Historical Guide to Lutheran Church Bodies of North America
The word "synod" in American Lutheranism has been used in three
From the organization of the first synod, the Ministerium of Pennsylvania,
by Henry Melchior Muhlenberg in 1748, to the present, there have been hundreds
of "synods" organized. Some of these were organized as independent
national church bodies that later created regional subordinate units; others
organized as independent units and later joined together into national church
bodies. As of the summer of 1991 there were twenty-two currently functioning
independent church bodies in the United States and Canada that identified
themselves as "Lutheran." Two of these, the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America (ELCA), 1987-, and The Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod
(LCMS), 1847-, accounted for over 90 percent of the Lutherans in North America.
- Least frequently it is used to identify an ecclesiastical meeting,
as for instance, "the Berkenmeyer Synod, 1735."
- Most frequently the name has been used to identify the ongoing church
body, as for instance, "the Missouri Synod."
- In the LCA and the ELCA, however, the word refers to the geographical
subdivisions that in other Lutheran bodies have been called "districts."
--From the Forward