The 70-member commission working since 1982 to put together a new Lutheran denomination has made major recommendations for the church. Pending the approval of participating bodies, the new denomination will be called the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The church’s main offices will be in Milwaukee, if the recommendations of the Commission for a New Lutheran Church are accepted.

The new denomination will embrace two-thirds of U.S. Lutheranism. It will unite the 2.9 million-member Lutheran Church in America (LCA); the 2.3 million-member American Lutheran Church (ALC); and the 111,000-member Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC). The new denomination is scheduled to come into existence January 1, 1988.

In approving the name Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the commission rejected an earlier proposal, Lutheran Church in the U.S.A. The commission turned down another proposal when it selected Milwaukee as the headquarters city for the new denomination.

Headquarters Site

Meeting last month in Minneapolis, the commission debated three cities as possible sites. The commission earlier had suggested Chicago. However, a task force last month recommended Minneapolis on the basis of cost effectiveness.

Chicago supporters disputed the cost figures and insisted that considerations such as ecumenical and multicultural diversity and the site’s denominational neutrality favored Chicago. Supporters of Minneapolis cited the city’s strong concentration of Lutherans and Minnesota’s strong social consciousness.

A third group favored Milwaukee. Former AELC Bishop William Kohn said Milwaukee meets the criteria for neutrality and ecumenical and multicultural diversity. The city has significant black and Hispanic populations, ...

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