ABOUT THE ELCA
On the Day of Pentecost, people heard the good news in their own language. (Acts 2:1-21)
Regardless of age, race, or status in life, members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America welcome you to join this community of faith. If you're unfamiliar with our church, some of what you learn may surprise you.
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 10,300 congregations across, the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and 4.5 million members.
The ELCA is a community of faith that shares a passion for making positive changes in the world. Our faith is built around a strong belief in God as made known to us in Jesus Christ. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. Through worship, service, and education, we practice our faith, grow our relationship with God and experience God's grace in our lives.
We also work hard to put our faith into action. In today’s complex world, we strive to make a difference in practical, realistic ways. The ELCA is an engaged, active body of people who put faith in God into action -- in millions of ways, all over the world. Join us!
HISTORY OF THE ELCA
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was formed over 20 years ago. This new church was formed from three separate and well-established North American church bodies:
The American Lutheran Church
The Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and
The Lutheran Church in America.
Beginning January 1, 1988, these churches, with shared beliefs and missions, officially formed the ELCA. Two decades later, this energized church is composed of 4.8 million members and nearly 10,500 congregations across the U.S. and Caribbean. Today, the ELCA reflects the rich and diverse heritage of the people it serves.
But to understand our heritage fully, one must trace our roots back through the mid-17th century, when early Lutherans came to America from Europe, settling in the Virgin Islands and the area that is now known as New York. Even before that, Martin Luther sought reform for the church in the 16th century, laying the framework for our beliefs.