The Dutch-speaking Evangelisch Lutherse Kerk in Suriname (ELKS) has the longest Lutheran history in South America, having been formed in 1741. Interestingly, this church was not the result of mission but of settlement — Lutherans in Suriname received permission from the directors of the Suriname Society to practice their religion according to the teachings and confession of the Lutheran church. They established a congregation under the jurisdiction of the Lutheran Consistory in Amsterdam, Holland.
After more than two centuries in which the Suriname church was under the jurisdiction of Lutheran organizations in Holland, the church began forming its own relationships within the global Lutheran family. Since 1975, the ELKS has participated in Lutheran World Federation Caribbean consultations. It was received into LWF membership in 1979. The ELKS also holds membership in the Caribbean Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.
Until the first Surinamese pastor was ordained in 1974, most ELKS pastors had come from The Netherlands, Germany and the United States. Other Surinamese have served the ELKS since.