St. John's Lutheran Church

In the City for Good!

St. John's Lutheran Church participates in God's mission to bless, save, restore and reconcile the world through meaningful worship and faithful witness in the city of Des Moines and around the world.

St. John's Lutheran Church invites and welcomes all people to experience the Good News of God's grace, forgiveness and unfailing love. The Good News calls and empowers us to share God's love in word and deed throughout our city, nation and world.

Rainbow Ministry

Love is Love Pride [Converted].jpg

Past Activities


  • Offered a six-week educational series, “Dialog and Discernment,” encouraged by 1996 Council of Bishops

  • Dialogue and Discernment Task Force formed and began meeting monthly


  • Held a four-week forum with stories from individuals and families regarding sexual orientation

  • Spirit-filled meetings called us to look at the plight of homeless and gay youth


  • Began Ministry of Presence at the Homeless Youth Center by providing monthly meals


  • Granted Ministry Team status by the Congregational Council as “Rainbow Ministry Team”

  • Offered an adult forum, “Homosexuality: ELCA Call to Study,” led by Dr. Gary Kinkel of Simpson College

  • Displayed Stoles Project, “For All the Saints”

  • Rainbow banner hung on the balcony for the first time during “Celebrate Christ” Sundays


  • Sponsored a seminar on anti-racism

  • Took part in the Gay Pride Parade with the church van

  • Rainbow quilt displayed with a personal story by the quilters

  • Displayed Tillly Woodward’s AIDS Portraits

  • Erik Christensen, a son of this congregation, was denied approval for ordained ministry in the ELCA by the candidacy committee of the Southeastern Iowa synod. The committee stated its decision was based solely on his sexual orientation and felt its decision denied the church needed leadership and damaged proclamation of the Gospel; however, they felt bound by church policy to act as they did


  • Offered a workshop led by retired ELCA Bishop Herbert Chilstrom who presented his life story regarding the topic of homosexuality

  • Offered a six-week congregational study, “Journey Together Faithfully,” led by Pastor Roy Nilsen


  • Hosted a workshop led by Dr. Craig Nissen on his book, “Many Members, One Body”

  • Walked again in the Pride Parade and presented St. John’s as a welcoming church with our first booth

  • Partnered with the Arts Ministry Team and Digital Photography Group to present “The Faces of St. John’s” portrait display showing the diversity of our St. John’s family

  • Erik Christensen was approved and rostered for ordained ministry by the Extraordinary Candidacy Project


  • Supported a resolution to the Southeastern Iowa Synod Assembly regarding the blessing of same-gender relationships and the rostering of GLBT persons who are in committed relationships *Presented two adult forums to provide opportunity for discussion of the blessing of same-gender relationships

  • Rev. Christensen was called to serve as pastor of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square in Chicago, Illinois. Throughout his process, Erik was supported by his extended family at St. John’s.


  • Sponsored discussions on the ELCA’s sexuality study, “Free in Christ to Serve the Neighbor”


  • For Good magazine won several national awards for excellence for its issue that included stories of the experiences of GLBT persons at St. John’s


  • New rainbow banner presented in honor of Don Pearson

  • The Churchwide Assembly approved the social statement, “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust.” Processes began which allow congregations which choose to do so to recognize and support persons in publicly-accountable, lifelong, committed same-gender relationships and to allow persons in such relationships to serve the church as rostered leaders


  • Yearly participation in the Des Moines Pride Parade

 600 6th Ave. Des Moines, Iowa  50309 - 515.243.7691 - a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America