Naz Likely Leaving the ELCA & Closing Blessed Beginnings

In the first of two votes Nazareth Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls has overwhelmingly decided to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or ELCA. A task force was put together in February of last year in order to determine if the church should stay in the ELCA or, if they decided to leave, where they should go. They determined the North American Lutheran Church or NALC would be the best fit. The move would need to be ratified by the congregation in two votes. The first of those votes was held on April 17th. There were two resolutions voted upon, should the church leave the ELCA and should the church join the NALC. The first resolution passed with 82% of the vote while the second passed with 85% of the vote. The second vote will be held on August 28th. The church has not confirmed their reasons for leaving the ELCA.

Nazareth Evangelical Lutheran Church has announced that their daycare program known as Blessed Beginnings and its school-aged program will be shutting its doors on May 10th. The church says that the program has been operating under an unsustainable financial model. They say expenses exceeded revenue by more than $90,000 in 2023 and by more than $20,000 in the first quarter of this year. They also say enrollment has declined since 2021. Two other reasons were given involving the staff. Labor shortages have made it difficult to hire and retain qualified staff within their limited wage scale and a large portion of the staff are UNI students who leave at the end of the semester on May 10th. According to the church had there not been a large donation in May of 2022 the program would have ended much sooner.