Frequently Asked Questions

How is FLC responding to the current COVID-19 concerns?

We care a lot about our members. We want to do our part to keep our community of faith safe and healthy. Therefore, we have suspended all in-person indoor gatherings (worship, fellowship, and education) until further notice. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our programming hiatus accordingly. Read more about our COVID-19 response plan.

In the meantime, we have transitioned a number of ministries online: weekly worship, daily evening prayer, Orange online, Wednesday Bible study, and Sunday fellowship hour. Find links to these opportunities on the front page of the website and on the First Lutheran Church,  FLC Kids Ministry and FLC Student Ministry Facebook pages.

We commit to regular communication with the congregation during this hiatus, and encourage you to check in on neighbors and friends. 

If you have particular needs during this time or particular gifts to offer, visit the Decorah Mutual Aid Network to get connected.

You can also reach out to Pastor Melissa, who will be glad to assist as she is able.

I haven't been to church for a while (or ever) and am nervous. Will I fit in?

You are welcome here! Our worshiping congregation each week includes a wide range of young families, established members, visitors, lifelong Lutherans, transplants from other denominations and backgrounds, people who love to sing, people who hate to sing, people with varying physical abilities, people who dress up, people who wear casual clothes…whoever you are, there is a place for you. You “fit in” simply by being YOU!

I identify as LGBTQIA+. Am I welcome?

YES! First Lutheran Church is a Reconciling in Christ congregation, which means that we commit to being an open, affirming, welcoming, safe space for all who enter our doors. You are a beloved child of God, and you have gifts to share in this place.

FLC is also “Verified Clear” in our inclusion of individuals of all gender expressions and sexual orientations in the life and leadership of our congregation. For more information, visit

We really mean it when we say, YOU ARE WELCOME HERE! We look forward to meeting you.

You have lots of doors. Which door should I use?

That depends.

  • Looking for the church office? Use the glass double doors off of West Broadway.
  • Coming to worship Sunday? Go in the big red doors, the single glass door at the corner of Mill and Broadway, or the single glass door on the east side of the courtyard.
  • Coming for the food pantry? Use the glass doors on the west side of the courtyard.

What is worship like?

All our worship is grounded in the Lutheran liturgical pattern of Gathering, Word, Meal, & Sending.

These days, all of our worship is online, due to our desire to take good precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic! Join us online for Sunday Worship Where You Are and weekday Evening Prayer; find all of our services, sermons, and more on our FLC YouTube channel.

When we are worshiping on-site again, here’s what you can expect:

  • You will receive a bulletin containing all the liturgy, prayers, and responses.
  • Most songs will come out of Evangelical Lutheran Worship, the red hymnal.
  • Saturday 5:00 p.m. worship is led by piano. Sunday 8:30 a.m. worship is led by organ, piano, and choir. Sunday 11:00 a.m. worship is led by piano, guitar, and other instruments.
  • Services include prayers, songs, responses, readings, a sermon, offering, and communion.


What's with the columns and cables in the sanctuary? And the sideways pews?

In December 2018, we discovered some structural concerns with our 140+ year old sanctuary roof. We vacated the sanctuary for about six months while work could be done to stabilize the sanctuary roof and walls in order to make it safe to occupy once again. This work involved installing columns from the rafters all the way down through the sanctuary floor, down through the fellowship hall, and into the bedrock below. This work also involved installing tension cables to stabilize the plaster and brick walls.

The columns meant that we needed to reorganize sanctuary seating. To best preserve sight-lines wtih the columns, we turned the pews in the front half of the sanctuary inward, and moved our altar platform into the center of the space. It is new and different, and a lovely way to worship that helps a big space feel intimate and lofty! Come check it out!

You can read more about our building’s journey on our building updates page.

Do I have to be Lutheran to take communion?

Nope. The communion table is not First Lutheran Church’s table, nor is it the ELCA’s table. It is Christ’s table, and he invites all who believe to join in the meal. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to talk to our pastors.

What about my children?

  • Children are welcome at all of our worship services – we encourage families to participate together in all the elements of worship.
  • A children’s play area is available for families in the back of the sanctuary.
  • We have a staffed nursery during Sunday worship; follow the signs out the door at the front right of the sanctuary.
  • During the school year, Children’s Chapel is offered as part of 8:30 a.m. worship. Interested children are dismissed prior to the sermon for age-appropriate activities based on the day’s Bible readings. They return to the sanctuary in time for communion.
  • Children are welcome at communion! We do formal communion education as a milestone in fifth grade, but we let parents and kids make the decision that is right for their family about when children begin taking communion. Pastor Chad and Pastor Melissa would love to talk to you about this if you have questions or need advice!

I’d like to talk to somebody about church, faith, doubts, questions, volunteer opportunities, etc. Who can I contact?

Pastor Chad and Pastor Melissa are always happy to talk to you! They can help you out or point you in the right direction. Email them using the links above or call the church office (563-382-2638). If you are interested in learning more about children’s and youth ministry, contact Adrian Walter, our Director of Youth and Family Ministries.