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Published May 24, 2011, 10:52 PM

Carrington Church Leaves ELCA; GF's Calvary Lutheran Staying Put

The ELCA has seen a decrease in member churches. Several hundred have left the organization in the last few years. Trinity Lutheran in Carrington, ND, is the latest in our area to cite disagreement with the organizations social stances.

The ELCA has seen a decrease in member churches. Several hundred have left the organization in the last few years.

Trinity Lutheran in Carrington, ND, is the latest in our area to cite disagreement with the organizations social stances.

Not every church is going to agree with issues that may be polarizing, like homosexuality and science. Representatives from Calvary Lutheran in Grand Forks say disagreeing is just fine.

Pastor Roger Dykstra at Calvary Lutheran Church in Grand Forks looks forward to a summer retreat he's planning for congregation members. He says being a member of the ELCA opens doors to more opportunities like this. But other churches in the area are closing the doors on the ELCA.

Calvary is sticking with the organization and its stances, even though other area churches, Like Trinity Lutheran, are stepping away. That brings the total in the area to 30.

"Some social statements have been polarizing. One a couple of years ago in the department of sexuality," Dykstra said.

The ELCA said it would give churches the freedom to hire and recognize gay clergy. Recently, the organization has been leaning towards a more liberal stance on scientific developments. Dykstra says the church doesn't view these as negative issues, because those are not the true focuses of the church. Still, nothing is ever forced on congregation members.

"It's opened our doors to a bigger community, a broader community. What takes some away, brings some people in," Calvary young adult coordinator Kimberly Adams said.

Adams says most members of the congregation at Calvary come to worship, not dissect every polarizing issue.

"Most young adults I talk with love the fact they belong to a church that can rest in a gray area," Adams said.

As for Dykstra, he says Calvary is very comfortable with the ELCA's views, but respects other church congregations choices. Because questions bring answers.

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