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Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is a mainline Protestant Lutheran Church headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA officially came into existence on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three Lutheran church bodies. As of 2016, it has approximately 3.5 million baptized members in 9,252 congregations. In 2015, Pew Research estimated that 2.1% of the U.S. population self-identifies with the ELCA and mainline Lutheranism. It is the seventh-largest religious body and the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States. The next two largest Lutheran denominations are the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). There are also many smaller Lutheran church bodies in the United States, some of which came into being composed of dissidents following the major 1988 merger. The ELCA belongs to the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation. The ELCA is in full communion with the Episcopal Church, Moravian Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church.
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  • History 

  • Organization 

  • Beliefs 

  • Ministry 

  • Worship 

  • Ecumenical relations 

  • Demographics