When Lutherans began immigrating to the United States, they carried their faith with them in their suitcases and souls. Mainly from Germany and Scandinavia, these immigrants settled in places that where similar to where they came from – primarily the Midwest.
Over time, these broad and disparate groups of Lutherans began the process of moving from smaller, language-derived groups into larger, more centralized, and English-speaking ones. And while there are still several different expressions of Lutheranism in America, this culminated for St. Stephen in 1988 when a couple of smaller groups became the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA).
Striving to always be in relationship with others across state and national borders, and even stretching into the idea of the Church eternal, St. Stephen acknowledges that the Church belongs to God and is bigger than us. While we still have a lot of the flexibility to our original, more local roots, this relationship places us into a larger conversation of what it means to be a gathering of saints and engaged locally, nationally, and worldwide.