Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America

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For the national Lutheran church of Finland, see Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (commonly known as the Suomi Synod) was established in 1890.

The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America was defined more by its Finnish ethnic origin than by any specific theological strain. In 1896, the church established Suomi College and Theological Seminary (now called Finlandia University) in Hancock, Michigan. It was one of the Lutheran church bodies that merged into the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) in 1962. At that time, the FELC had 25,000 members in 79 congregations, and was the smallest of LCA's founding church bodies. The Lutheran Church in America was party to the merger that created the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 1988.


  • J. K. Nikander 1890–1898
  • K. L. Tolonen 1898–1902
  • J. K. Nikander 1902–1919
  • John Wargelin 1919-1919
  • Alvar Rautalahti 1919–1922
  • Alfred Haapanen 1922–1950
  • John Wargelin 1950-1955
  • Raymond Waldemar Wargelin 1955–1962


  • Wolf, Edmund Jacob. The Lutherans in America; a story of struggle, progress, influence and marvelous growth (New York: J.A. Hill. 1889)
  • Bente, F. American Lutheranism Volume II (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House. 1919)
  • Nichol, Todd W. All These Lutherans (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishers. 1986)

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