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Denominations - Protestant

Short profiles of selected Christian denominations in the U.S.

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod symbol

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

  • Date Founded:  1850
  • Membership/Number of Clergy/Number of churches:  394,241/1,300/1287 as of 2016  WELS is the third largest Lutheran denomination.
  • Headquarters:  2929 N. Mayfair Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53222
  • Schools & Seminaries:  Martin Luther College and Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary
  • Publications:  Forward in Christ
  • Website:
  • Social Media:  Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, YouTube
  • Core Beliefs: A very thorough explanation of WELS beliefs is presented in This We Believe. In short form: "We believe that the Bible is the final authority in all matters of doctrine, that it is fully inspired by God and without error. The three ecumenical creeds, the primary creedal statements of historic Christianity, summarize well our faith. In addition, we wholeheartedly subscribe to the Lutheran Confessions (contained in the Book of Concord of 1580) because they are correct expositions of biblical truth. In essence, the Bible, the creeds, and the Lutheran Confessions all speak the same truth: we are declared to be right with God by his grace alone through faith in Jesus."  WELS is considered to one of the most conservative Lutheran denominations.

Short History:  Founded in 1850 by German missionaries, ties to the German church were not broken until 1868 when the American branch wanted to become more Lutheran.  It was not until 1939 that English speakers outnumbered German speakers in the church. In 1917 the merger of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Nebraska Synods into the Wisconsin Synod created the church as it is today.

Local Churches:  There is only one WELS church in Louisville.

Hope Lutheran Church, 4200 Shenandoah Dr., Louisville, KY 40241. 

Church locator: