An 84-year-old woman in Minnesota was reportedly told by her church last weekend that she is no longer allowed to be buried next to her husband due to church policy that states “members who have not gathered together with us in worship to receive the Lord’s Supper at least four times in one calendar year will have excluded themselves from fellowship with us.”
Doreen Pawelk has been a member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in New Germany for more than 50 years. Her husband died last summer and she already purchased a plot at the church's cemetery.
The church said it is a misunderstanding, and that the wrong type of letter was mistakenly sent. Church leaders told Fox 9 that it was Pawelk who approached them about leaving, and the letter was simply intended to confirm that they granted her request. The church said it hopes to meet with the woman.
Fox 9 reported that she has been clashing with the congregation as of late and received the certified letter telling her that she is no longer considered a member in good standing.
“As you have self-excluded, you are no longer eligible to be buried at either the St. Mark or St. John’s Crow River Cemeteries,” the letter, which was posted online by her grandson, read.
Relatives say they'd like an apology. "It’s their church and there's no verse in the Bible that says you must have communion four times a year or you are not going to go to heaven,” Pawelk's daughter, Brenda, responded.