ron Bean's picture

I along with some pastor friends have done a similar thing and found it especially effective in small towns and neighborhoods. We'd contact the local funeral homes (which have to offer people an itemized list of services) and offer to host the funeral and do the service for free. Great opportunity!! Sadly many people are opting for just body disposal and perhaps a social gathering to share memories.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan