The History of New Day Lutheran Church
written as a collaboration
In 2009, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America boldly stepped out to welcome, affirm, and ordain people of the LGBTQ community. This caused much division throughout the country, including here in Idaho Falls, ID, where First Evangelical Lutheran church began conversation around leaving the ELCA.
In 2010, when First Lutheran took their final vote to leave the ELCA, many members decided to leave First Lutheran. About 30 or so of those former members decided that they wanted to remain with the ELCA and be a voice for the LGBTQ community here in Idaho Falls. So, under the leadership of Pastor Barbara Condon, they began meeting and started their own ministry. Their vision was to be a worshipping community with passion for God and Compassion for all. Their mission was to love Christ and others by accepting and welcoming all in worship, fellowship, Bible study, and community outreach, while celebrating our gifts and talents. They believed God’s purpose for them was to walk alongside people in God’s unconditional love. For the first couple of years, they met in various places, including homes, the basement of the Unitarian Universalist Church, and at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, all the while participating in various social justice activities, such as the Idaho Falls PRIDE Parade.
In 2012, this group, now recognized as a Synodically Authorized Worshipping Community of the Eastern Washington Idaho Synod and calling themselves the Emmaus Lutheran Community, eventually found a more permanent home at First Christian Church off of Woodruff. Throughout the next two years, the Emmaus Lutheran Community began working towards becoming a fully chartered ELCA congregation. Per the recommendations of the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod, they worked with 21st Century Consultants as many other “New Wine” Congregations (i.e. congregations that had split due to the 2009 Decision of the ELCA) had done, in conjunction with the Director for Evangelical Mission, Helga Jansons. Under their leadership, the Emmaus Lutheran Community, stretched themselves and began the challenging work of figuring out their identity, as well as learning about and trying out new ways of worship and simply “being church.” Part of this hard work led them to change their name to New Day Lutheran.
The next step in the process was to hire a Mission Developer and become a Congregation Under Development. Pastor Regina Herman was called to fill this position in February of 2015. Under her leadership, New Day Lutheran continued to implement the recommendations of the 21st Century Consultants. Part of this was to move worship to a morning time, which led the congregation to move to the Pearl Health Clinic off of 17th Street in Ammon. In 2016, they hired a Music and worship Director, Pastor Connie Day, who helped lead them to experience different ways of worshipping and being church.
The church continued to grow in numbers, as well as in spirit and faith, and became more well known throughout the community. As New Day continued to form its identity as a congregation and within the community of Ammon and Idaho Falls, the members felt that they were drawn more to a traditional style of worship. Out of this desire, the people of New Day Lutheran were welcomed once again by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Idaho Falls in 2018, where they still worship to this day.
In September of 2018, the Eastern Washington Idaho Synod welcomed a new Director of Evangelical Mission, Mary Morrow. Under her leadership and the continued leadership of Pastor Herman, New Day worked hard to complete the final requirements to become an ELCA congregation and on May 5th, 2019, New Day Lutheran became a full-fledged, chartered ELCA congregation.
New Day Lutheran worshipped on-line during the Covid-19 Pandemic for much of 2020 and 2021 which allowed us to reach people that had never before been connected to New Day. In the fall of 2021, Pastor Gina Herman accepted another call and New Day began the process of calling a new pastor. In the interim, Pastor Ron Nitz graciously served as the supply pastor. In July of 2022 New Day issued a call to the Reverend Ann Marie Bjorklund. Pastor Ann and her wife Theresa Jones relocated from Minnesota to Idaho Falls in August of 2022 when Pastor Ann and New Day Lutheran began a new chapter in ministry together.