On March 7, Bethlehem Lutheran Church took our first vote to terminate its relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The vote passed by a margin of 52-1. So what do we do now? According to our constitution, there has to be a second vote ratifying the first vote. There must be a minimum of 90 days before this second vote. Right now, we are in the midst of this 90-day interval.

During this interval, our church has a decision to make. If the second vote passes and we terminate our relationship with the ELCA; we have to decide which Lutheran Church body we are going to affiliate with. (Becoming an independent congregation is not a viable option, nor is it one that any of us want.) In the next few months we will be holding three adult forums, to discuss our options.


The LCMC is a Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ is an association of congregations and individuals who are: free in Christ; accountable to one another; rooted in the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions; working together to fulfill Christ's Great Commission to go and make disciples of all nations.


According to our constitution, during the interval between votes, the Bishop of the Western Iowa Synod (or one of his representatives) shall meet to consult with our church concerning our desire to leave the ELCA. In this consultation, the option to stay in the ELCA will be discussed.


LutheranCore, after hearing the hopes and requests of many of those who plan to leave their current church bodies, are proposing the formation of a new denominational body for confessing Lutherans: NALC. The NALC will be a faithful and innovative Lutheran church body that spans national borders. It will hold at its heart the Great Commission of Jesus to “make disciples of all nations.” It will utilize networked ministries of local congregations and parachurch organizations, rather than the large bureaucracy of a denominational body. It will be governed by a convocation of representative delegates from its congregations, and it will submit major decisions to congregational ratification. It will be ecumenically engaged and confessionally grounded.

After our three adult forums we will vote on which church body we will join, should the second vote pass and we terminate our relationship with the ELCA. The decision on which church body we will join has to take place before our second vote. This decision will only go into effect if the second vote passes by a two thirds margin of the voting members present.

You can see the importance of these adult forums. The adult forums we held before our first vote were well attended and very helpful. I hope these forums go just as well. The first adult forum will be on Sunday, May 2 after church. The dates for the other forums are still to be decided. Hope to see you on May 2.

Your friend in Christ,

Pastor Ron