In today’s News:
The LCMS examines pandemic’s impact on Synod
2020 has been an unpredictable year, and the long-term repercussions of the covid-19 pandemic are only just starting to emerge. In an effort to begin to examine the pandemic’s impact on the Synod, LCMS Rosters, Statistics and Research Services sent a survey to every congregation with a valid email address — 4,787 in total — in June. More than 1,200 congregations responded, providing a representative sampling of what’s going on in congregations of every size, district and community type such as urban, suburban or rural. While many of the survey results are in line with what one might expect, there were a few surprises and bright spots regarding congregational finances and the Synod’s ability to walk together during difficult times. There’s no question that the pandemic has taken a financial toll on many Americans, who may have been laid off or furloughed during the shutdown. Based on the survey results, LCMS Rosters, Statistics and Research Services estimates that nearly 65,000 LCMS households have lost income. And yet, early signs suggest that this situation and the economic upheaval it has caused may be less severe for churches than originally thought. Most congregations have not had giving decrease due to the pandemic. Less than 12 percent say that it is down significantly, while more than 25 percent report that giving is actually up from the previous year. “I was encouraged by the overall resilience of our congregations and their determination to continue to proclaim Christ come what may,” LCMS President the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison said of the results. “and despite the challenges, the evidence of collegiality and trust in circuit, district and Synod is a blessing in our life together.”
Restraining order against California church is denied
In California Superior Court, Judge Mitchell Beckloff issued a five-page opinion, County of Los Angeles et al. V. Grace Community Church et al., Denying the County of Los Angeles’ renewed application for a temporary restraining order against the church and Pastor John MacArthur. Thomas More Society attorneys are defending the pastor and his congregation against an aggressive assault by the county over the right to hold indoor worship services. In an analysis of the prior proceedings, the court held that the county’s attempt to obtain a restraining order did not meet statutory requirements and that the court of appeal’s order did not justify a new temporary restraining order; rather, it simply stayed Judge Chalfant’s Aug. 14 order and gave the county permission to enforce its own health order.
More children are finding adoptive homes
The number of children in the U.S. foster care system has dropped for a second year in a row, and a record number of children in the child welfare system were able to find adoptive homes, according to new federal data released Monday. The annual report from the Department of Health and Human Services counted about 424,000 children in foster care as of Sept. 30, 2019, down from about 435,000 a year earlier.