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The Evangelical Synod of North America (German Evangelical Synod of North America before 1927) was a Protestant Christian denomination in the United Statesmarker existing from the mid-1800s until its 1934 merger with the Reformed Church in the United States to form the Evangelical and Reformed Church. This church merged with another denomination in 1957, creating the United Church of Christ.


Centered in the Midwest, the denomination was made of German Protestant congregations of mixed Lutheran and Reformed heritage, reflecting the 1817 union of those traditions in Prussia (and subsequently in other areas of Germany). This union, both in Germany and in the United States, was deeply influenced by pietism. The denomination accepted both the Reformed Heidelberg Catechism, Luther's Small Catechism, and the Lutheran Augsburg Confession as its confessional documents; where there was disagreement the individual believer had freedom to believe either. The church eventually developed its own Evangelical Catechism, reflecting its "united" faith. In keeping with core Protestant convictions, the Bible was considered the ultimate standard of its faith.

The denomination established Eden Theological Seminarymarker in St. Louis, Missouri, for the training of its clergy; today, Eden remains a seminary of the United Church of Christ.

In the early 20th century, the Evangelical Synod became active in the ecumenical movement, joining the Federal Council of Churches and pursuing church union. In 1934, it joined with another denomination of German background, the Reformed Church in the United States, forming the Evangelical and Reformed Church. This church united, in turn, in 1957 with the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches to form the United Church of Christ.

Notable people and congregations

The oldest Evangelical Synod congregations are believed to be Femme Osage United Church of Christ near Augusta, Missouri; Bethlehem United Church of Christ in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Saint John's-Saint Luke Evangelical and Reformed United Church of Christ in Detroit, Michigan; or The United Church in Washington, DC, each of which were founded in 1833.

The oldest Lutheran church in Chicago, Illinois was an Evangelical Synod congregation. The Deutsche Evangelische Lutherische Sankt Paulus Gemeinde (German Evangelical Lutheran St. Pauls Congregation) was founded in 1843 and is now known as St. Pauls United Church of Christ ("St. Pauls" is properly spelled without the apostrophe, reflecting its German heritage, as there is no apostrophe in the German language).

Reinhold Niebuhr and H. Richard Niebuhr, two siblings who developed strong reputations during the mid-20th century for their theological acumen, were both members of the Evangelical Synod and its successors.

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