Our Three Expressions
We are all the ELCA
Since our beginning in 1988, this church has been one church body organized in three expressions that enable and support us all to grow in faith and put faith into action.
More than 10,300 congregations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are local communities of faith-filled people celebrating, learning and connecting through weekly worship and various ways to serve others. Find a congregation near you.
Sixty-five synods throughout the country unite the work of congregations within their areas, serving as regional support and guiding pastoral and other staff candidates through the call process. Learn more about ELCA synods.
The churchwide expression includes the ELCA Churchwide Assembly, Church Council, officers, offices and churchwide units. Churchwide staff work from the Lutheran Center in Chicago, Ill., and from locations around the globe. Visit churchwide organization.
According to the ELCA constitution, we are one church body organized in three expressions -- each expression has its particular functions but all three together share a common mission. Together, they ensure a strong foundation of leadership that enables faithful gathering and gospel proclamation, community involvement, open dialogue and a culture of support for our 4.5 million members.
Three of the four elected officers of this church have offices at the churchwide organization. The vice president is an elected lay member who serves as the chair of the Church Council.
The ELCA nurtures important connections with Lutheran, ecumenical and interfaith partner and related organizations. This church also works in faith alongside 26 colleges and universities related to the ELCA, eight seminaries, and over 2,000 schools and early childhood education centers. We also express our faith through many campus ministries, outdoor ministries, and social service agencies across the country.
Our three expressions, together with affiliated agencies and institutions, are all part of the ELCA, enjoying a strong presence at the local, regional and continental levels. And because of our connections with worldwide Lutheran, ecumenical and interfaith partners, the ELCA is an active participant in the global community.