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American Lutheran Conference, The.

1. Recognition of unity and a sense of fellowship transcending nationalistic lines were expressed in forming this 1930 fed. of the ALC, Augustana Syn., ELC, LFC, and UELC. Its strength lay in upper Miss. valley among 2d- and 3d-generation descendants of Norw., Ger., Swed., and Dan. immigrants. In 1960 The American* Luth. Ch. grew out of this fed.

2. Doctrinal basis of the Am. Luth. Conf.: the 1925 Minneapolis* Theses, drawn up by syn. representatives at a colloquium in Minneapolis submitted for adoption to the bodies designated above. Inc. are 8 points of doctrine quoted from the 1919 Chicago* Theses, adopted by some of the bodies 1920. On this basis these bodies voted to est. pulpit and altar fellowship with one another, individually adopted the proposed const. of the Am. Luth. Conf., and through their delegates organized as The Am. Luth. Conf. October 29–31, 1930, at Minneapolis, Minnesota Documents are in January 1941 issue of Journal of Theology of the Am. Luth. Conf.

3. The spirit and purpose of the organizers is expressed in this quotation from the preamble of the const.: “In the providence of God, the time appears to have come when Lutheran church bodies in America that are one in faith and that have declared pulpit and altar fellowship with one another should manifest their oneness by seeking to foster fraternal relations and by cooperating in the extension of the kingdom of Christ. These church bodies believe that it is conducive to the attainment of these objectives to enter into an organization.” Objectives stated in the const. are: “1. Mutual counsel concerning the faith, life, and work of the Church. 2. Cooperation in matters of common interest and responsibility.…” Power was limited, each constituent body retaining autonomy; only such functions as were specifically assigned to the conf. by its constituent bodies could be exercised by it. Convs. were held every 2 yrs., with representation based on communicant mems. and consisting of an equal no. of pastors and laymen. Most work bet. convs. was done by commissions under direction of the Ex Committee.

4. Perhaps the most tangible project sponsored by the conf. was Student Service. Careful coordination of efforts by constituent bodies led to growing unification of the work and consultation with the Bd. of Educ. of the ULC(A). In 1944 the conf. authorized unification of this enterprise and transfer of its direction to the NLC. See also Students, Spiritual Care of, B 4.

5. A Commission on Luth. Unity studied intersyn. relations and sought both to strengthen internal ties and to facilitate closer relationships with other Luth. bodies. An effort in this direction was the Overture* for Lutheran Unity, pub. in January 1944.

6. The conf. sponsored biennial, all-Luth, seminars which brought together pastors of Luth. bodies gen. in selected key cities.

7. Current soc. problems were studied and pertinent statements formulated by the Commission on Soc. Relations.

8. The Commission on Christian Higher Educ., Elementary or Parish Educ., and Youth Work enabled constituent bodies to share research and promotion and to coordinate activities.

9. The Commission on Common Liturgy made efforts to achieve uniformity of forms of pub. worship and a common hymnal.

10. The last official pub. of the conf. was The Lutheran Outlook.

11. Total bap. membership of the Am. Luth. Conf.: 2,465,839 (1954). Pres.: Otto Mees, 1930–34; T. F. Gullixson,* 1934–38; Ernest E. Ryden, 1938–42; Harold L. Yochum, 1942–46; Laurence M. Stavig, 1946–50; Oscar A. Benson, 1950–52; Sigfrid E. Engstrom, 1952–54. The conf. dissolved 1954. HLY

Journal of the American Lutheran Conference; Journal of Theology; The Lutheran Outlook; The Lutheran World Almanac and Encyclopedia 1934–1937, comp. G. L. Kieffer et al., ed. R. H. Long et al. (New York, 1937); A. R. Wentz, A Basic History of Lutheranism in America, rev. ed. (Philadelphia, 1964); F. W. Meuser, The Formation of the American Lutheran Church (Columbus, Ohio, 1958); E. C. Nelson, Lutheranism in North America 1914–1970 (Minneapolis, 1972); The Lutherans in North America, ed. E. C. Nelson et al. (Philadelphia, 1975). See also bibliographies under articles on chs. comprising the Am. Luth. Conf..

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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