Just the Facts, Ma’am: LCMS “FOIA” Request Denied

Just the facts ma am

The following information is provided as a service to BJS readers.

FACT: On December 29, 2014 I sent the following request to the LCMS via email:

“I am seeking a list of all recognized Satellite Worship Sites within the LCMS.  If possible, can someone provide me with the name, location, and host church of each of these sites?  I thank you.        Randy”

FACT: On December 30, 2014 I received the following response via email:

Dear Randy,

Thank you for writing. To receive a list such as you describe you would first need to receive approval from your district president. Once he has approved your request the Department of Rosters and Statistics could provide you with the requested information.

I hope this information is helpful. God bless your day.


LCMS Church Information Center

Phone: 888-843-5267

Fax: 314-996-1126

Hours: 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Central Time

Monday through Friday”  (emphasis added)

FACT: The purpose of my request was to simply acquire a consolidated list of Satellite Worship Sites in order to identify how they were being used within the LCMS. The information can be gained via the LCMS website, but only by accessing each congregation individually. However, the LCMS refused my request until I gained District President approval.

QUESTION: Should the LCMS be in the practice of denying basic information to members in good standing? Should a member in good standing be required to get DP approval in order to acquire basic information from the LCMS front office?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Through the keen ability and “Entrepreneurial Research” of the BJS team, we were able to compile the following list via open source information.

LCMS Satellite Worship Sites by District

We were able to identify 133 Satellite Worship Sites (SWS) throughout the LCMS. As a service to BJS readers, the list is now available here.  Please note, a number of the SWSs are being used in absolutely praiseworthy ways (Assisted Living sites and outreach to areas with no LCMS presence). However, others are store-front parishes planted in close proximity to established congregations.

My appreciation goes out to Tim Wood, T.R. Halvorson, and Norm Fisher for their assistance in this effort.

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