Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches
|Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches|
|Region||Northeastern and Midwestern United States|
|Merged into||Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (1971)|
|Other name(s)||Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession in the United States of America (1902–1913)
Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Synod of the United States of America (1913–1945)
Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Church (1945–1959)
The Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (SELC) was an American Lutheran denomination that existed from 1902 to 1971. In 1971 it merged with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS), and it now operates as the non-geographic SELC District of that body.
The denomination was founded by Slovak Lutheran immigrants in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, on September 2, 1902, as the Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession in the United States of America (Slovenská evanjelická celocirkev augsburgského vyznania v Spojenych štátoch amerických). At its origin, the denomination had ten clergymen and 15 congregations. Most congregations were composed of recent immigrants, and liturgies were usually conducted in the Slovak language.
The name was changed in 1913 to Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Synod of the United States of America. In 1945, the name was shortened to Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Church. By 1959, the use of Slovak as a primary liturgical language had died out and the denomination was renamed the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, thereby retaining SELC as its acronym.
The SELC joined the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America in 1910, and was one of the two remaining members of that federation (the LCMS being the other) when it was dissolved in 1967. The SELC was a founding member of the Lutheran Council in the United States of America, which began on January 1, 1967.
In 1971, during its convention held at Zion Lutheran Church in Clark, New Jersey, the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches officially merged with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, with whom it had always been a partner. The SELC became the SELC District, one of two non-geographic districts of the LCMS. The district retained the initials "SELC" in its name to mark its origins and heritage.
Today, as part of the LCMS, the SELC District oversees 55 congregations in 11 US states and 2 Canadian provinces and has nearly 18,000 baptized members and over 13,000 communicants. The district's congregations are concentrated in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States.
Presidents of SELC
The SELC had 10 presidents during its existence as an independent synod.
- Daniel Jonaten Záboj Laucek 1902–05
- John Pelikán 1905–13
- Stephen Tuhy 1913–19
- J. Pelikán 1919–21
- John Somora 1921–22
- John Samuel Bradác 1922–39
- Andrew Daniel 1939–49
- Paul Rafaj 1949–63
- John Kovac 1963–69
- Milan A. Ontko 1969–71
- Lueker, Erwin L.; Poellot, Luther; Jackson, Paul, eds. (2000). Christian Cyclopedia (Online ed.). St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House. Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
- Lueker, Erwin L.; Poellot, Luther; Jackson, Paul, eds. (2000). Christian Cyclopedia (Online ed.). St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House. Synodical Conference. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
- "Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches". American Denomination Profles. Association of Religion Data Archives. Retrieved July 19, 2013.