Some signs of a congregational split have surfaced at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Reno, where a convicted sex offender wanted to worship in December.
The church had no policy for dealing with the situation, and the congregation has since been debating what to do.
"I wouldn't be surprised if some people leave if we do decide to include him," Senior Pastor Carl Wilfrid said. "But others have said they'd leave if we don't include him. There have been people terribly afraid for their children, and I don't fault them at all for that. But I also recognize the struggle to serve this man."
It's a struggle that's so far taken seven months, and Wilfrid says his congregation has grown spiritually from the experience.
He isn't sure that having a policy before the sex offender showed up to pray would have made things easier, "but it's certainly a good idea for congregations to start thinking and talking about these issues," he said.