The grand culmination of the synod’s centennial will take place on Sunday, October 14. On that day, congregations throughout the Evangelical Lutheran Synod will have the opportunity to thank and praise God for one hundred years of His wonders and blessings.
The date of October 14 is important to the history of our church body. The Norwegian Synod was organized in 1853. Soon thereafter, the synod’s first joint undertaking was to establish a professorship for the training of pastors at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. The synod funded the position of one faculty member and called the Rev. Laur. Larsen, whose position officially began on October 14, 1859. This date became known as “Founders’ Day” throughout the Norwegian Synod. Four years later, it was on the same date that the Norwegian Synod dedicated its first building at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. October 14 was the official opening date for the synod’s Luther Seminary in 1876 and for the eventual dedication of the seminary building in St. Paul, Minnesota. This date became so important to the spirit of the members of the Norwegian Synod that it became the dedication date of subsequent buildings at Luther College, Pacific Lutheran University, and many church buildings.
The Norwegian Synod held to the two fundamental principles of the Reformation: that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and the only source and rule of Christian faith and life, and that we are saved by grace alone. The synod also was careful to avoid unionism and emphasized the cause of Christian education.
In 1918, the announcement was made, “Pastors and members of congregations who desire to continue in the old doctrine and practice of the Norwegian Synod will, God willing, hold their annual meeting in the Lime Creek congregation, Pastor H. Ingebritson’s charge, June 14 and following days.” Since then, the ELS has observed the dual anniversaries of the organization of the Norwegian Synod in 1853 and its reorganization as the Evangelical Lutheran Synod in 1918. For many years after the synod’s reorganization, the October 14 date continued to be observed as a public declaration that the Evangelical Lutheran Synod is the rightful successor to the teachings of the old Norwegian Synod.
This October, the ELS will follow this tradition by observing October 14, 2018, as a special opportunity to thank and praise God for one hundred years of His wonders and blessings. He has richly and daily provided for us. He has purchased and won us from all sin through His Son. He has sanctified and kept us in the one truth faith. May grateful hearts overflow with thanks and praise.
From U.V. Koren… to Bjug Harstad… to today, we continue to Proclaim the Wonders God Has Done.
Rev. Craig A. Ferkenstad
ELS Centennial Committee