Ephesians 4:5-6 NIV
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,
Church Council President
Pastor Perry Fruhling
- Dual Rostered Church Censured, Pastor De-Rostered By ELCA Bishop (see here)