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Authority record
Region 1 Archives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Corporate body

American Lutheran Church

  • ELCA 1.9
  • Corporate body
  • 1930-1987

The American Lutheran Church (ALC) was formed through a merger of the Ohio and Iowa Synods, followed by the Buffalo Synod, in 1930. Over the next decades, the ALC began partnerships with other Lutheran synods. This joint group, referred to as the American Lutheran Federation, laid the foundation for a merger in 1960. This merger brought together the United Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church with the ALC, unifying the three largest groups of Lutheran immigrant communities (Danish, Norwegian, and German). The ALC adopted a strong centralized synodical system consisting of 13 geographical districts. In 1987, the ALC merged with the Association of Lutheran Churches and the Lutheran Church in American to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

Ascension Lutheran Church (Seattle, Washington)

  • ELCA 7.2.13
  • Corporate body
  • 1954-1986

This congregation was organized as a mission by the Lutheran Free Church on October 31, 1954. Known first as Sand Point Heights Church, construction of the first unit began in April of 1963, and first services were held in the basement in October of that year. Rev. Lester Dahlen, who was pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Seattle, served as acting pastor. When the congregation was officially recognized, Rev. Howard Sortland was the first full-time pastor. In 1979, on the 25th anniversary, the building was modernized. The congregation was dissolved in 1986.

Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church

  • ELCA 1.8.1
  • Corporate body
  • 1860-1962

The Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church traces its beginning to a congregation formed by in 1848 Swedish immigrants in an area of Jefferson County Iowa known as New Sweden. The first ordained Swedish pastor to serve in the Midwest arrived in late 1849 to support the New Sweden congregation and establish Lutheran congregations in Illinois. As more Scandinavian immigrants arrived to the area, more Swedish Lutheran pastors were called. In June 1860, representatives of Swedish and Norwegian congregations met in Rock County, Wisconsin to found the Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod of North America. The Augustana Theological Seminary was soon established in Chicago. In 1870, the Norwegian withdrew from the Synod. Congregations were established in 35 states and 5 Canadian provinces organized into conferences and districts. In 1962, the Augustana Synod joined the AELC, the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the ULC to form the Lutheran Church in America.

Bethesda Lutheran Church (Portland, Oregon)

  • ELCA 6.2.5
  • Corporate body
  • 1947-1955

The Albina Lutheran Church was established by the Commission on Negro Missions of the American Lutheran Church on February 2, 1947. The name was changed to Bethesda Lutheran church on June 13, 1948. The congregation disbanded in 1955

Columbia Conference of the Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod of North America

  • ELCA 1.8
  • Corporate body
  • 1860-1962

On June 5, 1860 in Clinton, Rock County, Wisconsin, twenty-six pastors and fourteen lay delegates from Lutheran congregations organized the Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod of North America. The Augustana Synod became the only Lutheran body in the United States that was supported by the Lutheran immigrants from Sweden. While based mainly in the Midwest, the Synod wanted to expand its outreach to the Western frontier. The Mission Board of the Synod in 1879 sent a call to Pastor Peter Carlson to do missionary work on the West Coast, specifically Portland, Oregon. Peter Carlson spent many years in the Northwest among several congregations. In 1882, the Mission Board was able to establish a Mission District on the West Coast. The Pacific Mission District was under the supervision of the Synodical Mission Board for five years. It included Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, and Utah. The Mission District was divided into Northern and Southern Districts. Soon the Pacific Mission District felt that the Mission Board was too far away to look after the best interest of the District. They thought that the only was to solve this problem was to organize a conference of their own with the power to act. The Synod gave sanction and at a meeting of the whole District in Tacoma, Washington on April 9, 1888, the District organized itself into the Pacific Conference of the Augustana Synod. The newly formed Conference was divided into four districts which included the Puget Sound, Palouse, Columbia, and Los Angeles Districts.

A problem was discovered with the set-up of the conference, it was found that the long distances between the different districts prohibited regular annual meetings. At the third meeting of the conference it was decided to petition the Synod for permission to divide the conference into separate conferences. At a meeting in the Immanuel Church in Portland, Oregon on March 4, 1893, the Pacific Conference gathered for the last time to dissolve. After the final meeting, the delegation met from the North gathered and organized the Columbia Conference of the Augustana Synod. The constitution was kept the same except for the changed in the name and the territorial boundaries. Permanent officers were elected as well as an executive committee which also served as a Mission Board.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

  • ELCA 2.1
  • Corporate body
  • 1988-

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was formed through a 1988 merger of the American Lutheran Church, the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and the Lutheran Church in America. The constituting convention was held in 1987 in Columbus, Ohio with an official inception date of January 1, 1988. The ELCA is organized into the following regions and synods:

Region 1: Alaska, Northwest Washington, Southwestern Washington, Northwest Intermountain, Oregon, Montana
Region 2: Sierra Pacific, Southwest California, Pacifica, Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain
Region 3: Western North Dakota, Eastern North Dakota, South Dakota, Northwestern Minnesota, Northeastern Minnesota, Southwestern Minnesota, Minneapolis Area, Saint Paul Area, Southeastern Minnesota
Region 4: Nebraska, Central States, Arkansas-Oklahoma, Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana, Southwestern Texas, Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast
Region 5: Metropolitan Chicago, Northern Illinois, Central/Southern Illinois, Southeastern Iowa, Western Iowa, Northeastern Iowa, Northern Great Lakes, Northwest Synod of Wisconsin, East-Central Synod of Wisconsin, Greater Milwaukee, South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, La Crosse Area
Region 6: Southeast Michigan, North/West Lower Michigan, Indiana-Kentucky, Northwestern Ohio, Northeastern Ohio, Southern Ohio
Region 7: New Jersey, New England, Metro New York, Upstate New York, NE Pennsylvania, Southeastern Pennsylvania, Slovak Zion
Region 8: Northwestern Pennsylvania, Southwestern Pennsylvania, Allegheny, Lower Susquehanna, Upper Susquehanna, Delaware-Maryland, Metropolitan Washington, DC, West Virginia-Western Maryland
Region 9: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Southeastern, Florida-Bahamas, Caribbean

Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of Ohio

  • ELCA 1.4.1
  • Corporate body
  • 1818-1929

On September 14, 1818, the General Conference of the Evangelical Lutheran Preachers in Ohio and the Adjacent States was organized in Somerset, Ohio. In 1820, declined an invitation to join the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the USA. The group established a seminary in Canton, Ohio in 1830, which was transferred to Columbus the following year. In 1831, the body divided into an Eastern and Western District. The districts began meeting as a joint body for general conventions, leading to the name "Joint Synod" being adopted by the 1840s. Leaders of the Iowa Synod and the Joint Ohio Synod began meeting in 1883. The two synods merged, with other groups, to form the American Lutheran Church in 1930.

Family of God Lutheran Church (Federal Way, Washington)

  • ELCA 7.2.6
  • Corporate body
  • 1980-1999

The Family of God Lutheran Church congregation of Federal Way, Washington was established as a mission congregation of the American Lutheran Church on August 4, 1980. The church building was completed in 1985. Under the leadership of pastor James Christianson, membership and support grew over the first decade of the congregation's existence. Due to financial pressures, the congregation closed in 1999.

General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America

  • ELCA 1.1.1
  • Corporate body
  • 1867-1917

Ten Lutheran Synods joined to form the General Council in 1867 in opposition to what was seen as more a more relaxed "Americanized Lutheranism" accepted by the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States of America. In 1917, the General Council merged with other groups to form the ULCA.

Holden Village

  • ELCA 6.4.1
  • Corporate body
  • 1957-present

In 1896, James Henry Holden made his first claim on the area which would later become Holden Village. However, due to the expense and difficulty involved in transporting copper from the isolated mine, the operation did not begin its full productivity until 1937. By 1938 the mine had become successful and processed 2,000 pounds of copper ore daily.

The Howe Sound Company built a town site on the north side of Railroad Creek soon after the mine began to thrive. The town site consisted of a number of dormitories, a gymnasium, bowling alley, mess hall, school, and hospital, among other things. West of the town site was a patch of small houses intended for miners and their families. The Holden Mine and its town site flourished for many years despite the isolation. However, after World War II the price of metal fell and the resources of the mine began to diminish. The mine was closed in 1957.

With the closing of the mine in 1957, the Howe Sound Company sought a buyer for the Holden Mine and town site. With an asking price of $100,000, the remote piece of property did not sell. However, Wes Prieb, a man active in the Lutheran Bible Institute of Seattle, saw the potential for a spiritual retreat center at the old mine. Originally he asked the Howe Sound Company to give the land to the Lutheran Church as a gift. The Company refused, but eventually agreed to sell the mine, town site, and all the land for one dollar.

With the purchase of the land came a multitude of problems for the Lutheran Bible Institute. The structures were old and decrepit. Many were on the brink of collapse and those that still stood did not meet current building codes. With the help of large brigades of volunteers, the Lutheran Bible Institute successfully cleaned and refurbished many of the buildings. The Village began to function as a summer retreat center soon afterward. Originally, the Lutheran Bible Institute imagined a summer-only center, and kept limited staff on-hand for the first few winters. However, both the infrastructure needs of the community and the natural beauty of Holden Village in the winter led to the creation of a year-round retreat center.

Today, Holden Village operates as a year-round retreat center and is one of the most remote continuously inhabited places in the contiguous United States. Largely run by volunteers, the Village offers educational programming and outdoor recreation opportunities to visitors from all over the world.

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