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LCA Collection 011. United Lutheran Church in America. English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of the Northwest. Records of the English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of the Northwest: Overview

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Collection Description

United Lutheran Church in America.  English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of the Northwest.  Records of the English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of the Northwest.  LCA Collection 11.

Historical Note

The English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of the Northwest (Northwest Synod) formed on 23 September 1891 at Memorial Church, St. Paul, Minnesota.  The newly organized body was a synod within the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America.  Up until this time, most congregations within the General Council were located in the eastern United States and had German backgrounds.  A number of early leaders within the fledgling Northwest Synod had been linked with the Swedish Augustana Synod.  The shift for many individuals and congregations from a Swedish to an English tradition was not overly contentious. 

In an effort to foster greater Lutheran unity, the General Council merged with two other Lutheran bodies, the General Synod and the United Synod of the South, to form the United Lutheran Church in 1918.  The Northwest Synod remained relatively unchanged following this merger.  Very few congregations from the other church bodies were within the Northwest Synod’s geographic region.  The physical territory for the synod was expansive, covering the area from Milwaukee to Seattle, but there were relatively few Lutherans living between Minnesota and Washington.

The Northwest Synod was divided into three conferences.  These included the Central Conference, the Western Conference, and the Wisconsin Conference.

Shortly after the formation of the United Lutheran Church, the Northwest Synod established the Northwestern Lutheran Theological Seminary.  The school was founded in Chicago but actions were taken to have the seminary moved to Fargo, North Dakota.  Then, the Seminary was relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The United Lutheran Church in America merged along with the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, the American Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America to form the Lutheran Church in America during 1963.  It was at this point that the Synod of the Northwest was dissolved with congregations merged into a handful of new synods.  The seminary’s end came when the body merged with Luther Theological Seminary to form Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary, known since July 1994 as Luther Seminary.

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