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Rev. Dr. Curtis Leins

New presiding pastor for the AALC

The AALC’s new presiding pastor, Rev. Dr. Cary Larson (third from right), poses with three of his predecessors in office. Pictured (l-r) are: Rev. Dr. Curtis Leins, Rev. Dr. Duane R. Lindberg, Dr. Larson, and Rev. Dr. Thomas Aadland.
AALC Presiding Pastor Cary Larson

USA – The American Association of Lutheran Churches (AALC) held its 28th General Convention from June 21-24, 2022 in Plymouth, Minnesota, during which time the church elected Rev. Dr. Cary Larson to serve as its new presiding pastor. The convention gathered under the theme “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the Name of Jesus Christ,” drawn from Colossians 3:12-17.

“I am blessed beyond measure and extremely humbled to have received the call to be the fifth presiding pastor of the American Association of Lutheran Churches,” Dr. Larson wrote on social media following his installation.

Dr. Cary Larson is installed as presiding pastor of the AALC.

Dr. Larson succeeds Rev. Dr. Curtis Leins, who was first elected to the role in 2004. Dr. Leins installed Dr. Larson as presiding pastor during an evening service on June 23, assisted by Rev. Dr. Duane R. Lindberg, who led the AALC from its founding in 1987 until 1999.

Dr. Larson previously served the AALC as Assistant Presiding Pastor. Until his election as Presiding Pastor, he also served as pastor of Christ Lutheran in Waseca, Minnesota, a call he held for 12 years. Dr. Larson also serves as an Adjunct Professor with the AALC’s seminary, the American Lutheran Theological Seminary. He holds a doctorate of ministry from the Institute of Lutheran Theology.

The American Association of Lutheran Churches is a member of the International Lutheran Council, a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies.


TAALC elects new Presiding Pastor

Worship at the 2014 General Convention of The American Association of Lutheran Churches.

Worship at the 2014 General Convention of The American Association of Lutheran Churches (via Facebook).

USA – The 24th General Convention of The American Association of Lutheran Churches (TAALC) convened June 24-27 at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota, during which time they elected Rev. Dr. Curtis Leins as their new Presiding Pastor. The convention gathered under the theme “Equipping the Saints”.

Rev. Dr. Dean Nadasdy, District President of the Minnesota South District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, served as Keynote Speaker. He also brought greetings on behalf of President Matthew C. Harrison and the LCMS. In addition to Dr. Nadasdy’s keynote address on equipping the saints, he also preached at the Thursday evening service of installation for the newly elected Presiding Pastor of The AALC, the Rev. Dr. Curtis E. Leins. Also elected at the convention were Rev. Roger Twito as Assistant Presiding Pastor and Rev. Irv Stapf as Secretary of TAALC.

Presiding Pastor Curtis Leins (via Facebook).

Presiding Pastor Curtis Leins (via Facebook).

Dr. Leins served previously as Assistant Presiding Pastor of TAALC. He had also served the national office full-time as National Home Mission Developer. Dr. Leins was ordained into the Office of Holy Ministry in 1978. He received his Master of Divinity from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (Columbia, South Carolina). He also holds a Master of Theology from Duke University, a Master of Arts from Temple University, and a Ph.D. from Temple University.

Among other business at convention, The AALC passed a resolution calling the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to repentance and back to Scripture. The resolution reads “that for the sake of the truth of the gospel and the greater welfare of the body of Christ, The AALC urges the ELCA, on the basis of scripture to repent of their false doctrine, renounce the spirit of the age, and seek forgiveness for their blasphemies through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.” The resolution also directs the Presiding Pastor of The AALC to personally communicate their position to the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA.

The convention opened the evening of June 24 with Divine Service. Dr. Leins preached from Matthew 9 under the theme, “Calling All Sinners.” Worship was at the center of the gathering, with services of Holy Communion every evening and worship every morning. The closing worship service also included a graduation ceremony for students of the American Lutheran Theological Seminary. Two men, Dean Stoner and Jordan Cooper, graduated from the pastoral program, while Brigitte Gassman became the first to graduate from the deaconess studies route.

The AALC formed in 1987 during the lead up to the formation of the ELCA. It emerged mostly from churches of The American Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church in America. It centers itself in the inerrancy of Scripture, the veracity of the Lutheran Confessions (according to a quia subscription), the primacy of world missions and evangelism, and the authority of the local congregation. Currently, The AALC has 65 congregations across the United States, and is seeking to expand nationally and internationally.

At its 2007 convention, the AALC voted to join the International Lutheran Council. The same year it entered into altar and pulpit fellowship with the LCMS. Residential students of the American Lutheran Theological Seminary have been attending Concordia Theological Seminary—a seminary of the LCMS—in Fort Wayne, Indiana since 2005. The AALC seeks to strengthen its partnership with Lutherans around the world through their partnerships with the LCMS and the ILC.


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