Apostolic Lutheran Church of America
The Apostolic Lutheran Church of America is a Laestadian Lutheran church denomination established by Finnish-Americans immigrants in the 1800s. The Finns came from northern Norway and Finland where they had been members of the state churches. Most or all members had ties from their home countries to the Laestadian revival movement named after Swedish state church administrator and pastor Lars Levi Laestadius of Pajala, Sweden. Eventually, there were too many arguments between this denomination and the other American Laestadians, and some of the followers of Laestadius were excluded from the sacrament of holy communion. Under the lead of Salomon Korteniemi, the excluded members formed a congregation of their own in December 1872, under the name the Salomon Korteniemi Lutheran Society. In 1879 this name was changed to the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Congregation. As other congregations of Finns in Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, and Oregon were organized on the same basis, they came into fellowship with this body under the name the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church, or, as it is usually called, the Apostolic Lutheran Church.
In 2009, membership in the denomination was estimated to include 6,000 baptized members. Its ministers are mostly lay preachers. It has sizable congregations in Michigan, Minnesota, Washington, New Hampshire and in various other countries, such as Canada and Finland. The national organization is governed by an elected board (the Central Board) which meets regularly at various locations across the United States and Canada, and individual member churches are governed by elected boards. The ALCA has no central headquarters facility.
The ALCA narrowly follows the doctrines and practices of Laestadianism. For example, it emphasizes the necessity of regeneration and the practical importance of absolution from sin. It follows the Laestadian-specific doctrine of the audible declaration of forgiveness of sins and encourages avoidance of worldliness and sin.
Liturgically, the church accepts the creeds of the Evangelical Lutheran church.
^1 Encyclopedia of American Religions, J. Gordon Melton, editor. 6th Ed., 1999. pp 93–94.
This Revival Movement has its origin in the sermons of Laestadius. Listen to sermons here: www.laestadiustexter.se
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