Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church
The Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church (previously the Augustana Lutheran Synod and also Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod in North America and Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod in North America) was a Lutheran church body in the United States that was one of the churches that merged into the Lutheran Church in America in 1962. It had its roots among the Swedish immigrants in the 19th century.
The Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod in North America was established in 1860. The organizing meeting was held at the Jefferson Prairie Settlement, near Clinton, Wisconsin from June 5–8. A group of Swedish Lutheran pastors including Jonas Swensson, Lars Paul Esbjörn, Tuve Hasselquist, Eric Norelius and Erland Carlsson pioneered development of the Augustana Synod.
"Augustana" is the Latin translation of the name of the city of Augsburg in Germany, birthplace of one of Lutheranism's defining documents, the Augsburg Confession of Faith. Along with the Swedish members of the church were Norwegian and Danish members who left the church in 1870 to form two new church bodies the Conference of the Norwegian-Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Norwegian Augustana Synod. Also in 1870 the synod was renamed the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod in North America. In 1894 the name was change to Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod in North America. In 1948, the name Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church was adopted.
Originally somewhat conservative, the church turned gradually more liberal after historical criticism had been introduced at its seminary. The Augustana Theological Seminary was located on the campus of Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. It was later merged into the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago at the time of the formation of the Lutheran Church in America.
The Augustana Church was the direct parent to several liberal arts colleges in the United States: Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois; Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota; Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas; California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California; Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Nebraska; and the defunct Upsala College in East Orange, New Jersey. Augustana and Gustavus Adolphus consistently rank among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the U.S., and the other institutions are recognized as strong regional colleges.
While the Augustana Church only had about 500,000 members when the Lutheran Church in America was formed, its influence on its successor bodies has been significant, incorporating many of Augustana's emphases on mission, ecumenism, and social service. Herbert W. Chilstrom, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's first presiding bishop, is a graduate of the Augustana Theological Seminary and was ordained to Augustana's ministry in 1958. Included among the Augustana-founded congregations is Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the largest Lutheran congregation in the world with over 13,000 members.
- Tuve Hasselquist 1860–1870
- Jonas Swensson 1870–1873
- Eric Norelius 1874–1881
- Erland Carlsson 1881–1888
- S. P. A. Lindahl 1888–1891
- P. J. Svärd 1891–1899
- Eric Norelius 1899–1911
- L. A. Johnston 1911–1918
- G. A. Brandelle 1918–1935
- P. O. Bersell 1935–1951
- Oscar A. Benson 1951–1959
- Malvin H. Lundeen 1959–1962
- Arden, G. Everett. Half a Million Swedes (America's Lutherans. Omar Bonderud and Charles Lutz, editors. Columbus OH: Wartburg Press. 1958. pages 28–30).
- Blanck, Dag, “Two Churches, One Community: The Augustana Synod and the Covenant Church, 1860–1920,” Swedish-American Historical Quarterly 63 (April–July 2012), 158–73.
- Follstad, Virginia. The Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church in Print. Plymouth, United Kingdom: Scarecrow Press, 2007.
- Granquist, Mark, “Parallel Paths: The Augustana Synod and the Covenant Church, 1920–1945,” Swedish-American Historical Quarterly, 63 (April–July 2012), 174–86.