Columbia Conference Records

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Identity elements

Reference code

ELCA 1.8.2

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Record group

Title

Columbia Conference Records

Date(s)

  • 1888-1990 (Creation)

Extent

28 boxes

Name of creator

(1860-1962)

Administrative history

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.

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Scope and content

Contains Pacific Mission District and Conference materials, Columbia Conference Legal, Convention Minutes, Administrative Documents, Boards and Committees, Financial Documents, Women's Groups, Districts, Institutions of the Columbia Conference, and Lutheran Activities within the borders of the Columbia Conference.

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