The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 congregations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
We are the church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. For us as the ELCA, this faith comes through the good news of Jesus Christ and gives us the freedom and the courage to wonder, discover and boldly participate in what God is up to in the world.
God calls and empowers us for mission through baptism. Marked with the cross of Christ forever, we are claimed, gathered and sent for the sake of the world. As members of the ELCA, we believe that we are freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor.
Grounded in God’s love and forgiveness, we are equipped to live and serve here and now, in the world, with all its complexities, tensions and ambiguities. With our hands, we do God’s work of restoring and reconciling communities in Jesus’ name throughout the world.
The ELCA confesses the Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In our preaching and teaching the ELCA trusts the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.
The ELCA’s official Confession of Faith identifies the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (commonly called the Bible); the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds; and the Lutheran confessional writings in the Book of Concord as the basis for our teaching. ELCA congregations make the same affirmation in their governing documents, and ELCA pastors promise to preach and teach in accordance with these teaching sources. This Confession of Faith is more than just words in an official document. Every Sunday in worship ELCA congregations hear God’s word from the Scriptures, pray as Jesus taught and come to the Lord’s Table expecting to receive the mercies that the Triune God promises. Throughout the week ELCA members continue to live by faith, serving others freely and generously in all that they do because they trust God’s promise in the Gospel. In small groups and at sick beds, in private devotions and in daily work, this faith saturates all of life.
This connection to all of life is the clearest demonstration of the authority that the canonical Scriptures, the ecumenical Creeds and the Lutheran Confessions have in the ELCA. The Holy Spirit uses these witnesses to create, strengthen and sustain faith in Jesus Christ and the life we have in him. That life-giving work continues every day, as Martin Luther explained in the Small Catechism: the Holy Spirit “calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth and preserves it in union with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.”
As individuals and as a faith community — Christ’s church — we live our Christian faith in the thick of life with the concerns and complexities that shape our lives together in God’s creation. We work at social concerns as individuals, communities, congregations, synods and a churchwide organization, as well as through related ministries, agencies, social ministry organizations, educational institutions, networks, other partners and across denominations. There are ELCA resources for social teaching and policy. Arising from and reflecting on the changing circumstances of the world in light of God’s presence and work, they are developed to assist members and congregations in thinking about social issues, and to guide the church’s life in society and creation.
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