Lord of Life History


YES! Lord of Life is the church that Westboro Baptist Church picketed in 1998!

A Discipline Hearing Committee of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) ruled Feb. 3, 1998 to remove the Rev. Steven P. Sabin, Ames, Iowa, from the church’s clergy roster. Lord of Life stood their ground in affirming that queer clergy need to be part of those who serve in the capacity of Word and Sacrament in the ELCA. Therefore, against the (then) policy of the ELCA, Lord of Life Lutheran Church continued to employ Rev. Sabin as their pastor until he received a call to another congregation under the “Extra-Ordinary” process.  The ELCA has since retracted their stance on queer clergy and affirms their eligibility to be on the official roster of the church, making it possible for them to be called to Word and Sacrament Ministry.

Since 1989, Lord of Life Lutheran Church has been a Reconciling in Christ Congregation, meaning that they advocate for the full participation of the queer community, inviting all people to join in sharing their gifts, talents, and presence within the congregation. To be an official Reconciling in Christ Congregation, the church went through a period of discernment and education which resulted in the congregation forming a formal “Welcome” statement that explicitly affirms queer people and encourages the congregation to continue to grow in the understanding of the injustices to this particular segment of the population as well as to all those who are marginalized.

Here is one of the welcome statements that we have embraced:

“As a congregation (and campus ministry) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and as a community of the people of God, we believe that we are called to serve our neighbor, knowing that the world is often an unjust and unloving place.

“We affirm with the apostle Paul that in Christ ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female’ (Galatians 3:28).  Christ has made us one.  We acknowledge this reconciliation extends to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

“We wish to make known that all God’s children are welcome in our community.  We especially affirm that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families are our neighbors.  It is for this purpose that we affirm the following: that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities share the worth that comes from being unique individuals created by God; that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are welcome with the University Lutheran Center (Lord of Life and Lutheran Campus Ministry) community; and that as members of this community, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are expected and encouraged to share in the common life of this college.”