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Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States of North America

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Title: Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States of North America  
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Subject: General Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America, Pennsylvania Ministerium, Evangelical Lutheran Tennessee Synod, First United Lutheran Church
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Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States of North America

The General Synod (officially known as the Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States of North America) was an association of Lutheran church bodies in America established in 1820.

The roots of the "General Synod" reach back to the Pennsylvania Ministerium, at whose suggestion the ""Synod" was founded in 1820. Under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Samuel Simon Schmucker, (1799-1873), later professor and president of the "Gettysburg Seminary", the General Synod founded Gettysburg College (1832), as well as that "Gettysburg Seminary", known officially as the "Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg" (1826), the oldest continuously running Lutheran college and seminary in North America.

Like many Protestant denominations, the "General Synod" was split over the issue of slavery and the political/military conflict of the Civil War, (1861-1865), at which time the "United Synod of The South" (also known as the "General Synod - South" was founded. The General Synod further split over theological issues in 1867, at which time the General Council was formed by dissatisfied members of the General Synod. These three groups were reunited in 1918, with the formation of the United Lutheran Church in America, a predecessor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

In 1912, the General Synod, (prior to its merger into the larger U.L.C.A. in 1917-1918) reported 1,384 pastors, 1,788 churches, 420,398 baptized members, 317,073 confirmed members, and 237,648 communicants.


  • Bente, F. American Lutheranism Volume II St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House. 1919.
  • Wolf, Edmund Jacob. The Lutherans in America; a story of struggle, progress, influence and marvelous growth. New York: J.A. Hill, 1889.
  • Lutheran Witness Vol. 32
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