A program to recruit social workers and other personnel for Lutheran health and welfare agencies was authorized by the National Lutheran Council at its 43rd annual meeting, held in Detroit January 31-February 3.

The council is a cooperative agency for six U. S. Lutheran bodies that represent about 5,483,000 members, or about two-thirds of American Lutheranism. The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, which has 2,387,000 members, is not officially connected with the NLC, but cooperates in some of its programs.

The recruitment service will be launched next July in an effort to alleviate the shortage of qualified personnel in the field of Lutheran social welfare. A major aim of the program will be to develop and maintain a common registry of Lutheran social work personnel for referral on request to church welfare boards and their allied agencies and institutions.

At its opening session, the council welcomed as a new participating body The American Lutheran Church, formed last year by a three-way merger. The churches which went into the merger all had been NLC members.

A guest at this year’s NLC meeting was the Rev. Kurt Schmidt-Clausen of Geneva, acting executive secretary of the Lutheran World Federation.

Schmidt-Clausen declared that church mergers not based on sound theological doctrine may increase instead of reduce the number of Christian creeds.

He said the “essence” of some interdenominational mergers is to be found “in the attempt to make the merging churches give up not only autonomy of their church organizations but also their doctrinal ties with their fellow-confessional churches in other countries.”

This loss of international doctrinal ties, he asserted, will lead “inevitably” to the creation of national churches “all bound ...

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