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Tuesday, September 15th, 2009
In Adult Education hour on Sunday, I went over some matters of church governance. One thing I decided to do was to make a handout showing names of Lutheran church bodies of the past. I wanted to show how the use of the term "church" in the singular for a denomination name was comparatively rare in the past. When I did the research, it turned out to be much truer than I imagined. Now what I did was not exhaustive. But I included what I did find, not cherry-picking the data. Before about 1900, few bodies used the word "church" in their names. What we call these things has a lot to do with how we think about them. Are individual parishioners to think of themselves as members of a national church? Or are congregations to think of themselves as members of an advisory body? Anyway, here is my list:
1748 German Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium of North America (Earliest Predecessor body to the ELCA)
1792 German Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Adjacent States (Same body as above, but renamed. Often just called The Pennsylvania Ministerium)
1820 Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Tennessee
1831 Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of Ohio and Adjacent States
1835 Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Indiana
1847 German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States
1854 Iowa Lutheran Synod
1860 Swedish Augustana Synod
1863 United Synod South
1867 General Lutheran Council
1874 Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
1880 Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Illinois and Other States
1886 Evangelical Lutheran Concordia Synod of Pennsylvania and Other States
1890 Suomi Synod
1896 United Evangelical Lutheran Church
1898 Finnish Evangelical Lutheran National Church of America
1900 Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America
1911 English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri and Other States
1918 United Lutheran Church in America
1918 Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
1929 Apostolic Lutheran Church of America
1930 American Lutheran Church
1962 Lutheran Church in America
1971 Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches
1976 Association of Evangelical Lutherans
1988 Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
One funny note. An exception to the rule was in 1874. Before there was the ELCA, there was the DELCA.
3:32 am Pacific Standard Time