Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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112 North 4th Street, Clear Lake
Lake Township, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
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The Zion Lutheran Church was rebuilt in 1965. The original altar was installed at the Guardian Angel Roadside Chapel. Vandals destroyed the chapel in 1992. The re-built Guardian Angel Chapel features windows which were salvaged from the Zion Lutheran Church. Wunderlich Woodworking of Mason City replicated the altar which was lost to the fire.
Clear Lake Mirror Reporter
By exactly the two-thirds needed to pass, memebers of the Zion Lutheran Church in Clear Lake, voted Sunday to withdraw from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American (ELCA). The vote was 238-119.
The church had been withholding its benevolence giving to the ELCA since August. At that time the ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted a resolution which would allow gay pastors in a committed relationship to serve congregations. Prior to the resolution, gay pastors had to commit to celibacy.
Sunday's vote was preceded by church council deliberations, forums, a conversation with the Bishop, a frequently-asked-question bulletin for members, and three weekends of Council members and pastors being available for one-on-one dialogue about the impending vote. Just before the vote those attending heard from three speakers for and against the resolution.
"The Council made the resolution, so we are pleased with the result," said Carol ROTH, president of the Congregational Council. "There was a good turnout."
ROTH said the Council will spend the next 90 days looking at other Lutheran entities with which it may become affiliated. The Council will make a recommendation and again two-thirds of voters must approve. Zion Lutheran Church has approximately 1,400 members, according to ROTH.
"I think it is important that this (vote) not be seen as an indication that we are turning anyone away," she added. "We hope all people come before Christ, repent of their sins and receive God's grace and forgiveness."
David OKRELUND, a member of the congregation who also uses his skills as a professional speaker to deliver messages from the pulpit on occasion at the church, agreed with ROTH.
"The one thing I believe many people donít understand is this; This is not an effort to attack gay or lesbian individuals," said OKERLUND. "We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. Gay individuals have always been accepted in our church. . . The core issue in this struggle is whether or not we Lutherans believe that the synod has the power to act against scriptural law and in the process change a sin into a palatable form of human behavior."
Zion Senior Pastor Dean HESS has stated he believes the ELCA has diluted Lutheran tradition and he sees the possibility for a new, stronger future for his congregation.
Submission by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2011
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