The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America celebrates its 35th anniversary

​Chicago – The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will observe its 35e April 30 birthday. On this date in 1987, the ELCA constitution was adopted at the opening session of the Constituent Convention in Columbus, Ohio.

The ELCA was born out of the merger of three Lutheran churches – the American Lutheran Church, the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and the Lutheran Church in America. To symbolize the formation of the new denomination, the bishops of the three previous ecclesiastical bodies poured water from separate vessels into a baptismal font.

The Reverend Herbert W. Chilstrom was elected the first bishop of the ELCA at the constituent convention. He was the former bishop of the Minnesota Synod of the Lutheran Church in America.

As the church commemorates its history, it also looks to the future. ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton spoke about the importance of grounding the “Future Church” priority in tradition while being relevant to people who may not be familiar with the gospel message of freedom.

“In 1522, at the beginning of the Lutheran movement, Martin Luther took hold of the new technology of the printing press and modernized communication by translating the Bible into German, the language of the people,” she said. “Now, 500 years later, we must find new ways to speak in the cultural vernacular.

“It is not our intention to water down or minimize the gospel word, but to share the good news to make it rooted in tradition and radically relevant. We believe the gospel changes lives. gospel is not only a word of grace but it is also a word of liberation.”

Additional Future Church priorities include starting new ministries and engaging with new, young and diverse people.

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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.3 million members in more than 9,300 congregations in all 50 states and the Caribbean region. Known as the Church of “God’s Work. Our Hands”, ELCA emphasizes God’s saving grace through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians, and service in the world. . The roots of the ELCA are found in the writings of the German Church reformer Martin Luther.

For more information, contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder
Public Relations Manager
[email protected]

Barry F. Howard