Author Topic: Lutheran ethnic origins  (Read 1081 times)

Jeremy_Loesch

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Lutheran ethnic origins
« on: November 26, 2020, 11:11:50 AM »
Hello friends. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

A church member has asked about the ethnic origins of Lutherans in America. I believe I have a cursory understanding of it. But I have some blank spaces to fill in. Thought I would ask you. And this is all "generally" or "mostly".

LCA - Swedish
ALC - Norwegian
ELS - "Little Norwegians"
LCMS - German
Suomi- Finnish

What about the ULCA? Augustana? Buffalo Synod? Others

Just a curiosity. Thanks for any answers or corrections.

Jeremy

Charles Austin

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Re: Lutheran ethnic origins
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2020, 11:16:12 AM »
The LCA included Augustana (Swedish origen), Danes, Finns (Suomi Synod) and ULCA (German and others). Check the book by E. Clifford Nelson for details.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Interesting things on the new administration and religion in the 1/24 newspapers. Douthat column, e.g. Posted link here, but it was deleted.

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Lutheran ethnic origins
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2020, 11:22:22 AM »
The LCA included Augustana (Swedish origen), Danes, Finns (Suomi Synod) and ULCA (German and others). Check the book by E. Clifford Nelson for details.

The ULCA's oldest antecedant was the Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Surrounding States established in the 18th century by Halle missionary Henry Mechior Muhlenberg.   

There are other ethnicities among the branch roots but the taproot is German to the core!
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Richard Johnson

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Re: Lutheran ethnic origins
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2020, 11:57:00 AM »


LCA - Old German (Muhlenberg strain), Swedish, Danes (Happy Danes), Finns
ALC - German (old ALC, which was formerly Ohio, Buffalo, Iowa synods), Norwegian, Danes (Sober Danes)
ELS - "Little Norwegians"
LCMS - German
Suomi- Finnish (part of LCA)

If I am recalling correctly, in both the LCA and the ALC, the German component was actually larger than the Swedish and Norwegian components respectively.

The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Lutheran ethnic origins
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2020, 12:08:18 PM »
If I am recalling correctly, in both the LCA and the ALC, the German component was actually larger than the Swedish and Norwegian components respectively.

The German component of the LCA endured into the late 19th/early 20th centuries and the "language wars" were an unfortunate part of that history.

There are numerous congregations named "First English" as part of that legacy.  Chambersburg PA and Columbia PA (now defunct) are the first ones which come to mind.
Greek Orthodox-Ecumenical Patriarchate

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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Lutheran ethnic origins
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2020, 12:14:51 PM »
The attached chart of mergers (and non-mergers) mostly indicates national origins of the different Lutheran bodies.


Most of those that do not have a European country in their name were German based. Many were named by geography: Missouri Synod, Iowa Synod, Ohio Synod, etc. Germany did not have a state church like Scandinavian Countries, but each prince decided whether his territory would be Roman Catholic or Lutheran, and later, Reformed entered the mix.


One exception is Augustana, which was Swedish.


Two additions: LCMC split from ELCA in 2001. NALC split from ELCA in 2010.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Lutheran ethnic origins
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2020, 12:21:14 PM »
Professor Edmund Smits at Luther Seminary belonged to a Latvian congregation in Minneapolis.

There is a Slovak Synod in the ELCA, if I am not mistaken.

Peace,
Michael
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Re: Lutheran ethnic origins
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2020, 12:26:43 PM »
If I am recalling correctly, in both the LCA and the ALC, the German component was actually larger than the Swedish and Norwegian components respectively.

The German component of the LCA endured into the late 19th/early 20th centuries and the "language wars" were an unfortunate part of that history.

There are numerous congregations named "First English" as part of that legacy.  Chambersburg PA and Columbia PA (now defunct) are the first ones which come to mind.


There were a number of communities where congregations split over the language issue. Someone counted: there are 19 steps between two large Lutheran congregations in Fremont, OH. (When my intern supervisor was called there in 1976 both had over 2000 members.) Windsor, CO had a split. In 1976, one still had German services. (I preached there, in English, as a student at Wartburg's Denver House of Studies, while the pastor, a friend, was on vacation.) A couple years earlier when they were searching for a new pastor, there was only one senior in the three ALC seminaries who had majored in German, who had the language skills to serve that congregation in German. That congregation has since closed up.


Going the other direction, the congregation I last served, explored starting a Spanish-language service. 65% of our community is Hispanic. At the time, we were renting space to two Spanish-language congregations. None of the seven Lutheran congregations (from four different church bodies) offers Spanish. We tend to serve the snow-bird population that fills our congregations each winter. (The other ELCA congregations, out where there are many, many RV and trailer parks, goes from about 60-70 worshipers in one service during the summer to over 1000 at five services in the winter. Our numbers nearly tripled during the Winter without as many temporary residential areas.)
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

jebutler

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Re: Lutheran ethnic origins
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2020, 12:30:00 PM »
Professor Edmund Smits at Luther Seminary belonged to a Latvian congregation in Minneapolis.

There is a Slovak Synod in the ELCA, if I am not mistaken.

Peace,
Michael

There is the Slovak district in the LCMS and a Finnish group merged into the LCMS in the 1950s as well.
These are things that we can discuss among learned and reasonable people, or even among ourselves. (Luther, SA III, paraphrased).

John_Hannah

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Re: Lutheran ethnic origins
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2020, 12:33:14 PM »
Professor Edmund Smits at Luther Seminary belonged to a Latvian congregation in Minneapolis.

There is a Slovak Synod in the ELCA, if I am not mistaken.

Peace,
Michael

There is. And there is a Slovak District in the LCMS as well. A bit of humor there. The District is officially the SELC. Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Church! I suppose it was "just in case the union did not work out."   ;D

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Lutheran ethnic origins
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2020, 12:34:18 PM »
Professor Edmund Smits at Luther Seminary belonged to a Latvian congregation in Minneapolis.

There is a Slovak Synod in the ELCA, if I am not mistaken.

Peace,
Michael


You are not mistaken. It is our one non-geographical synod.


https://slovakzionsynod.org/


The LCMS has two non-geographical districts: The English District and what had been the Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELC) but now seems to be the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (SELC).


http://selc.lcms.org/
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

RDPreus

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Re: Lutheran ethnic origins
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2020, 12:38:22 PM »
The ELS used to be known as the little Norwegian Synod.  It is the ~synod~ that is little; not the Norwegians.  :D

Birkholz

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Re: Lutheran ethnic origins
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2020, 01:15:43 PM »
Professor Edmund Smits at Luther Seminary belonged to a Latvian congregation in Minneapolis.

There is a Slovak Synod in the ELCA, if I am not mistaken.

Peace,
Michael

There is. And there is a Slovak District in the LCMS as well. A bit of humor there. The District is officially the SELC. Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Church! I suppose it was "just in case the union did not work out."   ;D

Peace, JOHN

Actually, the SELC changed its name in 1959 to the "Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches."  The acronym remained the same.
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John_Hannah

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Re: Lutheran ethnic origins
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2020, 01:17:00 PM »
Professor Edmund Smits at Luther Seminary belonged to a Latvian congregation in Minneapolis.

There is a Slovak Synod in the ELCA, if I am not mistaken.

Peace,
Michael

There is. And there is a Slovak District in the LCMS as well. A bit of humor there. The District is officially the SELC. Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Church! I suppose it was "just in case the union did not work out."   ;D

Peace, JOHN

Actually, the SELC changed its name in 1959 to the "Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches."  The acronym remained the same.

Got it. Thanks.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

J.L. Precup

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Re: Lutheran ethnic origins
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2020, 01:39:12 PM »
Professor Edmund Smits at Luther Seminary belonged to a Latvian congregation in Minneapolis.

There is a Slovak Synod in the ELCA, if I am not mistaken.

Peace,
Michael

There is the Slovak district in the LCMS and a Finnish group merged into the LCMS in the 1950s as well.

The NELC (Finnish) merged with the LCMS in 1964.  Since their pastors were being trained at Springfield Seminary, it was JAO Preus who welcomed them.
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