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The Eielsen Synod (originally named the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) was a Lutheran church body. It was founded in 1846 at Jefferson Prairie Settlement, Wisconsin by a group of Haugean Lutherans led by Elling Eielsen.
There were church splits in 1848, 1856 and a large split in 1876. In 1876 the synod founded by Eielsen numbered 24 pastors, 59 congregations, and 7,500 members. That year a split occurred and many of the clergymen and congregations left the Eielsen Synod and organized the Hauge Synod. Elling Eielsen and his supporters continued the synod under the 1846 church constitution in Jackson, Minnesota.
The Eielsen Synod emphasized the importance of repentance, conversion and lay preaching. It opposed ritualism, formal worship, clerical vestments, and clerical authority.The Eielsen Synod had 1,500 members in ten churches by 1953. In 1971, it had 75 members scattered among churches in French Lake and Jackson, Minnesota, Centerville, South Dakota, Taylor and Lodi, Wisconsin.
In 1985, there were approximately 50 members at just three churches: Stall Norwegian Church in Jackson, Minnesota Bethania Lutheran (Lodi / Eau Claire WI) and Immanuel in French Lake, Minnesota. The synod is still actively seeking ordained men following the Original Lutheran Constitution to assist w/ spreading the Gospel of Jesus. As of 2007, Immanuel Lutheran Church is one of two churches still active that are affiliated with the Eielsen Synod. Immanuel is now an independent Lutheran church. Please note the Eielson Synod is still in existence with a minister ordained on May 10, 2008 by the presiding president of Bethania ELCA-Eielson Church. Martin Leroy Bystol was the active President of such ministry of the Eielsen Synod until his death. Rev Orvin L. Bystol is an ordained minister and resides in Eau Claire, where the church is located also. (Bethania Evangelical Lutheran Church of America- Eielsen Synod Eau Claire WI)
- Preus Jr., J. A. O. Protesting Norwegians (America's Lutherans. Ed. Omar Bonderud and Charles Lutz Columbus OH: Wartburg Press 1958)