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The Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is one of five synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Consisting of almost 200 congregations, the Eastern Synod territory runs from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Synod office is located in Kitchener, Ontario. The Eastern Synod was officially founded in 1986, though its history extends back into the nineteenth century.
By 1853, Lutheran congregations in Ontario were organized into the Canadian Conference within the Pittsburgh Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, which had been formed in 1845. In July 1861, the Canadian Conference was reorganized into the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Canada (also known as the Canada Synod). At the 199th annual convention of the Pennsylvania Ministerium, held in Reading, Pennsylvania in December 1866, the Canada Synod, along with twelve other church bodies, decided to separate from the Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States of North America (General Synod, founded in 1820) to form a more conservative and confessional body known as the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America (General Council). In 1903, the Nova Scotia Conference, which had been organized by the Pittsburgh Synod (General Council) in 1876, became the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Nova Scotia (Nova Scotia Synod). In Guelph, Ontario in November 1908, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Central Canada (Central Canada Synod) was formed to organize the English-speaking Lutheran congregations in Ontario and Quebec. In 1918, the General Synod, the General Synod–South, and the General Council, of which the Canada Synod, the Central Canada Synod, and the Nova Scotia Synod were a part, united to form part of the United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA). The Canada Synod and the Central Canada Synod merged in June 1925 to become the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Canada (called the Canada Synod).
In 1962, the ULCA, which included the Canada Synod, joined with other American Lutheran church groups to form the Lutheran Church in America (LCA). As the LCA was being formed, the Canada Synod was being reorganized into three distinct synods - Central Canada, Eastern Canada, and Western Canada - but was known collectively as the Canada Section of the Lutheran Church in America (LCA-CS).
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada (ELCC), which existed from 1960 until 1985, served as the corporate name for the congregations within the American Lutheran Church – Canada District (ALC-CD, 1960-1987). The ALC was established in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1960 with the merger of the American Lutheran Church (1930-1960), the Evangelical Lutheran Church (1947-1960) (formerly the Norwegian Lutheran Church in America (1917-1947)), and the United Evangelical Lutheran Church (1946-1960) (formerly the United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (1896-1946). The ALC-CD was based out of Regina, Saskatchewan, but also had congregations in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario. The ELCC formally began functioning as an autonomous church body in 1967.
In 1985, the LCA-CS withdrew from the LCA and, together with the ELCC, formed the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC). Now under the leadership of the ELCIC, the Central Canada Synod, Eastern Canada Synod, and Western Canada Synod were reorganized into six synods: Alberta-North Synod (1986-1988), British Columbia Synod (1986-), Eastern Synod (1986-), Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Synod (1986-), Saskatchewan Synod (1986-), and the Synod of Alberta and the Territories (1986-). Waterloo Lutheran Seminary in Waterloo, Ontario and the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan are post-secondary teaching institutions of the ELCIC.