Augustana Catholic Church

The Augustana Catholic Church (ACC), formerly the Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church (ALCC) and the Evangelical Community Church-Lutheran (ECCL), was an American church in the Lutheran Evangelical Catholic tradition.

Augustana Catholic Church
Alcc logo.gif
Official logo
OrientationEvangelical Catholic
AssociationsAugustana Catholic Communion
FounderIrl A. Gladfelter
Branched fromLutheran Church–Missouri Synod
Merger ofAthanasian Catholic Church of the Augsburg Confession

The ACC said it was unique among Lutheran churches in that it was of both Lutheran and Anglo-Catholic heritage and had also been significantly influenced by the Roman Catholic Church. The church was founded in 1997 by former members of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Its headquarters were in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[1] The ACC long had a policy of seeking union with the Roman Catholic Church and announced in 2011 that it would accept the conditions of Anglicanorum coetibus and join the personal ordinariates as they are established. Later developments on limitations of joining the ordinariate caused the ACC to hold their offer while they established intercommunion with groups such as the Old Roman Catholic Church of North America. The church claimed a membership in excess of 60,000 in 12 countries.[2]

In 2020, former bishop Kenneth Bakken reported that the denomination had been dissolved as a U.S. organization.


The Augustana Catholic Church considered Lutherans to be Catholics in a temporary involuntary schism imposed on it by the Roman Catholic Church when Martin Luther's attempt to start a renewal movement within Roman Catholicism slipped out of his control. The ACC taught that Lutheranism in general is a form of non-Roman Catholicism, and considered the other Lutheran churches to be "Protestant" only to the extent that they have accepted insights from the Calvinist and Zwinglian phases of the Reformation.[3]

The Augustana Catholic Church accepted the Unaltered Augsburg Confession,[4][5] the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, and Martin Luther's Small Catechism, but only insofar as they are in full agreement with Roman Catholic faith and order, doctrines, and traditions. The ACC recognizes the other documents contained in The Book of Concord—except for the Formula of Concord—but only insofar as they are in full agreement with Roman Catholic faith, order, doctrines and traditions. It did not accept the Formula of Concord on any level, nor did it consider itself bound by any of its terms and provisions, though it respected it as a historical Lutheran document.[6]

The Augustana Catholic Church accepted papal primacy and papal infallibility even though it was not under papal control.[7]


The Augustana Catholic Church never had female clergy for the same reasons the Roman Catholic Church rejects the ordination of women,[8] and placed a moratorium on the ordination of women until such time as it is ordered by a Pope (for the diaconate) or an Ecumenical Council (for the priesthood and episcopacy). The ACC had the same policies as the Roman Catholic Church on the ordination of non celibate homosexual persons and the blessing of same-sex unions, permitting neither.[9]

Petition for unity with the Holy SeeEdit

On May 15, 2009, and again in 2014, the Augustana Catholic Church officially filed a formal petition to enter the Roman Catholic Church "as a unified body" in whichever form the Pope and the Curia decides is the most appropriate. The ACC's petition was filed with the Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and is before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.[when?] It was a separate petition from that of the Traditional Anglican Communion.[10][11][12]


  • The Most Reverend Robert W. Edmondson (d. 2020), Metropolitan Archbishop of the Augustana Catholic Church; Director, Office of the Director of Temporal Administration and Finance; Director, Office of the Director of Military Services and Veteran’s Affairs[13]
  • The Most Reverend Kenneth L. Bakken, Vicar General of the Augustana Catholic Church[13]
  • The Most Reverend Tan Binh Phan Nguyen, Dean of the Holy Synod; Director, Office of the Vicar General for Vietnamese Churches[13]
  • The Most Reverend Thomas Stover, Bishop, Diocese of the West; Director of Evangelism and Church Growth, Office of the Metropolitan Archbishop[13]


Archbishop Edmondson died in 2020, and his published obituary described him not as a Lutheran clergyman, but as a member of the Latter-day Saints Church.[14] Later in 2020, Bishop Bakken's website reported that the church had dissolved as a U.S. organization,[14][failed verification] although the church was still active in Haiti, Ecuador, and African countries.[15]

See alsoEdit

References and notesEdit

  1. ^ International Headquarters, The Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church.
  2. ^ Augustana Catholic Church website
  3. ^ Zip, "Evangelical Catholics", US Lutheran Web Links.
  4. ^ For a discussion of prospects for some kind of Roman Catholic recognition of the Augsburg Confession, see Richard John Neuhaus, "Augsburg and Catholicism: Healing the Reformation Breach," Theology Today 37, no. 3 (Oct. 1980): 294–305. "In 1974 the idea was first advanced that the Roman Catholic Church should 'recognize' the Augsburg Confession. It received wider attention when Joseph Ratzinger, now Cardinal Archbishop of Munich, took up the possibility of a 'Catholic recognition of the Augsburg Confession or, more correctly, of recognizing the Augsburg Confession as Catholic.'" Neuhaus concluded: "There will be no one act of reunion between the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church; there will at some point be a favorable response from a Lutheran church or churches. With that initiating reunion, the situation of all of Lutheranism will have changed. Lutherans who then care to maintain fellowship with other Lutherans will be inclined, if not compelled, to act out the logic that is inherent in the already prevailing consensus that the interim church called Lutheran must pursue its destiny as a movement for all the church in the healing of the breach of the sixteenth century.”
  5. ^ Paul A. Schreck, "Under one Christ: implications of a Roman Catholic recognition of the Confessio Augustana in CE 2017," Journal of Ecumenical Studies 43, no. 1 (Winter 2008): 90–110.
  6. ^ Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church.
  7. ^ "How Is The ACC I is Different From Other Lutheran Churches", Frequently Asked Questions, Archdiocese of the West
  8. ^ New - St. Michael's Lutheran Church ALCC, Kansas City, Missouri - News - ALCC Official Statement on the Ordination of Women, archived from the original on 2013-05-11, retrieved 2011-09-20.
  9. ^ New - St. Michael's Lutheran Church ALCC, Kansas City, Missouri - News - ALCC Official Statement on the Ordination of non-Celibate Homosexuals, archived from the original on 2013-05-11, retrieved 2011-09-20.
  10. ^ Are Lutherans Next? Lutherans Seek Full Communion with Catholic Church, Catholic Online, 2010.
  11. ^ "Anglo-Lutheran Catholic: Lutheran Catholics?", Seventh-day Adventist to Roman Catholic: A Blog of Two Churches, 2009.
  12. ^ The Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church Has Filed A Petition To Enter the Roman Catholic Church, St. Michael's Lutheran Church ALCC, Kansas City Missouri, archived from the original on 2013-05-11, retrieved 2011-09-20.
  13. ^ a b c d "International Headquarters". Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  14. ^ a b "Robert Walter Edmondson". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 24, 2020.
  15. ^ "Augustana Evangelical Catholic Church (Lutheran)". HealthVision International. 2013-11-29. Retrieved 2020-10-10.

External linksEdit