The American Lutheran Church (ALC) was a Christian Protestant denomination in the United States that existed from 1960 to 1987. Its headquarters were in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Upon its formation in 1960, the ALC designated Augsburg Publishing House (est. 1891), also located in Minneapolis, as the church publisher. The Lutheran Standard was the official magazine of the ALC.

Theologically, the church was influenced by pietism, and was slightly more conservative than the Lutheran Church in America (LCA), with which it would eventually merge.

The ALC cooperated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in many ventures, but ties would end when talks concerning a merger with the Lutheran Church in America began.

In 1966, Canadian congregations of the ALC formed the autonomous Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada (ELCC), which in 1986 joined with the Lutheran Church in America - Canada Section (LCA-CS) to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).

The ALC began ordaining women as ministers in December 1970, when the Rev. Barbara Andrews became the second woman ordained as a Lutheran minister in the United States. The first Native American woman to become a Lutheran minister in the United States, the Rev. Marlene Whiterabbit Helgemo, was ordained by the ALC in July 1987.


The American Lutheran Church was formed in 1960 out of the following Lutheran church bodies:

American Lutheran Church (1930)

American Lutheran Church, which was formed in 1930 from a merger of the German Iowa Synod (est. 1854), Buffalo Synod (est. 1845) and the Joint Synod of Ohio (est. 1818). Note: After 1960, this body was informally referred to as the "old American Lutheran Church," to distinguish it from the body of the same name into which it had been absorbed.

  • Presidents of ALC
  • C. C. Hein 1930–37
  • E. F. Poppen 1937–50
  • Henry F. Schuh 1951–60

United Evangelical Lutheran Church

United Evangelical Lutheran Church, founded in 1896 and known until 1946 as the United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Evangelical Lutheran Church

Evangelical Lutheran Church, established in 1917 and known from its founding until 1946 as the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America (NLCA). The NLCA had itself been formed from a merger of the Hauge Synod (est. 1876), the Norwegian Synod (est. 1853) and the United Norwegian Lutheran Church of America (est. 1890).

Lutheran Free Church

The Lutheran Free Church, which had broken away from the United Norwegian Lutheran Church in 1897, joined the ALC in 1963. (Forty Lutheran Free Church congregations chose not to participate in the merger, and instead formed the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, today the fourth-largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S. with over 250 congregations.)


Hennepin County jail

The site of the ALC's former headquarters now serves as the Hennepin County Jail

On 1 January 1988, the American Lutheran Church ceased to exist when it, along with the Lutheran Church in America and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, joined together to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. At the time of the merger, the ALC was the third-largest Lutheran church body in the United States, behind the Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. The ALC brought approximately 2.25 million members into the ELCA. Twelve ALC congregations that did not want to participate in the merger formed the American Association of Lutheran Churches, which has since grown to 87 congregations.

Presidents/Bishops of The ALC


Todd W. Nichol All These Lutherans (Minneapolis: Augburg Publishing House, 1986)

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at American Lutheran Church. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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