Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
8765 W. Higgins Rd.
Chicago, IL 60631
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) was organized April 30-May 3, 1987, in Columbus, Ohio, bringing together the 2.25 million-member American Lutheran Church, the 2.85 million-member Lutheran Church in America, and the 100,000-member Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches.
The ELCA is, through its predecessors, the oldest of the major U.S. Lutheran churches. In the mid-17th century, a Dutch Lutheran congregation was formed in New Amsterdam (now New York). Other early congregations were begun by German and Scandinavian immigrants to Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and the Carolinas.
The first Lutheran association of congregations, the Pennsylvania Ministerium, was organized in 1748 under Henry Melchior Muhlenberg. Numerous Lutheran organizations were formed as immigration continued and the United States grew.
In 1960, The American Lutheran Church (ALC) was created through a merger of an earlier American Lutheran Church, formed in 1930, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, begun in 1917, and the United Evangelical Lutheran Church started in 1896. In 1963 the Lutheran Free Church, formed in 1897, merged with the ALC.
In 1962, the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) was formed by a merger of the United Lutheran Church in America, formed in 1918, with the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, begun in 1860, the American Evangelical Lutheran Church, founded in 1872, and the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church or Suomi Synod, founded in 1891.
The Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches arose in 1976 from a doctrinal split within the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
The ELCA, through its predecessor church bodies, was a founding member of the Lutheran World Federation, the World Council of Churches, and the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA.
The church is divided into 65 geographical areas called synods. These 65 synods are grouped into nine regions for mission, joint programs and service.