Pastor Zip's US Lutheran Web Links

Still the most complete detailed listing anywhere of Lutheran Church bodies based in the USA.

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Lutheran Churches in the United States
About 96% of the some 7.8 million Lutherans in North America (figures reported by the Lutheran World Federation in early 2009) are members of the first three of the following church bodies:

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The largest Lutheran Church in the USA, with some 60% of North American Lutherans in her congregations. The ELCA formed in 1988, the culmination of numerous 20th Century mergers. Yet her roots go back to the 1740s with the organization of the first Lutheran Ministerium established to serve German immigrants to colonial British North America. The ELCA relates to international Lutheran Churches through the Lutheran World Federation whose churches are in full communion with each other (signified by a red ball on my Lutheran links pages). See below for more ELCA links. Pastor Zip is an ELCA clergyman.

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
This is the second largest Lutheran church body in the USA, with a little over 30% of North American Lutherans being in LCMS congregations. The Synod was organized in 1847 by Pastors of German-speaking Lutheran congregations in 7 states. Internationally the LCMS relates to the International Lutheran Council, signified by a gold ball on my Lutheran links pages.

The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
WELS is the smallest of the truly "national" Lutheran churches in the US having over 400,000 baptized members, a bit over 5% of North American Lutherans. This conservative, confessional Synod was first organized in 1850 by the Pastors of German-speaking congregations in Wisconsin. WELS relates internationally with the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference (signified by a green ball on my Lutheran links pages), whose churches are in full altar and pulpit fellowship.

Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ
The LCMC was established in 2001 as a "post-denominational association" by ELCA pastors and congregations intent on rejecting the ministry of Bishops in historic succession as outlined in the ELCA-Episcopal agreement, Called to Common Mission. By 2009 LCMC had grown into the fourth largest Lutheran body in the US, and was becoming a significant "escape hatch" for ELCA pastors and congregations who oppose actions at the ELCA's 2009 Churchwide Assembly. The number of LCMC congregations in the US has nearly tripled (to a reported 738 at the end of 2011) since that Assembly. The LCMC also includes congregations in 10 other countries around the world. Unusual for Lutherans, it provides for the ordination of pastors by lay persons. Wikipedia entry

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Lutheran "Micro-Synods"
Most of the remaining Lutherans are in what some describe as "micro-synods." Most of these are Lutheran church bodies that claim to be more confessional and conservative than the ELCA. They range from full-service denominations with authoritative hierarchies to very loose, voluntary associations. Most very small and some are quite sectarian. About half of them are rooted in Pietist movements of the 19th Century. Several were formed as a rejection of the various 20th Century mergers (because the "new" church would be "too liberal") that eventually led to the formation of the ELCA in 1988. There are also some completely independent Lutheran congregations that are not included on this page.

The red ball on this page signifies churches in the Lutheran World Federation; formed by refugees of Soviet occupations, these particular churches have been reunited with their mother churches in the Baltics. Those marked with a green ball part of the international Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference and in full altar and pulpit fellowship with other CELC churches. For other churches that are in formal fellowship with each other I've tried to note such in their entries.

I am also beginning to add Wikipedia links when they are available. Wikipedia can be a useful resource, but its entries can also be subject to the whims of the last person who read it. For those Lutheran churches included, Wikipedia pages are often written in concert with the church's current leadership — enabling them to provide insight to their own special characteristics. However they can also easily be altered by someone with an ax to grind — so reader beware.

Alliance of Renewal Churches
A network of autonomous churches and pastors in the US, Canada, and Iceland, of Lutheran heritage with roots in the charismatic Lutheran Renewal. Some ARC congregations are independent, while others are associated with the ELCA, the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, or other church bodies. Wikipedia entry

The American Association of Lutheran Churches
TAALC was formed mainly by congregations of the American Lutheran Church (many with a Free Lutheran heritage) that rejected the 1988 merger that created the ELCA. Early on this body was influenced by the charismatic renewal, but it has since rejected the excesses of that movement. In 2006 TAALC entered into Altar and Pulpit Fellowship with the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and joined the International Lutheran Council in 2007. Wikipedia entry

Apostolic Lutheran Church of America
This small body is in the tradition of the pietistic Laestadian movement among the Finns in the 19th century. Wikipedia entry

Association of Confessional Lutheran Churches
This confessional Lutheran association formed in 2007 "to meet the needs of those congregation which have been removed recently from the ELS" due to their dissent of the ELS' "unscriptural removal of a pastor from his call and expulsion from the synod." In seeking "to identify and build true biblical fellowship," the ACLC has shared an annual free conference with the Orthodox Lutheran Confessional Conference of Independent Churches. They are in full fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America.

The Association of Free Lutheran Congregations
The Free Lutheran heritage comes from Scandinavian (mainly Norwegian) Pietists who had left the national, state supported "folk churches" before immigrating to North America. Most congregations from this heritage merged into the American Lutheran Church (a predecessor of the ELCA) in 1963. These few opposed that merger and remained independent. With "over 270 member congregations" it was, until the ELCA's schism since 2009, the fourth largest Lutheran church body in the US. Wikipedia entry

Augsburg Lutheran Churches
"A fellowship of churches united by a common confession of faith in Christ," this ALC was originally formed in as a non-geographic "district" of the LCMC. It is now a separate body.

Augustana Orthodox and Evangelical Lutheran Synod [no known web link]
A very tiny synod, created in 1997 by a congregation in St. Paul, Minnesota, dissatisfied with the liberal theology and politics of the ELCA, especially the politicized "social screens" then being used for the ELCA pension plan's investments.

The Church of the Lutheran Brethren
Organized by independent congregations in 1900, this synod of 123 congregations in the US and Canada has established some 1500 congregations in Africa and Asia. By subscribing to 2 of the classical Lutheran Confessions (the Small Catechism and the Augsburg Confession) the CLBA offers a Lutheran slant to conservative, American evangelicalism. Wikipedia entry

Church of the Lutheran Confession
This small, conservative, Lutheran church was formed in 1960 by congregations that left the WELS, LCMS, and ELS. Wikipedia entry

Concordia Lutheran Conference
A very small association of Lutheran congregations formed by congregations that left the LCMS in 1956. In 2004, the Fellowship of Lutheran Congregations, a tiny group of congregations that had split off from the Lutheran Churches of the Reformation in 1979 over issues of excommunication, joined this body. Wikipedia entry

Conservative Lutheran Association
Formed in 1980, this very small association of churches grew out of Lutherans Alert National, an organization formed in 1965 to oppose the liberalism emerging in the American Lutheran Church. They had already in 1969 established the "conservative, evangelical Lutheran" Faith Seminary, whose faculty appears very strong on "conservative" and "evangelical," but pretty weak on "Lutheran." Wikipedia entry

Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad
Actually based in Canada and reunited with the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, this is the church (formerly called the "EELC in exile") that escaped from the World War 2 Soviet occupation of Estonia, immigrating mainly to the US and Canada. Wikipedia entry

Evangelical Lutheran Conference & Ministerium
"A synodical federation, fellowship, and association of centrist Evangelical Lutheran congregations and pastors" formally organized in 1999 after having found (since departing the ELCA in 1991) being independent, being part of TAALC, and being part of the founding of the LMS-USA all unsatisfactory. Wikipedia entry

Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America
ELDoNA, organized in June 2006 by independent, conservative, confessionalist Lutheran pastors who had earlier departed the LCMS, "is committed to the restoration and advancement of consistently Evangelical Lutheran doctrine and practice in harmony with the Sacred Scriptures and the Book of Concord (1580)." They are in full fellowship with the Association of Confessional Lutheran Churches. Wikipedia entry

Evangelical Lutheran Synod
The ELS began when some Norwegian Synod congregations rejected a 1917 merger. Internationally it relates to the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference. Wikipedia entry

Fellowship of Evangelical Lutheran Churches
The Fellowship of Confessing Lutheran Churches was organized Reformation Day 2003 by a cyber group of ELCA pastors, laity, and 2 congregations opposed to Called to Common Mission (the full-communion agreement with the Episcopal Church), but who were not quite satisfied with the LCMC (below). Within a few years the FCLC quietly disappeared, but after the ELCA's 2009 Churchwide Assembly it has been re-established under a modified name.

Illinois Lutheran Conference
Organized in 1979, the ILC's roots are in independent Lutheran congregations that left the WELS in 1970 because they held that the King James Version to be the only acceptable English-language Bible. This fellowship of 5 "Conservative, Orthodox, Confessional, Lutheran" congregations in 4 states still accepts only the KJV.

Independent Lutheran Diocese
A very small body that began in 2005 as the Pietist "Old Lutheran Church in America," the Independent Lutheran Diocese was formed in 2008 by independent, conservative Lutheran congregations and pastors dissastisfied with liberal theology and politics, committed to a "Return to an Authentic Christian Worship Experience," "True Spirituality," "Genuine Christianity," and experiencing "the Joy of Jesus Christ in our daily life." It maintains a Seminary and publishing program. Wikipedia entry

Laestadian Lutheran Church
The LLC was formed in 1973 as a result of the most recent split in the Laestadian movement in North America. Wikipedia entry

Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [Currently "under construction;" beta site here]
Organized in 1975 by exiles of (then Soviet-occupied) Latvia, its web site is nearly entirely in Latvian. See also the sites of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran churches of New York or Kalamazoo, two of LELCA's 70 congregations. Wikipedia entry

Lithuanian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Diaspora
In 2008 this small Lutheran church (two congregations in Canada, one in the US) formed in 1946 by exiles from (then Soviet-occupied) Lithuania reunited into its mother church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lithuania.

Lutheran Churches of Calvary Grace [Alternate site here.]
A group of two dozen or so mission congregations located mainly in Alaska and the Canadian northwest, with missions also in Arizona, Mexico, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. Begun near Amman, Jordan, in 1978, the LCCG has also worked in the Middle East, Siberia, and Costa Rica. It seems to relate in some ways with the AIELC.

Lutheran Churches of the Reformation
A small federation of "autonomous, orthodox Lutheran local congregations" formed in 1964 by pastors and congregations dissatisfied with the "doctrinal disintegration" of the LCMS. Wikipedia entry

Lutheran Conference of Confessional Fellowship
Formed in 1983 by congregations who left the Church of the Lutheran Confession because the CLC would not formally excommunicate members of the Lutheran fraternal organizations (insurance companies), Lutheran Brotherhood and Aid Association for Lutherans.

Lutheran Evangelical Protestant Church
Also called the Evangelical Protestant Church, this conservative body claims roots in Lutheran and Reformed "Union" churches originally organized by German immigrants to the Ohio Valley in the late 1700s that seem to have flourished as an organized body circa 1885-1925. First "re-organized" in 1999 as the General Conference of Evangelical Protestant Churches, it did so again in 2002 as the LEPC after it had begun requiring newly ordained pastors to subscribe to the Lutheran Confessions. It is in communion with the LOC and the AIELC and shares their lineage in the claimed Apostolic Succession of its Bishops — having incorporated women into it. Contrary to most Lutherans it has an emphasis the "Rapture" and Christ's imminent return. Wikipedia entry

Lutheran Ministerium and Synod-USA
Another very small body of Lutheran pastors and congregations dissatisfied after the 1988 merger that created the ELCA. The founders first tried the TAALC, but left in the mid-90s during the older body's charismatic emphasis. The LMS-USA joined the Intrnational Lutheran Council in 2012. Wikipedia entry

North American Lutheran Church
Constituted in August 2010 by Lutheran CORE (COalition for REnewal), NALC is a churchly alternative for congregations, missions, and pastors who reject the progressive innovations of liberal protestantism endorsed by the leadership of churches like the ELCA and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. With 307 congregations as of February 2012, it is (by that measure) now the fifth largest Lutheran church in the US. Wikipedia entry

Orthodox Lutheran Alliance
Founded in 2006 this is a "newly formed Lutheran Christian confessional and heritage association [of] Orthodox Lutheran clergy and laity -- individuals and congregations -- who are standing firmly upon God's Word and the Orthodox Evangelical Lutheran Confessions of Faith." Its list of approved and disapproved matters is both lengthy and wide-ranging of particular theological, political, and societal matters.

Orthodox Lutheran Confessional Conference of Independent Congregations
This group of 5 congregations declared fellowship amongst themselves following their 2006 departure from the Lutheran Churches of the Reformation over its acceptance of permitting women to vote in congregational meetings. In seeking "to identify and build true biblical fellowship," the OLCCIC shares an annual free conference with the Association of Confessional Lutheran Churches. Wikipedia entry

The Protes'tant Conference
A "loose organization" with 6 congregations, the Conference arose in 1927 when the Wisconsin Synod rejected what was being called "the Wauwatosa Theology," which challenged the "dead orthodoxy" demanded of the Synod, and suspended 40 "Protes'tant" (called that because of their protest against conditions within the Synod) pastors. Wikipedia entry

Reformation Lutheran Conference
Another small association of congregations formed in 2000 of congregations that broke from the Lutheran Conference of Confessional Fellowship.

United Lutheran Mission Association
A very small mission association of independent congregations formed in 2005 by two congregations that had earlier departed from the Missouri Synod. Consciously "Old Missouri," the ULMA places greatest authority (beyond, of course, the Scriptures, Creeds, and Confessions) in the congregation's voters assembly. Wikipedia entry.

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Evangelical Catholics
Another kind of American Lutheran church body are those describing themselves as "catholic" churches that subscribe to the Augsburg Confession. Worship in these churches follows the historic liturgy, and will be both dignified and sacramental. The Clergy in these churches have generally been incorporated into "valid Apostolic Succession" (that is, Bishops ordained in an unbroken line back to the Apostles), generally through Old Catholic lines. Other Lutheran clergy and congregations in the more established Lutheran denominations also describe themselves "Evangelical Catholics" (Pastor Zip included, as well as many Anglicans/Episcopalians and even some Reformed), but (except for Anglicans/Episcopalians) generally do not claim Apostolic Succession via the historic episcopate unless ordained via the Church of Sweden, its daughter churches, or (since 2000) in the ELCA.

Association of Independent Evangelical Lutheran Churches [be prepared for audio]
Highlighting the Nicene Creed's confession of "One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church," this small association accepts the Lutheran Confessions and follows a "formal liturgy form." Congregations are in New York and the Caribbean. It is in communion with the LEPC and the LOC.

Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church
Founded by former Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod members in 1997 as the Evangelical Community Church-Lutheran (a "small denomination within Lutheranism's Evangelical Catholic tradition") and later incorporating the Athanasian Catholic Church of The Augsburg Confession, the ALCC practices a Lutheranism that is as close as possible in theology and practice to being Roman Catholic. It has a presence in Canada, Sudan, and Kenya and is a "Lutheran" constituent in the Augustana Catholic Communion (below). In 2009 the ALCC petitioned to unite with the Catholic Church. In February 2011, the ALCC accepted an invitation to join the "Anglican Ordinariate" as the vehicle for coming into communion with the Holy See. Wikipedia entry

The Augustana Catholic Communion [No current web site]
The Augustana Evangelical Catholic Communion formed at the end of 2004, their bishops having all been ordained into "valid Apostolic Succession," and including Lutheran, Anglican, and (non-Roman) Catholic churches. It has the ultimate goal of being in union with the Bishop of Rome in the same manner as the Eastern Catholic (sometimes called "Uniate") Churches. It was renamed in 2010.

The Evangelical Catholic Church Alternate site here. [Not to be confused with a younger "independent Catholic church" of the same name.]
The eldest of the "evangelical catholic" Lutheran church bodies, its founders included pastors of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod who were exploring Eastern Orthodoxy. Had the Catholic Church accepted the Lutheran reforms of the 16th Century, Holy Mother Church may have become something like this. With the death of its first Bishop in 2009, it became inactive until the consecration of a new Bishop in 2014, at which time it reported parishes in 5 states. Wikipedia entry

Evangelical Marian Catholic Church
This "independent Catholic Church" body is "a mix of Eastern & Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Lutherans" that accepts the Augsburg Confession and Small Catechism. They are in communion with the Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church. Wikipedia entry

Lutheran Church-International
Formed in the 1967 as the International Lutheran Fellowship, a "fellowship" of independent, conservative Lutheran congregations and pastors, it transformed in 2004 into a North American Lutheran denomination whose (at that time) 30 clergy had now been ordained within the historic apostolic tradition. The LCI adopted its new name in 2010-11. It also has a presence in Latin America, Africa, India, and Singapore. Wikipedia entry

The Lutheran Episcopal Communion [Broken link]
Founded in 2008 as the Lutheran Catholic Communion, its "clergy came out of the independent catholic/sacramental movement looking for something that was less papally influenced and fit more within our own understanding Scriptures and the early pristine church." It also has clergy and communities in Cameroon.

The Lutheran Orthodox Church formerly aka "The Catholic Church-Lutheran Rite"
This "Evangelical Catholic" church organized in 2004 when several Bishops of the Lutheran Evangelical Protestant Church were consecrated into Apostolic Succession. Part of the formation of the Augustana Evangelical Catholic Communion (above), it quickly resigned and began to ordain women as priests and bishops. Contrary to most Lutherans it has an emphasis on the "Rapture" and Christ's imminent return. The LOC has since reconciled its communion fellowship with the LEPC and it is also in communion with the AIELC. It also has congregations in India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. Wikipedia entry

 

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
More about the largest and most diverse of the Lutheran church bodies in America.

What We Believe
Learn about the ELCA's beliefs. For Pastor Zip's detailed links on Lutheran teaching, click here.

2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly
The ELCA's latest Churchwide Assembly, which meets every 2 years to make ELCA decisions, was in August 20011 in Orlando, Florida. This was the seventh Assembly fully covered on the World Wide Web and the first one Pastor Zip did not attend as a volunteer or congregational observer since the turn of the century. Clink the next links for the pivotal 2009 CWA in Minneapolis, the 2007 CWA in Chicago, the 2005 CWA in Orlando, the 2003 CWA in Milwaukee, the 2001 CWA in Indianapolis, and the 1999 CWA in Denver. Find here the Minutes to all of the ELCA Churchwide Assemblies beginning in 1989. The next Assembly meets in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during August 2013.

Welcome to the ELCA
Learn more about the ELCA, starting with some Quick Facts. Lutherans came to North America in different waves of immigration from many European lands, so our history in the USA can seem quite complicated to the uninitiated. The Lutheran Roots in America page tells, among many other things, of the many mergers of Lutheran Church bodies that have (thus far) culminated with the ELCA's formation in 1988.

The Lutheran Magazine
The official ELCA magazine, it still has the largest circulation of the official "Protestant" church magazines. Over the years it has done a good job of covering the state of the ELCA. For full access, one must be a subscriber.

Augsburg Fortress Publishers
The publishing ministry of the ELCA. A site to find books, study materials, devotionals, or Christian curricula for personal, small group, or congregational use.

Central/Southern Illinois Synod
The Synod in which Pastor Zip serves, the C/SIS is the 140 ELCA congregations in the lower three-quarters of the State of Illinois, currently shepherded by her fourth Bishop, +S. John Roth. Our Companion Synods are the Tolagnaro/Ambovombe and Ft. Dauphin Synods of the Malagasy Lutheran Church, one of the fastest growing churches in the world. Our Partner Synod in the ELCA is the Upstate New York Synod .

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois
The social service agency for the three ELCA synods in Illinois, LSSI is one of the largest such church-related agencies in the nation.

Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center
LOMC is a camp and adult retreat center. Located in Oregon, Illinois, it serves primarily the ELCA congregations in Illinois and Missouri.

 

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peoria
Organized in 1894, Pastor Zip has served as her thirteenth Pastor since his ordination in September 1992. Zion also has a free ForMinistry.com site.

Peoria area Lutheran Congregations
Our nearby ELCA sister congregations, along with other local Peoria Christian congregations with whom Zion relates.

Find the ELCA congregation nearest you!

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Pr. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
1534 S. Easton Avenue
Peoria, IL 61605-3407
(309) 637-9150
pastorzip@mac.com

Copyright © 1996-2014 Steven P. Tibbetts. All rights reserved.
Pastor Zip's Christian Web Links created — 2 December 1996
This page branched — 4 July 2002
Last revised — 21 October 2014

URL: http://www.pastorzip.org/uslutheranlinx.html