Religion: A Mightier Fortress

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 5,361,000 members strong, was born + last week in Columbus at a placid "constituting convention." The ELCA, an amalgamation of three Lutheran churches, will establish its headquarters close to Chicago's O'Hare Airport by January. Before then, some congregations that find the ELCA too liberal plan to break away. (The conservative Missouri Synod and Wisconsin Synod remain outside the merger.)

After 68 nominations and nine ballots, the 1,045 convention delegates elected as the ELCA's first national leader Bishop Herbert W. Chilstrom, 55, who heads the Minnesota district of the Lutheran Church in America, one of the...

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