Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada

Parallel form(s) of name

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Other form(s) of name

  • Canada District of the American Lutheran Church

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Description area

Dates of existence

1960- 1985

History

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada began its official operations on January 1, 1967. Acting as the first autonomous Canadian Lutheran Church body, the ELCC consisted of 308 congregations, 342 pastors and 83, 447 baptized members by 1985. Encompassing 8 provinces and 1 territory, the ELCC had congregations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and the North West Territories. With its German, Norwegian and Danish roots, the ELCC resulted from a 1960 merger of the American Lutheran Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the United Evangelical Lutheran Church, which created the Canada District of the ALC. In 1963, the Lutheran Free Church joined the American Lutheran Church. By 1966, the Canada District was incorporated by the Government of Canada, and began its official operations, on January 1 of the following year. In 1885 the ELCC merged with Canada District of the Lutheran Church in America, to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

The year of 1960 marked the founding of the American Lutheran Church, which merged the United Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the American Lutheran Churches. As a result of this merger, the Canada District of the American Lutheran Church was established, which would later be known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada.

Merger discussions first began in 1948, on the basis of creating greater cooperation, or a united Church of the American Lutheran Church bodies. During the 1948 church conventions, the United Evangelical Lutheran Church submitted a resolution to establish a commission, inviting the ALC, the ELC, the Augustana Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Free Church to enter into merger negotiations.

In 1950, the ELC, UELC and the ALC voted to begin merger negotiations, which created the Joint Union Committee. Consisting of 9 nominated members, the Committee was tasked with preparing a blueprint for the proposed new church, which included articles of incorporation, Constitution, by-laws and Articles of Union. The Joint Union Committee appointed a sub-committee for Canadian affairs, known as the Canadian Committee on Polity and Organization, to prepare recommendations on that would address the unique matters of the Canadian segments of the Churches. It’s first meeting was held on November 10, 1953, and included members from the ALC, ELC, LFC, UELC - Karl Holfeld, Rex Schneider, Mars Dale, George Eveson, T.F. Dahle, Palmer Ringdale, Archie Morke and E.A. Pederson.

The Canadian Committee on Polity and Organization proposed a number of recommendations, which were approved by the Joint Union Committee. One of the proposals stipulated that the Canada District of the ALC would extend from Lakehead, Ontario to the Pacific Coast. The second proposal was that the proposed Canada District would operate under a charter granted by the Government of Canada, which would make the Canada District a fiscal and legal entity. In 1957, the Canadian Committee established the name the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada under which the Canada District of the ALC would be incorporated under.

On April 22-24 1960, the American Lutheran Church held its Constituting Convention in Minneapolis and began its official operations on January 1, 1961. With the creation of the American Lutheran Church, the Canada District was granted a special Constitution that would allow it to elect its own boards, have its own Board of Trustees, to nominate its own President and seminary faculty members, and to have its own committee on relations with other Lutheran Churches in Canada. The Canada District of the ALC held its Constituting Convention July 6-7 1960, and elected Karl Holfeld as its first President. In 1963, the Lutheran Free Church merged with the ALC and 5 pastors and 11 congregations became a part of the Canada District.

The Canada District of the ALC operated from 1960 to 1966, when the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada began to formally operate as an autonomous Church body on January 1, 1967. The ELCC operated out of 8 provinces and 1 territory, including New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and the North West Territories. The Church consisted of 12 conferences including the Northwest B.C., Pacific, Interior B.C., Central Alberta, Southern Alberta, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Regina, Yorkton, Manitoba and Eastern.

In 1961, the Canada District of the ALC had 326 congregations, 184 pastors and 64,521 baptized members. By 1985 the ELCC consisted of 308 congregations, 342 pastors and 83, 447 baptized members. In 1985, the ELCC merged with the Canada District of the Lutheran Church in America, to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

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