Evangelical Lutheran Synod celebrates 100 years

This past June, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) observed the centennial of its organization during its annual synod convention held on the campus of Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minn. 

The ELS was first organized in 1853 as the Norwegian Synod and has been in fellowship with the WELS since the formation of the Synodical Conference in 1872. In 1917, the Norwegian Synod merged with other Norwegian Lutheran church bodies. A small group of pastors and congregations refused to enter into this new synod because of false teachings, so they reorganized the synod that is now called the Evangelical Lutheran Synod in 1918.   

WELS President Mark Schroeder addressed the ELS convention, saying, “One hundred years ago a very small number of faithful pastors and laymen stood firmly on God’s Word and made a very bold and courageous decision. . . . We are so thankful today to have you as partners in the gospel, to be joined and united with you in a common faith and a common mission, and to recognize that as we carry out that work together, it all depends on one thing—on one person really—on our gracious God in his Word.” 

Since its small beginnings, the ELS has grown to 131 congregations in 18 states with 17,000 members. It has mission work in seven foreign fields, including 50 years of outreach in Peru. It, along with WELS and the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church in Germany, was pivotal in starting the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference, a group of 32 member churches worldwide united by a common faith and confession.   

Learn more about the Evangelical Lutheran Synod at els.org. 


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Volume 105, Number 9
Issue: September 2018

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