Monday, November 22, 2010

Lutheran Merger Chart

Thanks to Mr. Perry Lund for providing this chart of the primary mergers of the Lutheran synods in the United States, some of which were mentioned in President Schroeder's November message. Mr. Lund's work is based on a chart found in WELS and Other Lutherans (published by Northwestern Publishing House), but also includes the fruit of his own study.

(click on the image to enlarge)


Joe Krohn said...

Curious why the Protes'tant Conference doesn't show up...

Joe K.

Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

I have one like that including other Lutheran church bodies. I couldn't figure out how to put it in this post, so here it is on a hosting site (png format):

David Jay Webber said...

The General Synod didn't divide into General Council and Synod of the South. Those respective groups did break off of the General Synod, but the General Synod itself continued to exist, and was also a part of the United Lutheran Church in America merger in 1918. And there were quite a few more regional synods besides the Pennsylvania Ministerium, the New York Ministerium, and the Maryland-Virginia Synod (not "Ministerium") that comprised the General Synod. The (Swedish) Augustana Synod also was a part of the General Council until 1918. It's difficult to portray all this in a chart, since these were essentiually loose federations of autonomous synods, and not structured church bodies. Also, the Illinois Synod, the English Synod of Missouri, and the (Finnish) National Evangelical Lutheran Church united with the Missouri Synod at different times in Missouri's history. It wasn't just the Slovak Synod that did this. What's a bit more surprising in this chart is the lack of showing the three previously independent synods that united to comprise what is now the WELS: the original Wisconsin Synod of 1850, the Michigan Synod, and the Minnesota Synod.

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

Yes, I think that there are a few things that could be corrected and/or added. The Tennesee Synod is listed under Ohio Synod, but I am fairly certain that they remained independant and eventually joined the Missouri Synod as a "non-geographical district" -- the English District. Also missing is the Nebraska Synod, which separated from the Wisconsin Synod and rejoined later.

As long as we're mentioning the Prots'tant Conference, there are a few smaller American Lutheran church bodies which exist today that are missing as well. The AALC, which left the "ELCA" prior to amalgamation, and currently is in fellowship with the LCMS, is missing, and the church body that separated from them, the LMS-USA, is also missing. The ELCM, a "centrist" Lutheran body that separated from the ELCA, is missing. There is the LCR, which separated from LCMS in the 1960's over Church and Ministry, which is missing. I know that there is at least one confessing "Hauge Synod" congregation left, a rural church in the Mondovi, WI area. Speaking of pietists, there are also the Latvian Lutherans in America, which are not listed in the diagram. And don't forget ELDoNA... There are quite a number of "independant" Lutherans and micro-synods who either separated from or have remained separate from other Lutherans for doctrinal reasons. It can be hard to keep track of them all. But I'm sure that was not the purpose for creating the chart above... It does demonstrate the complex pedigree of Lutheranism in America.

Many thanks to Mr. Lund for sharing his chart, and encouragement to continue to modify it as he encounters new facts.

David Jay Webber said...

Actually, Doug, you don't have this exactly right either. The Tennessee Synod did not eventually unite with the Missouri Synod. It became a part of the United Synod in the South, which then became a part of the ULCA in 1918. It was the English Synod of Missouri - which originally had some pastors who came out of the Tennessee Synod - that became a non-geographical district of Missouri in 1911.

The absolute best resource for anyone who is trying to unravel all this would be Historical Guide to Lutheran Church Bodies of North America, published in 1998 by the Lutheran Historical Conference. I would suggest that Mr. Lund try to get a copy of this, and then see if he can figure out a way to summarize all of it on a chart! And I'd wish him good luck!!

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

Yeah... I think I let on that I wasn't 100% certain of that. Thanks for the correction!

Unknown said...

Thank you for the encouragement to continue to modify and correctly depict Lutheranism via the chart. As Pastor Webber said, the task is made difficult by the loose associations across multiple organizations.

I have a PDF of "A Brief History of the Lutheran Church in America" by Neve and will also follow up on the "Historical Guide". As a project, I find myself diving into it for a week, than waiting a year and getting reengaged in the research. Its a starting point.

Blessings to all of you.

Pr. Benjamin Tomczak said...

I don't know if you've already seen it or consulted it, but somewhere in the library at the Seminary in Mequon there is a bulletin board sized chart similar to the one you prepared. It was done by hand as a project by someone (I don't know who or when).

It'll be a little out of date, since it was there already in the lower level of the library in one of the conference rooms in 2002-2006 when I was there, but it might be a resource to consult.

Grace and peace,
Benjamin Tomczak

Joe Krohn said...

Naval gazing...let's get to something more relevant...

Joe Krohn

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...


Sorry to hear you're naval gazing. Happy Thanksgiving anyway!

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