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LCMS at 177

Started by Jeremy_Loesch, April 29, 2024, 12:20:27 PM

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The following is from Rev. Dr. Gerry Kieschnick, President Emeritus of the LCMS.  He served from 2001-2010.  The birthday of the LCMS was April 26, 1847, and this is a nice reflection.  Happy birthday LCMS!  Jeremy

"Tomorrow is the 177th anniversary of the establishment of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). The original name, auf Deutsch, was Die Deutsche Evangelisch-Lutherische Synode von Missouri, Ohio und andern Staaten.

Several years later, that name was changed to English: The German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States and subsequently to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Though its official name contains only one geographic state (Missouri), the LCMS is a national church body with many international mission efforts and relationships. Some feel the name needs yet another revision to reflect its national and/or international character. I agree.

The LCMS traces its origins back to the 19th century in America. It emerged from a wave of German immigration, with settlers seeking religious freedom. Some of them may also have been hoping for a better standard of living in America. Imagine that.

On April 26, 1847, the LCMS was formally organized in Chicago by 12 pastors representing 14 congregations from Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Member congregations now come from all 50 states and two Canadian provinces.

The original goal was to maintain traditional Lutheran teachings and practices. Over the years, the LCMS has been dedicated to upholding the authority of the Bible, the Lutheran Confessions, and traditional worship practices, with some variation in the latter in numerous congregations.

The LCMS was a pioneer in media communications, initiating television's This Is the Life (1952-1988) and radio's The Lutheran Hour, which began in 1930 and is still on the air today.

The LCMS has also been involved in various social and educational initiatives, including the establishment of what at one time numbered 10 colleges and universities in the Concordia University System (three have recently closed and one has left the system) and two Concordia Seminaries.

The LCMS has experienced periods of growth, internal conflict, and theological debates. Though it remains one of the largest Lutheran denominations in the United States, the LCMS, along with other mainline denominations, is experiencing significant numerical decline.

From my perspective, the LCMS Mission Statement captures eloquently and succinctly the reason for its existence: "In grateful response to God's grace and empowered by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacraments, the mission of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is vigorously to make known the love of Christ, by word and deed within our churches, communities, and the world."

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