GERMAN EVANGELICAL SYNOD OF NORTH AMERICA, a Protestant church dating from October 1840, and known, in its early years, as the German Evangelical Association of the West. It was formed by six German ministers who had been ordained in Prussia and were engaged in missionary and pioneer work in Missouri and Illinois. The original organization was strengthened in 1858 by amalgamation with the German Evangelical Church Association of Ohio, and later by the inclusion of the German United Evangelical Synod of the East (1860), the Evangelical Synod of the North-West (1872) and the United Evangelical Synod of the East (1872). The church bases its position on the Bible as interpreted by the symbols of the Lutheran and Reformed churches so far as they are in agreement, points of difference being left to "that liberty of conscience which, as a component part of the basis of man's ultimate responsibility to God himself, is the inalienable privilege of every believer." The church, which has (1909) 985 ministers and some 238,000 communicant members, is divided into seventeen districts, with officers responsible to the General Synod, which meets every four years. There are boards for home and foreign missions, the latter operating chiefly in the Central Provinces of India. The literature of the church is mainly in German, though English is rapidly gaining ground.
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