Definitions & Descriptions
The Northwest Washington SynodEvery day members of congregations in the Northwest Washington Synod are living out the good news. In far reaches of the globe, and right here in our communities, we join with our neighbors for the sake of abundant life. Locally our members help the homeless and the hungry by offering lunch and dinner, donating to food banks, hosting Tent City, and by providing transitional housing and personalized support. The Synod Hunger Team encourages congregations to support the ELCA Hunger Appeal. Globally we walk with our friends in Russia and Tanzania (Masaii Girls School). We also support the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) vision to end malaria (ELCA Malaria Campaign) raising $150,000 in one year, as well as the ELCA Disaster Response and the Strategy on HIV/AIDS.
Of The Evangelical Lutheran Church In America
Of The Evangelical Lutheran Church In America
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 congregations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
We are the church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. For us, as the ELCA, this faith comes through the good news of Jesus Christ and gives us the freedom and the courage to wonder, discover and boldly participate in what God is up to in the world. We welcome you to join this community of faith — the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America — regardless of your age, race, gender, sexual orientation, life experience, complexities and questions. You have a unique story that can only add to the richness of the larger story that makes up the ELCA. There is a place for you here!
The ELCA is one church body organized in three expressions — congregations, synods and the churchwide organization. Each expression has its particular functions but all three together share a common mission of doing God’s work in the world and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.
The churchwide organization is based out of the Lutheran Center in Chicago and functions with the ELCA’s 65 synods and nearly 10,000 congregations across the 50 states, Caribbean and U.S. Virgin Islands. The churchwide organization’s work and functions are guided by the Churchwide Assembly, the Church Council and four elected officers. Its staff and elected officers work at the Lutheran Center and in other locations around the world serving as administrators, advisors, conveners, partners and resource people for the ELCA and its ministries. The ELCA also nurtures important connections with Lutheran, ecumenical and interfaith partners, and related organizations. We work alongside 26 colleges and universities related to the ELCA, eight seminaries, more than 2,000 schools and early childhood education centers, campus ministries, outdoor ministries, social service agencies, and other agencies and institutions across the country and throughout the world. The work God calls us to do in the world is never done alone or in isolation, and the churchwide organization plays a key role in developing and supporting a culture of interdependence, diversity and common mission across all expressions of the ELCA and its partners.
ELCA congregations are centers for evangelical mission, where people of faith celebrate, learn and connect with one another and others around the world through service and weekly worship.
What is a Synod?
The English word synod comes from two Greek words syn + hodos that mean "together road." A synod is the people of the congregations and other ministries traveling the way of faith together. Within the ELCA, a synod is also an administrative and missional geographic region, overseen by a bishop and a synod council who provide vision, support and resources so that congregations and other ministries can carry out their mission. As of August 1, 2013, our bishop is the Rev. Brian Kirby Unti. Synods vary greatly in size, geography, membership, staffing and program. There are 65 synods in the ELCA that are grouped into nine regions.
Who is the Northwest Washington Synod?
Geographically the Northwest Washington Synod includes the area from Kent/Des Moines to the Canadian border, as well as the San Juan Islands. There are 105 congregations in the synod and around 42,180 baptized members. In addition to congregations the synod has 19 new mission starts located in Bellevue, Bellingham, Bothell, Burlington, Edmonds, Everett, Mukilteo, Renton, Sammamish, and Seattle; and two campus ministries located in Bellingham and Seattle.
The Northwest Washington Synod Assembly is the highest legislative authority in the synod and meets annually to conduct business. Between meetings of the assembly, the Synod Council serves as the board of directors and the interim legislative authority. The synod office is located in the north end of St. John United Lutheran Church in Seattle; www.lutheransnw.org.
The offerings given by congregations support all three expressions of this church (congregations, synods and churchwide). How does this work? In your congregation your offerings support the ministry of your congregation and local outreach in your community. The portion of congregational giving called 'mission support' funds the work of the Northwest Washington Synod and Churchwide Expression. The Northwest Washington Synod assists congregations and rostered leaders as they work in their communities and throughout the world. The Churchwide expression is able to work every day to address inequities in political, economic and social systems and to work with partners to end conflict and violence all over the world. Some 'mission support' funds may return to your congregation in the form of grants, services, programs and resources.
Who we are (two-sided, pdf file)