“… it mean to be Black and Lutheran in the United States 500 hundred years after Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the Church door at Wittenberg? ”
Unlike Episcopal Churches, Presbyterian Churches, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Churches, or the histories of separated Historic Black Churches, European Lutheran bodies sent missionaries from Germanic and Scandinavian church bodies sent missionaries along the lines of their separate ethnic church bodies and followed emigration patterns from east coast, southern movement and emigration to the Upper Midwest, offering Gospel message to all who found them.
As Frederik Lutheran Church in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands, celebrates the 350th anniversary as the oldest continuous worshiping community, October of 2016; and with the re-dedication of the Historical Marker for the first Black Lutheran Congregation, (St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1834) in Philadelphia, November 19, 2016; the commitment in the research team is to collect and categorize the documents of congregational life to provide a collective history of Lutherans of African Descent in North America. With the 500th anniversary of Luther’s act of defiance at Wittenberg -2017, the African Descent Lutheran Association meets the summer 2017 in Philadelphia. Congregational documents and pictures will be scanned for preservation, and oral histories taken and collected. Early Spring 2017, through summer of 2018, the research team will interview clergy and lay leaders in structured interviews to produce monographs/articles to be shared through Lutheran publications and a Web site, owned by the Conference of International Black Lutherans.
Consultation with the Archives Office of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Office of Black Ministries of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has generated requests from the Missions office and theologians of the Wisconsin Synod and Pastors and leaders of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod to be open to the sharing of stories from the past and ministries of the present in a form to be shared across the entire Lutheran Body.