Thirteen congregations have voted to leave the American Lutheran Church since the Minneapolis-based ALC joined two other denominations to form the new Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The departures were reported by ALC General Secretary Kathryn Baerwald at a July 27 meeting of the ALC Church Council's executive committee in Minneapolis.

The breakaway congregations include six in Illinois and others in Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio and North Dakota. None of the 13 reported that it was transferring to another denomination, but some dissident congregations are expected to join the newly organized American Association of Lutheran Churches.

The AALC, in process of formation, is led by ALC clergy who opposed the three-way Lutheran union, contending that the newly merged church's founding documents are weak on the question of biblical authority.

ALC District bishops have predicted an eventual loss of 50 to 60 conservative congregations as a result of the merger. The merged church, constituted April 30, will officially begin operations Jan. 1.

ALC rules require that congregations quitting the denomination must vote to do so by a two-thirds majority in two separate votes, with a 90-day waiting period between the two ballots. Baerwald said several other congregations were in the midst of the withdrawal process.

The AALC is already incorporated as a nonprofit group in Minnesota, said the Rev. James E. Minor, one of the organizers. The group plans to hold its constituting convention Nov. 5-7 in the Twin Cities area to approve documents and elect officers, he said.

The AALC is not the only alternative for dissident congregations that quit one of the three merging churches, Minor said.

Some may remain as independent congregations. And some may join one of several other conservative Lutheran bodies, said the AALC leader.