Trinity Weekly
News & Updates
March 19, 2021
Drive Through Communion TOMORROW
Our next drive through communion is scheduled for Saturday, March 20 from 4-5pm. Please enter at the Livingston Street parking lot and drive through.
OWLS Luncheon
Trinity's OWLS group is ready to resume monthly luncheons, and we welcome you to attend. If you are an "Older Wiser Lutheran", retired, and interested in a monthly fun lunch gathering with your Trinity friends, we invite you to join us. This month, it will be on Friday, March 26, 12:30 p.m. at Peach Valley Cafe, 2849 S. Orange Ave. Please contact Audrey (, or 407-897-1418), and reserve your spot. Please join us! If you need a ride, please let us know. You will LOVE being an OWL!!
Cultivating a Commitment to Prayer
Anytime throughout Friday, March 26 and the end of the day Sunday, March 28, we'd like to encourage you to be part of an intentional prayer vigil. Can you give up to 30 minutes of devoted prayer time to share your heart with God? Not sure how to spend 30 minutes in prayer? The ACTS model can help - there are four parts (see image below)
  1. Adoration - share what you adore about who God is
  2. Confession - confess your sins
  3. Thanksgiving - give thanks to God
  4. Supplication - ask God for His help/intervention/wisdom.
Adoration: Lord I adore you for your mercy, your power, your unyielding love, your protection, for sending your only Son to die on the cross for us. You are so amazing, far greater than I can even understanding!
Confession: Lord I really lost my temper today, and I blamed someone for something where I could have easily extended some grace. Please forgive me for my sins of lashing out in anger and frustration and for not taking better care of my needs so I can care well for others.
Thanksgiving: Lord, thank you for answering my prayers about -----. Thank you for protecting my family's health through this pandemic, and thank you for providing for extra cash when we lost some of our income last month. Thank you for friends who hold me up when I'm struggling and family who give me grace when I'm not as loving as I could be.
Supplication: God I humbly ask, if it's your will, to cure my loved one of cancer. I ask that you would walk with my spouse in the new job and that you would comfort and guide my adult children while they're away from home. Lord, what I see in the news about *new legislation scares me... please give me wisdom to know what is right and wrong as I study these proposals, and please intervene with our nation's leaders and bring wisdome to all those who influence those measures to ensure your will is done in our country and in our world.

*Read what our LCMS President says about the current proposed legistation - his letter is included at end of this email. As Christians it is our responsibility to educate ourselves on what changes to our current laws are being proposed and to then influence our local and national government as God leads us and as we are able. Please keep up with what's going on and how it may impact our current freedoms and our ability to carry out the Church's mission.
We're asking EVERYONE to set aside some time between Mar 26-28 for up to 30 minutes of dedicated prayer time, using the ACTS model (or whatever framework works for you), to share your hearts with God. Set a reminder on your phone/calendar/planner. You can pray alone or with family/friends. It's all about relationship, and how can you know and trust God without talking to Him regularly!?! Let us know how it goes at and we'll share in Trinity Family Moments.
Sponsor a Child's Bible
Do you know the purpose statement of Trinity's Child Development Center? We've just updated it this year and we feel very, very grateful for what Trinity Downtown is able to provide to local children and families through the CDC. The purpose statement is:

Trinity Lutheran School's Child Development Center
nurtures the development of the whole child 
from a core foundation of faith, 
preparing them spiritually, academically, socially, and emotionally
in partnership with their family
for future academic success and to lead purpose-filled lives for Christ.

So, in keeping with our purpose, each year Trinity Downtown gives a brand new children's Bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible, to every child who graduates from our four VPK classes. As these children leave our Lutheran child care center and begin Kindergarten at a new school, we send with them, and their families, the best gift we can give - a foundation of faith, nurturing and preparating, and the Word of God -- with a note inside that will remind them for years to come of their Trinity Family!

Each Bible is $7 or a case of 20 for $139. Please consider sponsoring one or more Bibles for these children. Checks can be sent to the office or dropped in the offerring plate with VPK BIBLES written in the memo line.
Voters Meeting
All safety protocols will be followed as in worship services, and so we'll be meeting in-person in the Sanctuary on Sunday, April 11, after worship (about 11:30am). Details coming soon on agenda items. Please join your Trinity family to learn more about how things are going and plans moving forward!
Last Week With Peace
Peace Comfort Dog had some great visits last week.  Look at all she and the team are doing to reach out to others with God's love and compassion!

  • Peace was invited back to Brookdale - Conway for the first time in a year. This is our first invite back to a nursing home since the start of the pandemic. We're excited to be back at Brookdale, and hope more nursing homes will begin opening up for our visits again. (Do you know someone in a nursing home who would welcome a visit from Peace?)
  • Peace visited the St Cloud Fire Rescue Administration and Station 31. Peace provided some comfort to the Admin team before visiting Station 31 to hangout with the firefighters. It was a great visit, and Peace and team talked about ways we may be able to help families who have been impacted by fires.
  • We also visit the Early Learning Center for Grace Lutheran Church in St Cloud. What a fun way to spend a Friday hanging out with kiddos from 6 months to 5 years old. They were super happy to see Peace, asked lots of great questions, and of course, loved on Peace for a while. We look forward to visiting them again soon.

If you know somewhere/someone that might be a good visit for Peace, please talk to Paul Soost or any member of the team. We'd love your help in getting Peace's schedule booked up a bit more. And if you're interested in being part of Team Peace, please talk to Paul Soost. Have you thought about being a handler and taking Peace on visits? Or being part of the ministry team, sharing God's love and compassion with people in the community? There's a place for you on our team. Talk to Paul!
Sharing Trinity Family Moments
Send in your photos of Trinity Family moments- pictures of your study groups, special birthdays, rehearsals, etc. With so much isolation right now, let's do more to share photos and stories to keep in touch. We'll share them in the Weekly. Send to Chanda at
Our Next Campus Work Day - Preparing for Easter
Please join the Trinity family on Saturday, March 27 from 8a-12p for a few hours of fellowship and campus care tasks like weeding, trimming, small repairs, and the final sprucing up before Easter. ALL efforts are appreciated!! Help us prepare for Easter guests by beautifying our campus! Hopefully, thanks to the efforts of the March 6 crew, there will be just a few weeds to pluck and some stray growth on bushes. We'd love to spread red mulch (anyone have a contact?), and to finish the border along the hotel wall in the front parking lot (but we're waiting on the hotel people to bring in more dirt.) Please come for whatever time period you can give. We are asking you to bring your own tools and supplies (gloves, pruning shears, rakes, Windex and rags). Bring drinking water and a snack. When the Covid mess is over, we can go back to supplying the water and a yummy lunch in appreciation. There may be additional tasks from the Maintenance Department or Ted Lange. I hope we have a great turnout to make our campus "shine"!

Campus Care Volunteer Service
The majority of our day to day campus care is managed by our Maintenance Manager, Bill McFadden! (We thank God for Bill and his expertise and dedication ALL the time!) Can you imagine, the amount of work that must take place each and every day to keep Trintiy's campus running smoothly? Not to mention the unanticipated needs that come up. Mr. Bill is a treasure!

In addition to Mr. Bill's dedication and diligence, our Staff Administrative Team and elected Leadership Council members continually communicate about and work on campus project management, and are responsible for goal setting and priority setting for our campus care. Once those priority levels and task lists are reviewed and developed, the Administrative Team on staff is then responsible to assign those tasks, based on priority/availablility of resources etc, to the individual or team who are best suited to tackle those needs.

In many cases that's Mr. Bill (all the lawncare, urgent campus repairs, supply replenishing, heavy lifting, help with deliveries, lighting, campus events support, restrooms and SO MUCH MORE), often it requires a paid contractor (roof repairs, A/C repairs, elevator/lift maintenance, etc), at times it's a task specific volunteer or team team (altar guild volunteers polish the pews periodically, a individual volunteer may take care of a much needed carpet cleaning, our green thumb members help with weeding and watering plants, a volunteer with a certain day off each week might help with sweeping the parking lots, a Bible study group might volunteer to tackle a task on a list), and sometimes tasks require recurring congregational involvement (like seasonal campus work days for major clean up days with weeding and trimming, work on the three houses we're preparing to sell, and there are urgent needs too (like an all-call for help after a hurricane, an unexpected need that hadn't been planned for, or a safety issue that needs an immediate fix before longer term plans can be made).

Essentially, there are MANY ways you can help to support Trinity's ongoing campus care needs! And volunteering to serve on a Campus Care team requires no monthly meetings, no minute-taking, no elections. Win-win.
New Examples of Campus Care teamwork:

  • Last week the CDC trees were trimmed thanks to skilled arborists. Two huge clusters of dead limbs removed. We love our big (and shade providing) trees, but those big branches need tending to! THANK YOU!
  • TWO new offers came in this past week for use of commercial pressure washers and man-power - much needed for walkways, courtyards, retaining walls and such. THANK YOU to Sheila Mathews and also to Doug King.

THANK YOU to all who have helped or are currently helping with these projects and many others as well! More projects are coming up all time! Stay tuned!
Thrivent Choice Dollars - Deadline March 31
Each day, organizations across the country are doing incredible things to strengthen communities and change lives. Thrivent clients can support that important work by directing Choice Dollars to any of more than 40,000 enrolled churches and nonprofit organizations. Trinity is enrolled as one of those churches - and would be honored to be selected for your choice designation!! Every dollar counts in supporting the Trinity budget!
  • By directing Choice Dollars, eligible clients with membership recommend where Thrivent distributes a portion of its charitable funding.
  • Clients become eligible to direct Choice Dollars based on their insurance premiums and contract values. See Choice Dollars details 
Portals of Prayer
The April-June edition of the Portals of Prayer devotional booklets are available now in the Narthex (free).

If you aren't back to worshipping in person and would like to pick up one in the office or at drive-through communion, please email so we can make sure they're in the right place for you.

"FAM" - Care Communities for Foster/Adoption Families
Thank you to all who have responded in interest to Trinity's Family Advocacy Ministry (FAM) awareness and orientation events. Since November, we have had 7 members go through our equipping orientation, to be a part of the Care Communities we will be forming around foster families who live around us. Did you know that 90% of foster families who have Care Communities to wrap around them, feel so supported that they end up fostering more children, and for longer lengths of time? This is why we're so excited about this ministry! Our next awareness event is Sunday, March 18, 11:15 in the loggia 3 classroom (just west of the Sanctary). Just ONE hour of your Sunday for a truly important cause. The next step will be the equippng session, Tuesday, March 20 at 7pm via Zoom. For more information, you may contact Kelley Lane, our "FAM" advocate. Kellye is also happy to host a mini event for your small group Bible study - online or in person. Please email her at
We're livestreaming Sunday 10am worship every weekend. If you need any help finding any services or subscribing to our YouTube channel, please contact Chanda at or 407-490-7339.

You can find the Saturday services on Trinity's website and posted on Facebook weekly.
LERT Training
Join a Lutheran Early Response Team (LERT) training event near you to learn how to be prepared to show Christ's love to the community when a disaster strikes. Attendees will receive training in the following areas:
  • The LCMS Disaster Resonse Program
  • Christian Care in Times of Disaster
  • Congregation Preparednes
  • Engaging in Community Response
  • The LERT Program
  • Safety and Equipment
  • General Volunteer Opportunities
The next event is at Hope Luteheran Church in Orlando, on March 27 from 9am to 3pm.
Click here to register. Questions? Contact Lori Bachmann at 214-842-0776 or
Children's Sunday School and MS/HS Youth Bible Study
These Sunday classes are not yet meeting in-person. Planning is underway now with tentative plans to re-launch Children's and Youth Bible Studies in August with the new school year.
Christian Yoga
Christian Yoga continues online via Zoom on Mondays @ 6:30pm. Now more than ever - the relaxation of yoga is a tremendous benefit. Email Beth for more information at
Support Trinity Downtown while you shop!  
Start your Amazon shopping from Amazon smile, and you’ll a small percentage of your shopping totals will be donated to Trinity ministries! THANK YOU!

Small groups connect you to others where you can learn, connect, and grow in ways which will strengthen and equip you to share the gospel and serve in your local community and beyond! That’s straight from Trinity’s mission statement and our commitment to bring people one step closer to Jesus.
Trinity’s mission: to share the gospel through ministries which strengthen and equip people for Christian witness and services in downtown, metropolitan Orlando and the world.  

Currently Running Groups (see red notes for NEW info)
Immerse Bible Reading Experience, Book 2: Beginnings
  • Book needed, daily readings, eight week plan
  • MONDAYS at 7pm with Pastor Doug, via ZOOM.
  • Join Zoom Meeting by going to this link:
  • Meeting ID: 871 5950 5495
  • Passcode: 872275
  • More info about ordering, audio book access and supplemental materials can be found HERE
Immerse: Beginnings is the second of six volumes for use in Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience. Beginnings takes the reader on a new and unique journey through the first five books of the Bible: the Pentateuch. In Beginnings readers follow the ancient nation of Israel from its earliest ancestors to the moment it is poised to enter the land God promised them. As God’s covenant community follows the instructions laid out in the Pentateuch, they not only receive God’s blessings but also are uniquely positioned to bring renewal and healing to the world and to show all peoples the true character and nature of God.

Grief Share - Grief Recovery Support Group
  • Discussion leader is Norma Smith, contact at
  • Tuesdays at 1pm, Loggia 3 Classroom, in-person, workbook needed
  • Each weekly session is a stand-alone session - so you can join at any time and at any pace!
GriefShare is for people grieving the death of a family member or friend. You’ve probably found there are not many people who understand the deep hurt you feel. This can be a confusing time when you feel isolated and have many questions about things you’ve never faced before. Grief Share support groups are led by people who understand what you are going through and have been trained to facilitate this support group. Please share with others who may need to hear about this. These groups are open to all. To learn more visit . Questions? Contact Trinity’s Ministry & Communications Coordinator, Chanda, at 407-490-7339 or
Participants will gain access to valuable GriefShare resources to help you recover from your loss and look forward to rebuilding your life. It is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone. GriefShare meets weekly for 13 weeks. Each GriefShare session has three distinct elements:
  • Video seminar with experts Each week your GriefShare group will watch a video seminar featuring top experts on grief and recovery subjects. These videos are produced in an interesting television magazine format featuring expert interviews, real-life case studies, dramatic reenactments, and on-location video.
  • Support group discussion with focus After viewing the video, you and the other group members will spend time as a support group, discussing what was presented in that week’s video seminar and what is going on in your lives.
  • Personal study and reflection During the week you will have the opportunity to use your workbook for further personal study of the grieving process and to help sort out your emotions through journaling. Your group will spend time discussing questions and comments from the workbook study.

Pastor Doug leads an evening prayer group on Wednesdays at 7pm. For a weekly check-in, a lesson on prayer, and time to pray with and for one another, contact Pastor Doug for the Zoom meeting invitation at

Adult Bible Study - IMMERSE - Prophets
Immerse Bible Reading Experience, Book 4: PROPHETS - Started the last week of January
Book needed, daily readings, eight week plan, multiple meeting options
  1. Sunday Mornings 8:45am adult group will meeting in-person at Trinity with the option of Zoom link for those who aren't yet meeting in-person! Book needed, daily readings, eight week plan. Join Zoom Meeting by going to this link. Meeting ID: 828 0907 4260 Passcode: tlcs4Jesus. Contact Gregg Yawman at for moreinformation.
  2. Tuesday Morning Women’s Group with Connie Sobol facilitating. Loggia 2 Classroom, 9am. Email for details.
  3. Tuesday Evening Women's Group with Julie Lasater in her home. Email
  4. Tuesday Evening Adult Group in Gregg Yawman's home. Contact Gregg at
  5. Saturdays 4:30pm, at Trinity, in the Loggia 3 Classroom right next to the Sanctuary. Lead by Bob Trapp, Jr. Email

Tuesday Morning Women’s Group, "Women of the Word" - WOW
Jump in anytime!
  • Book needed $13, weekly reading assignment, jump in anytime
  • Tuesdays at 9am, Loggia 3, in-person. Contact Terry at to sign up.
"Surrendered" (40 Devotions to Help You Let Go & Live Like Jesus) by Barb Roose.
If you struggle with control, this devotional is for you. Are you in the midst of a hard or heartbreaking season of life? Do you try to control your situation or other people? Do you struggle to let go? ...If you answered yes to any of these questions, this forty-day devotional journey is for you. Within these pages, you're invited to embrace the life-giving power of surrender as you learn to let go and live like Jesus-fully trusting God's power, presence, promises, and provision for your life.

Online/At Your Own Pace

Rev. Milan Weerts shares a study on "The End Times" and "The Gospel of John." You can follow along via Pastor Weerts' Facebook page. Pastor Weerts uses the ESV translation but you can use your own favorite translation for study as well. If you have specific End Times questions, send them to Pastor Weerts at StrongInChrist@CFL.RR.COM   
Covid-19 Safety Procedures

Visitors on Campus
Masks are required for all those visiting the Trinity campus. You are required to respect a six foot minimum distancing from the person you are scheduled to meet with. If you feel ill or have been exposed to or test positive for Covid-19, please do not enter the campus. We will gladly reschedule the meeting to a Zoom meeting if needed.

Use of Trinity meeting rooms for Bible Study groups or meetings
  • masks are required of all attending (all those over 2 years old)
  • 6 feet distancing is required between all individuals not in the same primary household
  • no food or drink during meetings because this requires one to remove their mask to eat or drink .

Sanctuary Capacity with Social Distancing
Please note that we are able to accommodate fewer than our usual maximum capacity in the Sanctuary while following social distancing guidelines. With many still worshiping online from home, we do not believe we will reach that capacity right away and plan to move to two services on Sunday before that happens. However, if that increase in attendance happens more quickly than expected, we may find ourselves in a situation where we have to turn someone away once the Sanctuary is full. Please be aware of this possibility and know that we are doing our best to anticipate attendance and seating needs.

Required Quarantine
*We ask that if you have had direct exposure (within 6ft, 15 min, with or without a mask) to someone who is now being Covid tested because they suspect they are ill or were directly exposed, please self-quarantine until you find out that person's results. If that person tests negative, all is well. However, if that person tests positive, you have now been directly exposed to someone who is positive and must take the necessary CDC steps to quarantine until: 1- you have experienced 6 days of NO symptoms and a PCR on day 7 that comes back negative, OR 2- you have experienced a full 10 days completely symptom free. Thank you to all who have taken these steps to keep others safe!

Required Notice
If you (staff member, church or CDC family, guest, volunteer, etc) have had direct exposure to someone who believes they may have been exposed and are now getting tested, or have had direct 1:1 exposure to someone positive for Covid-19, or test positive for Covid-19 yourself, and have been on Trinity's Campus for worship, volunteering or other reasons, please immediately notify a member of Trinity's Administrative Team (Pastor Doug Kallesen, Chanda Gillenwater, Liz Roberts or Patty Moser - email Your name will be kept in confidence, while Trinity makes its best effort to determine which others you may have had contact with to inform them of the need for testing and/or quarantine.

Worship Safety Procedures - MUST READ
  • If you are feeling ill, have a fever or any of the symptoms related to Covid-19, please stay home and join us for ONLINE worship.
  • The wearing of masks is required for all in attendance except for children under the age of two. Proper use is required - mask should fully cover your nose and mouth for the entire service, even while singing.
  • The Pastor is permitted to remove his mask to give the sermon in order to communicate effectively - for this reason the front two pews of church will remain empty to allow for additional distancing between the pastor and guests.
  • All hymnals, Bibles, pencils, attendance and prayer cards have been removed from the pews. There will be no printed bulletin. This removes all items which would have multiple contacts.
  • The carpets will have been steam cleaned and sanitized. All surfaces inside the Sanctuary will be sanitized, including the pews and pew cushions. These areas will be re-sanitized after the Saturday night service in preparation for Sunday morning.
  • Please enter the Sanctuary from the front (south) doors or the west side door (ramp).
  • There will be hand sanitizer available at both the front door and west side door - please use before you enter and as you leave.
  • You will be welcomed into the Sanctuary by an usher or greeter who will escort you to your seat. They will also be able to answer any questions that you might have.
  • The pews and aisles will be marked to facilitate safe social distancing.
  • No hugs or handshakes are permitted.
  • We will be administering in-pew communion rather than having the congregation proceed to the altar to receive the bread and wine. Each communicant will be given a sanitized plastic bag containing the bread and wine (gluten-free wafers will be available to those who need them) at their seat. Pastor will provide instructions detailing the exact procedure to be followed at each service.
  • At the conclusion of the service everyone will be asked to remain seated until it is their row’s turn to leave the sanctuary.
  • Collection plates will be placed at the front doors and west side door from the church to receive the tithes and offerings of those attending the service.
  • There will be receptacles for the used communion kits at each exit as well.
  • Worship will be posted online as it has been, so if you are feeling ill or wish to worship from home for any reason, you may certainly do so!

* Childcare/nursery will not be available until further notice. Children are always welcome in worship services!
* Children's Sunday School and Youth Bible Study decisions are being made now. Updates coming soon.
Community News
Live and Local Lunch Series
The St. Luke's Concert Series
To view ONLINE concerts, visit St Luke's website for links. Links to watch live!
Feb 24-Mar 24 Lenten Devotions on Wednesdays 12:10 and 7pm
March 20 Drive Through Communion
March 26 OWLS Luncheon
March 26-28 Prayer Vigil
March 27 Campus Work Day
March 28 Palm Sunday Worship (Sat 6pm, Sun 10am) Bring your palm branches!
April 1 Maundy Thursday Worship 12:10 and 7pm
April 2 Good Friday Worship 12:10 and 7pm, CDC and Trinity offices closed
April 3 Easter Eve Worship 6pm
April 4 Easter Morning Worship: 9am Contemporary, 11am Traditional
(No Easter Breakfast this year due to Covid concerns)
April 5 Easter Monday - CDC and Offices Closed
April 11 Voters Meeting, 11:30am, SAnctuary
April 18 Awareness Meeting for "FAM"
April 20 Equipping Meeting for "FAM"
Submit your prayer requests by emailing them to
Your prayer request will be added to Trinity’s weekly emails for the congregation.
All prayers are kept on the list for a period of three weeks, so please resubmit long term prayer needs regularly.

Those Fighting Cancer 
Rick B, Sandy A, Karl S (started chemo this week), Bruce S, Jamie J, Christine M, Gail W
Health Concerns 
Clara M, Hazel H, Tuley B, Jessica and family, Allen C, Claudia K
Mindy, H, Karen E, Margaret

Peace and Comfort

Surgery and Recovery/Hospitalized

Confidential Prayers
For those prayers that have been shared in confidence, you know the details, Lord. We lift them up to you.

Our Trinity Missionaries
Wasmund Family in East Asia, Trump Family in Kenya, Clausing Family in Tanzania, Lehman Family in Spain, Young Family in Kenya
For Our Communities - For Our Nation - For Our World
We pray for our nation, for our Nation's leaders, for its people, and for our future together as One Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all! We pray that we may all be a reflection of Christ's love, sharing grace and mercy, living in peace with one another. Let's reach out, listen, connect, and have those hard conversations. Love is first. Love wins.

Additional Prayers
  • For all those caring for aging and/or ill family members in need
  • Prayers for our CDC staff & families, Trinity membership and all Trinity staff & leaders
  • For all those struggling with mental health issues
  • Prayers for all of the front line workers in our community and nation; our doctors, nurses, EMT, fire fighters, special needs caregivers, essential workers and police.
  • Prayers for all those who have Covid-19 to be restored to full health
  • Prayers for those who have lost their job or who have been furloughed. And we give thanks for those who have found new employment or have been able to return to their jobs.
  • Prayers of thanks for God’s daily provisions. 

A Word on the Equality Act
To the Pastors, Called Workers and Members
of the 6,000 Congregations of
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

The words of the apostle Peter apply to us now:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith — more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory. (1 Peter 1:3–8)

The church’s task is not political. It is the proclamation of the Gospel of free salvation in the cross and resurrection of Jesus for all (1 Cor. 1:23; John 18:36). “The Church is the congregation of saints in which the Gospel is purely taught and the Sacraments are correctly administered” (AC VII 1).1

God rules His church by His infallible Word, the Holy Scriptures (John 17:17; 2 Tim. 3:15–16). God rules the state by His eternal law, reason and reasonable laws for the common welfare. “Our churches teach that lawful civil regulations are good works of God” (AC XVI 1; see Rom. 13:1–7). The church should not meddle in government affairs, especially in matters upon which the Word of God is silent. It is also wrong when governments act against God’s eternal law, reason and the basic civil rights of all people. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution enshrines this truth. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Throughout history, governments have acted unjustly — sometimes in the name of race, atheism, communism, religion and even Christianity — and curtailed or denied the rights of conscience and the free exercise of religion. And governments continue to do so. Our Lutheran and biblical confession is that “it is necessary for Christians to be obedient to their rulers and laws. The only exception is when they are commanded to sin. Then they ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29)” (AC XVI 6–7; see 1 Peter 2:13–14).

St. Paul made use of his legal right as a Roman citizen (“I appeal to Caesar” Acts 25:11). “Christ’s kingdom allows us outwardly to use legitimate political ordinances of every nation in which we live, just as it allows us to use medicine or the art of building, or food, drink, and air” (Ap XVI 54). Our Lutheran Confessions commend the seeking of public remedy for injustice. “Public remedy, made through the office of the public official, is not condemned, but is commanded and is God’s work, according to Paul (Romans 13)” (Ap XVI 59). Our God-given right to act as citizens is very important, especially now.

The Equality Act is before Congress.2  It sounds innocent. All Americans should enjoy equality and the protections of the U.S. Constitution. But in elevating sexual orientation to a protected class, the Equality Act will bring sweeping changes to current laws, to the great detriment of the religious and constitutional freedoms of biblically faithful churches, institutions, Christian schools and individuals.
Jesus referred to Genesis 2:24, when He stated:

“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matt. 19:4–6)

In fact, those churches and institutions that are bound by the Word of God to the truth of marriage between a man and a woman, and that sex outside of that institution is contrary to the word of Christ and the apostles in the New Testament (1 Cor. 7:2), could be punished for simply standing on our consistent, ancient Christian beliefs. The Equality Act effectively outlaws the words of Christ, the sublime doctrine of Creation, the First Article of the Creed, and our “free exercise of religion” based upon the Bible and Apostles’ Creed. The biblical teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman is to be labeled forever a mere “sex-based stereotype.”3

The Equality Act expands the definition of “public accommodation” and puts an ultimatum to individuals, religious non-profits, food banks, schools, charities, adoption agencies and others: “Change your faith-based practices or face government punishment.”4

Religious schools (K-12 and universities) are a prime target of the Equality Act, which will make it difficult to maintain standards for admission and codes of Christian conduct for students, faculty and staff.5  The Equality Act will forbid college students from using federal tuition assistance at schools that maintain standards of conduct on the basis of the Bible regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.

Sex-specific facilities and female-only spaces could be eliminated. Biological males will have the right to participate in female sports, unjustly denying female athletes at our schools a fair competition and the due rewards of accomplishment.6

The Equality Act will eliminate the significant protections of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed by Congress and signed into law in 1993.7  This law has provided strong protections for “free exercise of religion” in the face of overzealous officials.
The Equality Act contains no conscience protections for medical staff who choose not to perform abortions, even if they have religious objections. Because of its broad definition of “health” services, the Equality Act threatens the Hyde Amendment, which limits public funding for abortion. It also threatens Christian hospitals with elimination of funding for not performing “health” services, including abortion or genital mutilation.

The Equality Act was recently passed by the House and is currently pending in the Senate. The margin is razor thin. If it does not become law now, we can be assured that it will be pressed again. We encourage all LCMS people to:
  1. Treat all people with kindness and respect (“You shall love your neighbor as yourself” Mark 12:31), while holding firmly to “the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
  2. Become informed about the Equality Act and the issues of gender dysphoria. (See “Additional Resources” below.)
  3. Consider your role as Christian citizens and make your voice known to your elected officials, particularly in the U.S. House ( and Senate (
  4. Pray for our officials, government and the church in these challenging days.

Martin Luther once said, “Christ dwells only in sinners.” We recognize ourselves as sinners constantly in need of Christ’s forgiveness. We recognize the truth of the apostle Peter’s words, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God” (1 Peter 4:17). We know that Jesus’ opponents grumbled against Him by saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2). This comforting verse applies to us sinners, and we welcome all others to join us at the feet of Jesus, the sole Savior of all (John 3:16). As Christians, we believe that God has created all people, and all are infinitely valuable and accountable to Him. As Christian citizens, we recognize and demand basic God-given civil rights for all people, even as we insist on the First Amendment rights of Christians.

No matter the course of this or any legislation, Christ will sustain His church. Our hope is not in laws, Congress or courts. Our hope is Christ. “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:8–9, 13–17)

Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

Additional resources regarding the Equality Act:
•  LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations — Gender Identity Disorder and Gender Dysphoria in Christian Perspective
•  Alliance Defending Freedom — The True Impact of the “Equality Act”
•  Heritage Foundation — 11 Myths About H.R. 5, the Equality Act of 2021

1 Citations from the Augsburg Confession (AC) and the Apology of the Augsburg Confession (Ap) are from Paul T. McCain et al., eds., Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, 2nd ed. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2005).   Return to statement
3 Equality Act, Section. 2, Findings and Purpose: (1) Discrimination can occur on the basis of the sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, …as well as because of sex-based stereotypes.   Return to statement See the Equality Act, Section. 2, Findings and Purpose: (11) Individuals who are LGBTQ, or are perceived to be LGBTQ, have been subjected to a history… of discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity by both private sector and Federal, State, and local government actors, including in employment, housing, and public accommodations, and in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance…. An explicit and comprehensive national solution is needed to address this discrimination.”   Return to statement
5 LCMS schools serve many who in some way identify with the LGBTQ community. However, our schools have standards of conduct and the expectation of respect for our biblical teachings.   Return to statement
6 Section 1101. Definitions and Rules. “(b)(2) (with respect to gender identity) an individual shall not be denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.”   Return to statement
7 Section 1107. Claims. “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq.) shall not provide a claim concerning, or a defense to a claim under, a covered title, or provide a basis for challenging the application or enforcement of a covered title.”   Return to statement
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