First Trinity Lutheran Church has become the first congregation in this area to join the new Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, formed last year out of the ideological split within the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

The 126-year-old congregation at 309 E St. NW, voted last Sunday, 56 to 18, to take the step. The church, however, will still maintain some ties with the LCMS, said the pastor, the Rev. David A. Preisinger.

"We would like to be supportive of the Southeastern District" -- the regional body of the LCMS that has headquarters here -- "but not of the synod," Mr. Preisinger said.

He added that First Trinity Lutheran had "cut off contributions to St. Louis," national headquarters of LCMS, two years ago.

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod theological discussion focusing primary on interpretation of the Bible.

In 1974, the Rev. John Tietjen was dismissed from the presidency of the church's major seminary -- Concordia --in St. Louis for his moderate views. Ninety per cent of the faculty and student body followed him to Form Concordia Seminary in Exile, which has become one of the bulwarks of moderate forces in their battle with the theologically conservative synod president, the Rev. Dr. J. A. O. Preus.

Preisinger said the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches now has "around 200" congregations in its membership.