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Lutheran Churches Deal With Decline

Consolidation an option for eight congregations in area

August 12, 2013

WHEELING — Struggling to fill pews as the Ohio Valley’s population continues to dwindle, several of the Wheeling area’s eight Lutheran churches are exploring ways to share resources — and possibly......

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Aug-13-13 5:11 AM

Catholic doctrine "conservative"? Hardly. Allowing pedophiles, preaching the existence of purgatory, praying to an idol known as Mary, considering the Pope as God on earth, rewriting doctrine. That is what I would call heresy.

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Aug-13-13 1:40 AM

@Blackrock and Door, while you might have somewhat of a point, to say that the decline in attendance at these churches has nothing to do with demographics is ludicrous. The population decline in the Wheeling area has resulted in reduced membership (and in some cases closure) of many other organizations aside from the Lutheran churches. A few handfuls of fraternal organizations, civic groups, volunteer fire departments, etc. have all suffered loss of membership in the same way due to loss of population.

Regarding your comments about the Lutheran church's move to the left. I won't debate that, but keep in mind that the nearby Catholic diocese of Steubenville shuttered a handful of churches and at least one grade school during the past 5 years or so. It's not just the Lutheran churches that are suffering in the OV, and the Catholic church tends to stick to its more conservative doctrine so I'm not sure how much a "shift to the left" may be playing.

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Aug-12-13 10:51 PM

The real decline is about ready to hit as coal and Ormet fold in the OV. There will be little to no value added activity left. The gas drilling/infrastructure will be over around early 2015.Note alos the OV population I sold. Most of the WWII folks will be gone soon. What is left? Three huge errors: 1. turning away a renewed JUSA 2. not making Highlands and outlet mall 3.squanding Byrd's money and influence on WHNAC vs real job creating projects as was done in the I79 area.

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Aug-12-13 10:44 PM

And if all I remembered about church when I attended "every Sunday" was the dance in the hall, I would consider myself to be in big trouble.

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Aug-12-13 10:42 PM

1517 is right on. What can be said about the ELCA is that they preach a false gospel. They have turned hard to the left, ignoring the Word of God and making up their own belief system. Attendance dwindling? It has nothing to do with demographics.

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Aug-12-13 9:55 PM

"Struggling to fill pews as the Ohio Valley's population continues to dwindle," So goes the theme of the article--the decline is all about demographics. Oh. Ignored is that ponderous elephant occupying the room: The ELCA's steady death march to the Left during the last generation. The shepherd has been negligent, and the sheep are voting with their feet. Is the ELCA now the ecclesiastic voice of the DNC? The chickens are coming home to roost in enormous flocks.

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Aug-12-13 2:58 PM

Right, the population declines almost 50% or better in Wheeling and the upper Ohio Valley and this isn't a true indication of why church buildings that once served a population of near 100,000 are now empty or only used by an older congregation that looks about those empty pews and remembers reading about those faces and names in obituary notices published in this paper and others? If you have housing that is to the point of falling down in the streets; I doubt that the mice, rac***** and rats are are going to be factors with increased church attendance.

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Aug-12-13 12:09 PM

I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise to regular posters here that someone is blaming the decline on Obama and liberals.

On a more positive note, I grew up attending services every Sunday--and I do mean "every" Sunday--at St. James Lutheran downtown. It remains a wonderful piece of architecture, a symbol, perhaps, of not only the good old days but, by holding out, a rock on which to build the future. Ditto for St. Matthews' Episcopal across the street. Those of us of a certain age fondly recall the Saturday night teen dances in the Sunday School auditorium.

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Aug-12-13 10:48 AM

Try preaching and living the true gospel instead of liberal theology

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Aug-12-13 9:38 AM

Unfortunately many denominations in in this area share their grief. When an area loses over 50% of it's population everyone has a problem. Wishing these folks the best!

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Aug-12-13 9:37 AM

Not sure that the decline is attendance is altogether due to population decline. Many churches across the nation are declining in attendance numbers which is indicative of a nation in moral and spiritual decline.

First blame the preachers and the church itself and secondly blame the government which essentially is anti-Christian and thirdly blame the liberal unGodly media that spews out anti-christian propaganda on a second-by-second basis.

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