In the last half of the 1800's Swedish immigrants, along with other Scandinavian, German, Italian, Dutch and Swiss immigrants, began getting off the train at Elkhart, Indiana to find jobs in the growing factories and on the railroads.
The old Saint John's Evangelical Lutheran Church on Harrison Street was German, so the Swedes organized their own congregation in 1873 and built a church at 10th and Mason Streets in 1875 where the services were in Swedish. At the turn of the 20th century most families lived within walking distance of their neighborhood church, and Elkhart was no different, a lot of the Swedes lived on Mason Street not far from the railroad tracks. They named their church Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Years later the name was changed to Augustana Lutheran Church to identify the Elkhart congregation with the synod name adopted by Swedish congregations in the last half of the 1800's. The name Augustana was derived from the Augustan Confession drawn up in 1530 at Augsburg, Germany by Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon detailing the principles of the Protestants and their reasons for separating from the Roman Catholic Church.
By the mid 1920's English was adopted for Sunday morning services although Sunday Evensong continued in Swedish. Then in the early 1950's the congregation broke ground for a new church on Kilbourn and Pleasant Streets, in the quite neighborhood area to the north of the hospital and west of the downtown area. Since 1951 Augustana Lutheran Church has been blessed to have a parish made up of many people and families from a variety of heritages, backgrounds and traditions-honoring Augustana's strong roots while giving it new life and hope for the future.
Augustana Lutheran Church is a member of the ELCA- the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; a denomination of about 4 million people. The ELCA has 65 synods across the United States; our congregation in a part of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod. The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton is the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, and the Rev. Bill Gafkjen is the Bishop of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod.
Please visit these websites for more information:
Indiana-Kentucky Synod -www.iksynod.org
The ELCA Mission:
God's Work. Our Hands.
We are the church that shares a living, daring confidence in God's grace. Liberated by our faith, we embrace you as a whole person - questions, complexities and all. Join us as we do God's work in Christ's name for the life of the world.
to gather with god's people in united adoration of the father is as necessary to the christian life as prayer.
let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Our Mission Statement:
As the baptized community of believers,
the Holy Spirit calls us to share our blessings
and live out our faith as servants of Christ,
working on behalf of all for God's justice and peace in the world.