Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad
ClassificationProtestant
OrientationLutheranism
PolityEpiscopal
ArchbishopArchbishop of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad
AssociationsLutheran World Federation,
World Council of Churches,
Conference of European Churches,
Porvoo Communion
Origin1922
Members25,000
Official websitelelbal.org/

The Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad (LELCA) (Latvian: Latvijas Evaņģēliski luteriskā baznīca ārpus Latvijas (LELBĀL); German: Lettische Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche im Ausland) is a Lutheran denomination with a presence in Latvia, Australia, Sweden, United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, which it joined in 1947. It is also a member of the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches and part of the Porvoo Communion. The church was originally established in 1922. During the Second World War, when Latvia was occupied and incorporated into the Soviet Union, the archbishop and half of the clergy went to exile.

In 2014 it was announced that Lauma Lagzdiņš Zuševics, an American, was the first woman elected Archbishop of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad.[1][2]

In 2016, the church established itself within Latvia, and Archbishop Zuševics stated that it would have to change its name accordingly.[3] Later that year the Evangelical Cross Congregation of Liepāja left the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia (LELB/ELCL) and joined the LELBA/LELCA instead due to its support for the ordination of women which the LELB/ELCL had banned the previous week.[4] The split between the two churches thus became less geographic and more theological.

References

  1. ^ "Welcome to LELBA.org – Sat, 18 Apr 2015 12:41:33 America/New_York". LELBAL.org. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Clevelander becomes first woman to lead Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church". cleveland.com. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  3. ^ "The Latvian Archbishop who is... a woman!". LSM Public broadcasting of Latvia. 8 June 2016. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Congregation splits from Lutheran church over women's ordination". LSM Public broadcasting of Latvia. 6 June 2016. Retrieved 18 August 2016.