Struggling Minnesota church asks older members to go away

Posted at 9:25 AM, Jan 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-22 10:25:52-05

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn.— A struggling Minnesota church is asking its older parishioners to leave in hopes of making it more attractive to young families.

Grove United Methodist Church in the St. Paul suburb of Cottage Grove is closing in June, with plans to relaunch in November. The present members, most of them over 60 years old, will be invited to worship elsewhere, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported. The church is asking that they stay away for two years, then consult the pastor about reapplying.

“I pray for this church, getting through this age-discrimination thing,” William Gackstetter said at church on a recent Sunday as the gray-haired heads around him nodded in agreement.

But church officials said the congregation needs a reset and the best way is to appeal to younger people.

The Grove United Methodist Church is the product of a 2008 merger with a larger church in Woodbury.

According to reports, the church is struggling with finances and membership. The church switched to lay ministry 7 years ago due to membership.

This means that the sermons are done by church members weekly.

They have a weekly attendance of 25.