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A choir sings at the beginning of the last worship service held at North Heights Lutheran Church in Arden Hills Sunday morning, March 13, 2016. The church has had a major schism and is shutting down. (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)

After 70 years of funerals, a church held a funeral for itself Sunday.

North Heights Lutheran, the former megachurch of Arden Hills, closed permanently after a service that puzzled and stunned parishioners.“This is like a divorce, or anything else that is going to mean a lifetime of healing,” said church member Zelda Erickson.

“God is still on the throne. But maybe God wants us to go to another church.”

The congregation did not know that the church’s staff, including pastor Mindy Bak, had been fired on Thursday. But Bak showed up anyway, and after she said the last tearful goodbye, she left for good.

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Goodbye, Mega-Church: North Heights Says Its Final Prayers  was originally published on

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