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:

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Bishop Wolfgang Herz-Lane of the Delaware-Maryland Synod ELCA reported that First Lutheran Church, Gray Manor, Baltimore, MD, (1275 baptized members) passed its first vote to leave the ELCA February 12.

Reformation (Korean) Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, NY, 27 baptized members, was removed from ELCA roster by Metropolitan New York Synod ELCA, November 19, 2011.

Friday, April 27, 2012


We received a message earlier today from a member of St. Mark's Lutheran Church.
Here is a copy of a letter sent out by the council president and the pastor.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As you know, the church council has been in continuing conversations with Bishop Michael Burk regarding our denominational affiliation. It has been and continues to be our desire to keep you up to date. We were informed yesterday that on Saturday, April 21, the Southeast Iowa ELCA Synod Council removed St. Mark’s congregation from the roster of ELCA churches. St. Mark’s remains a Lutheran church, our building remains the property of St. Mark’s, and our congregation’s mission continues as before. We neither celebrate nor grieve the synod’s actions, but we desire to listen to those who may be hurting or confused as a result of these actions.

After the decisions of the ELCA church-wide assembly in 2009, our congregation spent much time studying our denominational affiliation. Our congregational votes to leave the ELCA ultimately resulted in St. Mark’s remaining part of the ELCA. To bring healing and unity to our church family, the church council held discussions with congregational members and Bishop Burk, and reviewed the precedent set by other congregations who are dual-affiliated. After these actions, the church council voted to join Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) while remaining in the ELCA.

Soon after St. Mark’s dual affiliation with the ELCA and the LCMC, the synod placed our congregation under censure and admonishment. In addition, Pastor Fruhling was recently removed from the clergy roster of ELCA pastors. The synod’s unprecedented action to remove St. Mark’s from the ELCA because of our dual affiliation is saddening and disappointing. We remain a distinctly Lutheran congregation in the Cedar Rapids area as a part of the LCMC, and we belong to no one but Christ.

St. Mark’s will continue to support and work with our brothers and sisters in the ELCA and remain faithful to our mission partners in the ELCA, such as CrossRoads Mission, San Lucas and Cristo Rey Lutheran churches in Texas and Mexico, and World Hunger Appeals, among others. Our focus remains on outreach and our mission is to share Christ’s love with others.

We will continue our pastoral call process and begin to look at constitutional updates that will be needed. While there are challenges ahead, there are opportunities for strengthening our witness as the body of Christ, and we are confident that St. Mark’s will move forward in mission for our Lord.

Yours in Christ,
Kurt Beenen  Church Council President
Pastor Perry Fruhling



(RNS) As nearly 1,000 delegates from across the world gather in Tampa, Fla., for the United Methodist Church's General Conference, gay and lesbian activists have printed pamphlets promoting their cause in five languages, including Portuguese and Swahili.

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Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster lifts a chalice high during the consecration of the elements in the April 24 opening worship service of the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Florida. RNS photo courtesy Paul Jeffrey/United Methodist News Service

The UMC's global reach, stretching from the Philippines to Philadelphia, compels the multilingual lobbying. Nearly 40 percent of the delegates, who meet through May 4, live outside the United States, according to church leaders.
“We see it as a challenge to deal with the cultural differences,” said Bishop Rosemarie Wenner of Germany, who will be installed in Tampa as president of the UMC’s Council of Bishops. “But we also see it as a gift.”

Convened every four years, General Conference legislates decisions on everything from pensions to prayer books. But few debates garner as much attention and acrimony as the role of gays and lesbians in the UMC.
The homosexuality debate dates to 1972, when a phrase calling homosexual activity “incompatible with Christian teaching” was added to the Book of Discipline, which contains the denomination's laws and doctrines. The UMC also bans noncelibate gay clergy and same-sex marriage.
The UMC's long and painful membership decline in the U.S. looms over the debate, as church leaders search for ways to reverse the decades-long drop.
Gay rights activists argue that the UMC must become more inclusive to attract young Americans who view the sexuality prohibitions as hypocritical. Conservatives counter that only churches that hold fast to traditional doctrines are growing.
United Methodists who support gay rights have proposed about 100 resolutions this year that would lift the bans and excise the “incompatible” phrase from the Book of Discipline. Leading up to General Conference, they argued that momentum is on their side.

Read more:


The largest Colorado congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has voted to leave the denomination over theological differences.

First Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs voted Sunday morning to leave the Pueblo Presbytery of PC(USA) in large part due to the denomination's decision in 2010 to allow the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals.
Of the 1,769 congregants of the 4,000-strong church present for the vote, 1,689 members voted in favor of dismissal from PC(USA) to join the recently created Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians.
Ronald D. Anderson, executive presbyter for the Pueblo Presbytery, told The Christian Post that he was not surprised by the result of the vote.
"I was not surprised at the overwhelming vote because of the earlier 'straw vote' and the extensive process the church has enacted since to address the questions of people who had unanswered questions," said Anderson.

Read more:

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Bishop Peter Rogness, St. Paul, MN has boldly stepped forward to oppose the Marriage Amendment to Minnesota's constitution being voted on this November. Furthermore, he is urging all Lutherans to join him in voting against it.

NEWS FLASH! Bishop--A large number of Lutheran do not agree with you--Lutherans in the ELCA,  LC-MS, AFLC, TAALC, NALC, LCMC for examle, just to name a few. Oh yes, the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions do not agree with you either!

  • We embrace and affirm marriage as being between a man and a woman. Our recent (2009) social statement makes that clear: "The historic Christian tradition and the Lutheran Confessions have recognized marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman...."
  • Homosexuality has most often been an unspoken reality, almost never mentioned in the Bible—and where it is mentioned, many scholars will point out, it is likely not the behavior arising from different sexual orientation that is being addressed, but behavior that is aberrant and abusive. But now we find ourselves living in a time and place where, for the first time in our memory, people are open regarding their being drawn towards persons of the same gender for this deep and lifelong love and intimacy. We understand sexual orientation as a given, not a choice.
  • So we face a new question: what is the response of the church—of the Christian body of teachings and values—to those who would seek the same life-long, sacrificial, committed, intimate relationship in their lives with partners of the same gender, because that's where their yearning for love takes them?
  • We Lutherans, in the ELCA social statement of 2009, recognized that many theologians and congregations come to a position of support and affirmation of such persons and of the health of such relationships. We are becoming increasingly aware of the quality, longevity, and sincerity of these relationships between persons of strong faith and deep commitment to following the God we claim to know in Jesus Christ. They are drawn to thank God for the love they have found in each other and yearn for the support of their faith community. And an increasing number of congregations are coming to believe that giving such support is a part of healthy and faithful ministry. Our 2009 social statement affirmed the faithfulness of congregations that offer such support.
  • Yet this same statement, adopted in 2009, isn't so quick to close the door on the traditional understanding of the church in not supporting such relationships. The statement acknowledged that healthy and faithful congregations are coming to different conclusions. What do we make of this paradox? For now, we live in a grey area, trusting God's good time to make things more clear.

The Proposed Marriage Amendment

So this brings us to this amendment on the November ballot in Minnesota this year, and the question of whether we put in our constitution a prohibition against same-gender marriage. My position, informed by the theological and contextual factors noted above, leads me to three observations, a conclusion, and two continuing concerns.

Read More:


Grace Lutheran Church, Austin, MN failed in their first vote to leave the ELCA 64 in favor, 78 against.

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Redwood Falls also failed in their first vote to leave the ELCA, 55 in favor, 223 opposed. 
Consequently a new congregation has been formed by former members of Gloria Dei. The new congregation is call Christ's Victory Lutheran Church, and is associated with the LCMC.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Add to the list of congregations that voted to leave the ELCA and join the NALC:

1. St. John's Lutheran Church, (Nekimi) Oshkosh, WI, with baptized membership of 293,  passed second vote 82-24, March 25, to leave the ELCA and join the NALC.

2. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Little Mountain, SC, with baptized membership of 569, passed second vote to leave ELCA and join the NALC.

3.  St. John's Lutheran Church, Metropolis, IL, with baptized membership of 177 baptized members, passed second vote to leave the ELCA on April 15.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


AUSTIN — Grace Lutheran Church this Sunday will let the congregation decide a momentous question: Do we stay or go?
At a special meeting after its 10:30 a.m. service, the entire congregation will vote on whether the church should leave its presiding body since 1988, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The vote will be the first of two steps required for the church to separate from the ELCA.
“It was decided after much deliberation to have the vote,” said the Rev. Jeff Forbes of Grace Lutheran.
Part of the reason supporters of the split have for leaving surrounds concerns that the ELCA believes itself to hold a higher authority than the Bible.
“In our nearly 500 years of the Lutheran church we have held the Bible — the word of God — to be the sole authority for what we believe,” said former church council members Gene and Jean White in a letter to members of the church. “In good conscience we cannot support or be part of a church which denies the Bible.”
Lavona Johnson, a member of the church for the last 51 years, agreed. She said there is a trend among churches across the nation leaving the ELCA, as part of a “tremendous movement to get back to the Bible.”

Read more:

Friday, April 6, 2012


Good Friday is the day God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Of all the days in the calendar of man, none is like Good Friday, the day Christ took our sins upon Himself, died in our place that we might be made righteous in the sight of God.

 Paul describes the gospel message so fully and clearly:

“Now I make known in you brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

The apostle Peter reminds us that we were redeemed “not with perishable things like silver or gold…but with the precious blood, as a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Yes, in order for us to be make right with God, Jesus willingly shed His blood—the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Paul makes the way of salvation plain: “…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

The Bible asks a most profound question to those who have heard the glorious message of Christ’s divine atonement: “How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3). 

God wants to make this Friday is Good for you. If you have never received God's free gift of eternal life or if you are uncertain about your relationship with Him, pray:

Lord, I am sinner. I believe Christ died for my sins on the cross. I believe he rose again from the dead for my justification. I earnestly repent of my sins and ask you to cleanse me through His precious blood. Write my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit that He might enable me to lead a life of victory and hope. This I pray by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. Amen.  

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Vale Lutheran Church, Vale, SD passed first vote to leave the ELCA, March 2, 2012, 14-1.
Congregation has 39 baptized members. Second vote TBA.