This Blog's purpose is to offer information about congregations voting to leave the ELCA. Pastor Barnhart's other Blog offers information about current news events relating to the Church and the nation. It may be found here:

Thursday, October 7, 2010


According to David Swartling, secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 544 congregations have taken first vote to leave the denomination through October 1, 2010. Of that number 395 passed their first vote; 181 failed. Of the 395 congregations that passed their first vote, 258 have successfully passed their second vote; 16 failed in second attempt. Thus far 204 congregations have been officially removed from ELCA roles, representing a net loss to the ELCA of 112,818 members.

(Swartling reported that a total of 576 first votes had been taken because some congregations took more than one first vote.)

Editor's Note: If you count all the congregations that have successfully taken their first vote and are waiting to take their second vote, then add those who successfully have taken their second votes to leave the ELCA since August 2009, it represents a net loss to the ELCA of over 200,000 members. This figure is based on the congregations recorded on our list and posted on this site. The 200,000 figure does not include ELCA members who have left on their own,, those ELCA members who have left to establish new congregations, or the members of 50+ congregations not yet included on our list because we have yet to identify them.


  1. So -- As of Oct. 1, 258 have passed second votes, but only 204 have been released. That's 54 congregations where release is pending for some reason (procedural questions, awaiting release by synod, or some sort of lag in reporting). Is anyone keeping track of the congregations that have been refused release by their synods because they are either formerly LCA or were started by the ELCA? After the ELCA news release of the case in Ft. Pierce FL, there haven't been any churchwide news releases on congregations being either released or denied release. Then there is the congregation in Holdrege NE that was denied release last month, even though thet synod released two smaller congregations at the same time.

  2. The churches whom the ELCA is clamping down on could at least do as Zion Lutheran in Clear Lake, Iowa did. Will the ELCA throw them out for their impertinence?

    "The congregation overwhelmingly passed four resolutions on the matter. The resolution to associate with the LCMC received 81 percent approval from the 370 persons attending the congregation meeting.

    "Another resolution stipulated the reduction funding to the ELCA to $1 per month. The church had already been withholding its benevolence giving to the ELCA since August 2009. At that time the ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted a resolution which would allow gay pastors in a committed relationship to serve congregations. Prior to the resolution, gay pastors had to commit to celibacy. Members voted to distribute benevolent fund money withheld from the ELCA, pending a decision of the congregation through the church itself.

    "One of the resolutions passed by 82 percent of the congregation stated the church would reject and disassociate from the actions, policies, procedures and teachings of the ELCA and would not recognize the authority of the ELCA in moral, ethical or theological teaching."

  3. Some churches have a problem "leaving" the ELCA and keeping their building because they neglected to update their constitutions to include such provisions. If the churches and synods intend to follow legal procedures, they have to follow the constitutions that are in place in the various congregations. It isn't unusual for members to be oblivious to the constitutions of their various churches. How many of us actually look at this before we join a church? How many pastors actually read the constitution of a particular church before they accept a call?

  4. May I ask, Pastor Barnhart, why you are posting this sad news of a schism in a sister church? According to your bio, you chose to leave the LCA long ago (two decades before the ELCA was formed). You are not affiliated with this church in any way. Why are you so concerned? I pray that you are more loving and kind in your ministry than this website appears.

  5. Sorry ... just read your bio again ... you left the LCA in 1984. However, my comment still stands ... why do you care?

  6. Shelly - Many of us still IN the ELCA deeply appreciate Pastor Barnharts timely reports regarding the fallout from the 2009 Churchwide Assemblies decisions. The ELCA will not give us timely information about this continuing disaster. Maybe David Barnhart CARES because so many of US in the ELCA still care - and he has a capacity to colate incoming information that we do not. Thank you David Barnhart for keeping those of us still IN the ELCA informed and for keeping those who have LEFT the ELCA, but still CARE about those within it, informed.

    Pastor Jim Banner - ELCA