history of the e.L.C.A.

A merger of three Lutheran churches formed the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 1988. They were The American Lutheran Church, the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches and the Lutheran Church in America.


Now 25 years later, the ELCA is a church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. As members of the ELCA, we believe that we are freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor. With our hands, we do God’s work of restoring and reconciling communities in Jesus Christ’s name throughout the world.


We trace our roots back through the mid-17th century, when early Lutherans came to America from Europe, settling in the Virgin Islands and the area that is now known as New York. Even before that, Martin Luther sought reform for the church in the 16th century, laying the framework for our beliefs.

mission of the e.l.c.a.

Marked with the cross of Christ forever, we are claimed, gathered and sent for the sake of the world. This is the mission statement of the ELCA. As members of the ELCA, we believe that we are freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor. With our hands, we do God’s work of restoring and reconciling communities in Jesus’ name throughout the world. 


Members of the ELCA are called and privileged to participate in God's work in the world. God calls and empowers us for mission through baptism. As a community of believers justified by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), we do not describe mission in terms of our own work but with reference to the healing, salvation and restoration that God accomplishes through Christ. We seek the guidance of the Spirit in our planning, while expecting surprising developments and unanticipated opportunities. Grounded in God’s love and forgiveness, we are equipped to live and serve here and now, in the world, with all its complexities, tensions and ambiguities. We have the courage to explore the world as saints and sinners who are certain of God's promises and of the confident hope that all God's loving purposes will be fulfilled when our risen Lord Jesus Christ returns (1 John 3:2).


The ELCA churchwide organization, working collaboratively with congregations, synods, agencies and institutions and other partners will give priority to: accompanying congregations as growing centers for evangelical mission; and building capacity for evangelical witness and service in the world to alleviate poverty and to work for justice and peace.


To this end, the churchwide organization continues to play a significant and pivotal role in the life of this church by working with its local and global mission partners to build, support and extend the mission of this church.