Sunday's a Big Day for Lutheran Church Synod

Article excerpt

Byline: Susan Sarkauskas Daily Herald Staff Writer

Several Lutheran churches in the area will celebrate an anniversary Sunday.

The congregations are among the 6,145 nationwide who belong to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. That synod is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year with the theme "Sent Forth By God's Blessing."

The synod has local roots. Representatives from 14 Lutheran congregations met in April 26, 1847, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church (now known as First St. Paul's) in Chicago to discuss forming a group.

They wanted to preserve, protect and promote their beliefs and doctrine, which had been attacked by the state and the state church in Germany. (Their beliefs were shaped by the preaching and teaching of the Rev. Martin Luther, a leader of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century in Germany.)

They also thought by joining together they could better conduct missions and train pastors and teachers.

Those founding congregations were formed in the 1830s and 1840s by immigrants from Germany, primarily those settling in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Missouri. Some came, like other immigrants, for economic opportunity. One group, which settled near St. Louis, Mo., came to escape religious persecution in Germany. Others came as missionaries to minister to the German immigrants, or to American Indians.

Today, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has 2.6 million members. The synod runs 10 colleges and universities and two theological seminaries; its congregations operate 992 elementary schools, 62 high schools and 2,000 early-childhood centers.

At first, the synod's members taught, preached and published materials in German. As with other immigrant-based churches, however, they gradually came to use the English language. Today, the synod also has Spanish-language congregations, and worship and activities are done in at least 18 other languages in the United States. …