On April 26, 1847, 12 pastors representing 15 congregations signed a constitution that established "The German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States." Meeting in Chicago, they had traveled by horseback, stagecoach and boat from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and New York. (Also attending were 10 advisory pastors, four laymen, two theology candidates and seven guests.)
They were men of faith and conviction. Some were German immigrants who had come to the United States to preserve their Lutheran confession of the faith, free from government intervention. They were stirred for mission, especially to reach German immigrants, and, for some, the desire to bring the Gospel to Native Americans.
In its 150th year, The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod (the name was shortened on the 100th anniversary) counts 2.6 million members in 6,145 congregations. The original constitution was written in German (and German continued to prevail in worship and writing until World War I). Today, the list of pastors includes names like Schmidt and Nguyen and Perez and O'Connor and Zyskowski and King and Pacilli. While English dominates now, on any given Sunday, there may be worship in at least 20 different languages--including Spanish, Hmong, Eritrean, Russian, Finnish, Slovak, Chinese, even German.