Holy Closure: From Death to Life

June 06, 2022

“For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted. . .” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
 
For over ninety years, Lutheran Church of the Messiah and the Common Table of Decatur, GA, faithfully gathered the assembly for worship, served our neighbor, and lived out the call of their baptism through this congregation. Like all aspects of life, there is a season for all things. As the writer of Ecclesiastes states, there is that time to be born and a time to die.
 
In December of 2021, the leadership of Common Table voted to close as a congregation, and the property was deeded to the synod. The Southeastern Synod then honored an already existing agreement and relationship with the daycare center that was renting the space to allow them to buy the property.
 
Even though the ministry there has ended; its legacy will live on for generations in Decatur, the Southeastern Synod, the ELCA, and globally. At its June 2022 synod council meeting, the council voted on the allocations and disbursements of the funds from the sale of this property. The legacy will now benefit ministries and persons in ways otherwise unimaginable. Here is a list of the various ministries and new ministries and visions that will benefit from these funds:
 

  • ELCA Churchwide for New Starts and Renewals
  • James R. Crumley Jr. Region Nine Archives
  • Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
  • ELCA Fund For Leaders Scholarship (Bishop Emeritus Skillrud and Bishop Emeritus Gordy)
  • NOVUS Way and designated for Lutheranch
  • Newberry College
  • ILAG Guatemala Global Partner
  • Inspiritus for unaccompanied children
  • Campus Ministries of the synod
  • Life-Line fund to decrease the student loan debt of rostered ministers
  • to create a Rostered Ministers Sabbatical Grant fund
  • Stewardship Resources for congregations
  • Evangelism Grants for congregations
  • 15 ethnic specific and multicultural ministries of our synod will be receiving funds for the renewal of ministry
  • Advocacy within the synod to reaching out intentionally to all four states
  • the creation of an internship fund to allow congregations who cannot afford so to have interns
  • creation of candidacy discernment retreats for those discerning seminary
  • Synod Disaster Relief Ministry
  • to create a Southeastern Reparations fund for BIPOC persons
  • to create a Rostered Ministers Equity Fund to ensure that no pastor or deacon cannot afford their insurance or benefits
  • Mental Health Resources and Suicide Prevention
  • Youth Scholarships
  • creation of a Retired Ministers Fund
  • investing into the new synod endowment fund so that these ministries listed may continue
  • Southeastern Synod Congregational New Starts Fund
  • Decatur Cooperative Ministries
  • Decatur Emergency Assistance Fund
  • Georgians against the Death Penalty
  • Decatur Educational Foundation
 
We give thanks for the countless over the ninety-year history of the Lutheran Church of the Messiah and Common Table for their love, faithfulness, and ministry. Now, we give thanks that which has died will now birth new life in hundreds of new ministries and the revival of existing ones. Thanks be to God!