Lutheran Church in America

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The Lutheran Church in America (LCA) was a U.S. and Canadian Lutheran church body that existed from 1962 to 1987. It was headquartered in New York City and its publishing house was Fortress Press.

The LCA's immigrant heritage came mostly from Germany, Sweden, Slovakia, Denmark and Finland, and its demographic focus was on the East Coast (centered on Pennsylvania), with large numbers in the Midwest and some presence in the Southern Atlantic states.

Theologically, the LCA was often considered the most liberal and ecumenical branch in American Lutheranism, although there were tendencies toward conservative pietism in some rural and small-town congregations. In church governance, the LCA was clerical and centralized, in contrast to the congregationalist or "low church" strain in American Protestant Christianity. With some notable exceptions, LCA churches tended to be more formalistically liturgical than their counterparts in the American Lutheran Church. Among the Lutheran churches in America, the LCA was thus the one that was most similar to the established Lutheran churches in Europe.

The LCA ordained the country's first female Lutheran pastor, the Rev. Elizabeth Platz, in November 1970. In 1970, a survey of 4,745 Lutheran adults by Strommen et al., found that 75% of LCA Lutherans surveyed agreed that women should be ordained, compared with 66% of ALC Lutherans and 45% of LCMS Lutherans.[1]


It subsequently ordained the nation's first female African American Lutheran pastor (1979), first Latina Lutheran pastor (1979), and first female Asian American Lutheran pastor (1982).

The LCA was a founding member of the Lutheran Council in the United States of America, which began on January 1, 1967.

Formation[edit]

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, many of the independent U.S. Lutheran church bodies moved progressively toward greater unity. In 1960, for example, a number of such bodies joined to form the American Lutheran Church.

The Lutheran Church in America was another product of these trends, forming in 1962 out of a merger among the following independent Lutheran denominations:

The merger was largely engineered through the efforts of Franklin Clark Fry, who had served as president of the United Lutheran Church in America since 1944 and president of the Lutheran World Federation since 1957. Fry was known by contemporaries as "Mr. Protestant," a moniker that captured his tireless work on behalf of greater ecumenical unity among Protestant church bodies.

The merger was made official and celebrated at a convention in Detroit, Michigan on June 28, 1962.[2] Upon its inception, the LCA became the largest Lutheran church body in the United States.

Merger into the ELCIC and ELCA[edit]

On January 1, 1986, Lutheran Church in America-Canada Section merged with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. On January 1, 1988, the Lutheran Church in America ceased to exist when its US section, along with the American Lutheran Church and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, joined together to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), today the largest Lutheran church body in the United States. At the time of the merger, the LCA remained the largest Lutheran church body in the United States, and it brought approximately 2.85 million members into the ELCA.

Presidents/Bishops[edit]

Title changed to Bishop in 1980.

Colleges and Seminaries of the LCA[edit]

Colleges[edit]

Seminaries[edit]

LCA Conventions[edit]

  • 1962 LCA Constituting Convention, Detroit, Michigan
  • 1964 LCA Convention, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 1966 LCA Convention, Kansas City, Missouri
  • 1968 LCA Convention, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 1970 LCA Convention, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • 1972 LCA Convention, Dallas, Texas
  • 1974 LCA Convention, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 1976 LCA Convention, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1978 LCA Convention, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1980 LCA Convention, Seattle, Washington
  • 1982 LCA Convention, Louisville, Kentucky
  • 1984 LCA Convention, Toronto, Ontario
  • 1986 LCA Convention, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1987 LCA Closing Convention, Columbus, Ohio

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ See Merton P. Strommen et al., A Study of Generations (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing, 1972), p. 272.
  2. ^ Gilbert, W. Kent. Commitment to Unity: A History of the Lutheran Church in America. p. 111. 

Sources[edit]

  • Gilbert, W. Kent (1988). Commitment to Unity: A History of the Lutheran Church in America. Philadelphia: Fortress Press. ISBN 0-8006-0891-7. 
  • Nichol, Todd W. (1986). All these Lutherans: Three paths toward a new Lutheran Church. Minneapolis: Augsburg. ISBN 978-0-8066-2208-8. 

External links[edit]