I just saw this brief story about a celebration planned at Zion Lutheran Church in Mission Valley, Texas, Sunday. The reason? They’re joining the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. With more than 90 percent approval, members voted to separate from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America last year.
The Rev. Mike Couchman, Zion’s chief minister, said the decision to leave their original denomination was a difficult one, and he admits the divide is bittersweet.
“We’re sad we had to do it. It could have been any issue, it didn’t have to be a gay issue,” Couchman said. “Essentially the ECLA said, ‘We know what scripture says, and we’re voting to overturn it.’ We feel like we didn’t leave the church; the church left us.”
After seeking several alternatives, Zion settled on the Missouri Synod and formally began the process of transitioning in June.
The article says that the Rev. Michael Newman, mission and ministry facilitator for Area C, Texas District of Missouri Synod, will officiate. Paperwork will be signed and Couchman will be “installed into the Missouri Synod” (that’s how the newspaper puts it — I’m not sure if that’s how we’d say it or not) by the Rev. Wayne Schueler, Circuit 31 counselor for Area D Texas District.
All that to say a hearty welcome to this newest member congregation!