- Corporate body
Address: 714 Market
Address: 714 Market
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.
The Lutheran Church in America was formed at a 1962 meeting in Detroit, Michigan as the result of a merger of the AELC, the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the Suomi Synod. Discussions about a possible merger had begun in 1955. The LCA was organized into 33 synods. In 1987, it merged with the Association of Lutheran Churches and the American Lutheran Church to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
In 1918, three German-language Synods (General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America, the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the USA, and the United Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the South) merged to form the United Lutheran Church in America. These groups had worked together for some time prior to the merger, issuing a Common Service in 1888, forming a Home Mission Arbitration Commission in 1907, and removing doctrinal differences by constitutional amendment in 1911. The Evangelical Lutheran Zion Synod joined the ULCA in 1920, followed by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of North America in 1942. In 1962, the ULCA became part of the newly formed Lutheran Church in America.
The Pacific Synod of the United Lutheran Church in American included Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, and British Columbia.
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.
The Norwegian Synod was formed by Norwegian Lutheran dedicated to theological orthodoxy and preserving the traditions and teachings of the Church of Norway. The synod was organized in 1953 by clergyman JWC Dietrichson. In 1857, the Synod decided to establish Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, which opened in 1861. In 1876, a seminary was established in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1917, the Norwegian Synod merged with the Hauge Synod and the United Church to form the Norwegian Lutheran Church in America. Thirteen out of 351 synod pastors objected to the merger. Those pastors formed the Norwegian Synod of the American Evangelical Lutheran Church. The first president of this new synod was Bjug Harstad. In 1958, as more congregations moved away from Norwegian language and traditions, the Norwegian Lutheran Church in America became the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
The Suomi Synod was formed by Finnish Lutherans in Calumet, Michigan in March of 1890. In 1896, the Synod founded the Suomi College in Theological Seminary in Hancock, Michigan. The Synod closely aligned with the doctrine of the State Church of Finland. Beginning in 1920, the Suomi Synod began a partnership with the ULCA to form an Immigrant Mission Board which helped support the work of the Finnish Missionary Society. The Suomi Synod was part of the 1963 merger to form the LCA.
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.
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.
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).