Struggling Minnesota church asks older members to stay away so young people will come

by Daniel Payne · Jan 22nd, 2020 2:08 pm

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Last Updated Jan 22nd, 2020 at 2:27 pm

A church in Minnesota that has been struggling to stay afloat in recent years is undergoing a "relaunching" later this year, an effort which consists in part of asking older members of the church to stay away so that the congregation can attract a younger base.

The Cottage Grove branch of The Grove United Methodist Church in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, will "restart" near the end of the year in an effort to reverse declining attendance and finances. Part of that process has reportedly involved asking elderly congregants to attend another Grove United Methodist church in nearby Woodbury.

Lead pastor Dan Wetterstrom did not deny these claims in an interview with the Associated Press.

"We are asking them to let this happen," Wetterstrom said. "For this to be truly new, we can't have the core group of 30 people...they can come to Woodbury during this phase."

One church member called it "age discrimination." One family with young children said it "hated" the plan and vowed to leave the congregation if it were put into place, according to the AP.