Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches

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Denominational Profile


Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS)

split into  Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (1976)

merged intoEvangelical Lutheran Church in America (1988)

The Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, the newest and the smallest body to enter into the 1988 merger to form the ELCA, was formed in 1976 by ministers and churches that withdrew from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Membership Data

Year Clergy Churches Members
1977 377 210 95,186
1978 545 250 106,684
1979 532 283 113,942
1980 680 268 107,782
1981 676 270 109,434
1982 665 272 110,934
1986 672 250 103,263

Data were taken from the National Council of Churches' Historic Archive CD and recent editions of the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. The National Council of Churches' data collection was discontinued after the 2012 Yearbook was published, and has been resumed by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB). The tables and graphs will be updated when the new collection is available. See the Yearbook of Churches. Denomination descriptions provided by Dr. J. Gordon Melton, Director, Institute for the Study of American Religion (ISAR). [More information on data sources]

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