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Manuscripts by Subject - Religion - #10285

Title: Western North Dakota District of the American Lutheran Church Records

Collection Number: Mss 10285

Dates: 1938-1982

Quantity: 1.5 ft.

Provenance:  The State Historical Society of North Dakota acquired the Western North Dakota District of the American Lutheran Church Records as a gift from the District Council on September 17, 1982.  This collection was processed and the inventory prepared by Karen Mund, Grace Wanttaja, and Kari Rombs Kohlhoff in October 1988.

Property Rights:  The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyrights:  The District Council has dedicated such copyrights as it possesses in this collection to the public.  Consideration of all other copyrights is the responsibility of the researcher.

Access:  This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Citation:  Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.

Transfer:  Two black and white photos of the 1969 Minot Flood were transferred to the Photo Archives.

Related Material:  Eastern North Dakota District of the ALC Records, 30 ft., 1916-1984, Mss 10445.


Merger plans of the American Lutheran Church (ALC), Evangelical Lutheran Church, and United Evangelical Lutheran Church began prior to 1950 and were finalized in 1960 when the three merged into the American Lutheran Church.  The Dakota District of pre-merger ALC, to which North Dakota belonged, was officially closed on December 31, 1960 and two districts were formed, Eastern and Western.

The planning committee of the Western North Dakota District of the ALC met in 1959 and 1960 to make recommendations for the budgets and operational procedures of new districts.  St. John's Lutheran Church of Dickinson, North Dakota, hosted the constituting convention of the Western District on June 26-27, 1960.  The constitution, as it appeared in the Handbook of the American Lutheran Church, 1960 edition, pages 101-111, was adopted.

The Western District was divided into four conferences, Bismarck, Minot, Williston, and Bottineau; the area covered all counties west of Jamestown including Bottineau, McHenry, Sheridan, Kidder, Logan, and McIntosh.  Later a rearrangement changed the conferences to:  Williston, Western Prairie, Dickinson, Souris River, and Bismarck.  The purpose of the Western District, as stated in its constitution, was to be a working unit of the American Lutheran Church and a fellowship of congregations to which the Gospel of Reconciliation had been given.  The Western District dedicated itself to bearing witness to the Christian faith in fulness and purity, and extending that faith.

The first convention of the Western District was held at Trinity Lutheran Church, Bismarck, North Dakota, June 12-14, 1961.  Rev. Elmo Agrimson, Bismarck, was president; Rev. John Kammer, Beulah, vice-president; Rev. Peter C. Hinrichs, Dickinson, secretary; and George Johnson, Minot, treasurer.  The Western District in 1961 had 67,729 baptized members, 44,152 confirmed members, and 107 parish pastors.  By 1982, baptized membership was 69,965, confirmed 52,995, and there were 130 parish pastors.  Service programs and charities continued by the Western District included Bible camps, campus ministry, Oak Grove High School, Dakota Academy, Luther League, Lutheran Social Service, Home of Mercy, Svee Home, seminaries, nursing homes, resource centers, and Charles Hall Home.

The Western North Dakota District provided inspiration and leadership for its member congregations in accomplishing the work assigned to them.  The Western District also served as a segment of the American Lutheran Church for the purpose of planning, promoting and executing the program work of the church.

Sources:  Eastern North Dakota District of the ALC Records, 1916-1984, 30 ft., Mss 10445.

Reishus, Martha.  Steeples Rise on the Prairie, 1959.

Western North Dakota District of the ALC Records, 1938-1982, 1 ½ ft., Mss 10285.


The Western North Dakota District of the ALC Records date from 1938-1982.  This collection documents the administration of the Western District in the merger of congregations, boundary divisions, pastoral assignments, annual conventions, and involvement with social and religious issues.  The Records of the Western District are organized into: minutes, 1938-1970, 19 folders; annual reports, 1962-1975, 9 folders; convention reports, 1970-1982, 11 folders; and subject files, 1950-1974, 6 folders.

Minutes for the Western North Dakota District date from 1938 to 1970 and measure 19 folders.  Minutes included are executive, constituting, council, and convention.  The minutes are arranged chronologically.

Annual reports date from 1962 to 1975 and measure 9 folders.  The files consist of reports by or concerning district president's, nominating committee, treasurers,

Brotherhood, American Lutheran Church Women, Luther Welfare Society, youth committee, stewardship, and conventions.  Arrangement of the annual reports is chronological.

Convention reports date from 1970 to 1982 and measure 11 folders.  Included in the convention reports are correspondence, clippings, District records, a proposed budget, District committee calls, a church and pastor roster, and resolutions.  Subjects of interest include communications and mission support, service and mission in America, media staff involvement, and election of officers.  The convention reports are arranged chronologically.

Subject files date from 1950 to 1974 and measure 6 folders.  Four folders contain committee files:  executive, parish education, and planning. "A Decade of Heritage" by O. Leonard Orvedal gives statistics on the American Lutheran Church from 1950-1960.  The Dakota Lutheran Academy file consists of correspondence and legal documents pertaining to its liquidation.  Arrangement of the subject files is alphabetical by keyword.



Box 1:
1. Minutes                                                                1938-1939                                 
2. Minutes                                                                1940-1942                               
3. Minutes                                                                1944-1946                               
4. Minutes                                                                1947-1948                               
5. Minutes                                                                1950-1952                               
6. Minutes                                                                1953-1954                               
7. Minutes                                                                1956-1957                               
8. Minutes                                                                1958-1959                               
9. Minutes, Constituting Convention                      1958-1960                               
10. Minutes, Constituting Convention                    1958-1960                               
11. Minutes, Constituting Convention                    1960-1962                               
12. Minutes, Council                                                1969-1973                               
13. Minutes, Council                                                1971-1973                               
14. Minutes, Council                                                1973-1974                               
15. Minutes, Council                                                1974-1977                               
16. Minutes, Council                                                1978-1980                               
17. Minutes, Executive                                            1960-1964                               
18. Minutes, Executive                                            1963-1966                               
19. Minutes, Executive                                            1967-1970                               

Annual Reports

20. Annual Report                                                   1962                                         
21. Annual Report                                                   1964                                         
22. Annual Report                                                   1966-1967                               
23. Annual Report                                                   1968-1969                               
24. Annual Report                                                   1970                                         
25. Annual Report                                                   1971                                         
26. Annual Report                                                   1972                                         
27. Annual Report                                                   1973                                         
28. Annual Report                                                   1975                                         

Convention Reports

Box 2:
1. Convention Report                                              1970                                         
2. Convention Report                                              1971                                         
3. Convention Report                                              1972                                         
4. Convention Report                                              1973                                         
5. Convention Report                                              1976                                         
6. Convention Report                                              1977                                         
7. Convention Report                                              1978                                         
8. Convention Report                                              1979                                         
9. Convention Report                                              1980                                         
10. Convention Report                                            1981                                         
11. Convention Report                                            1982                                         

Subject Files

12. Dakota Lutheran Academy                               1963-1966                               
13. "Decade of Heritage", O. L. Orvedal                1950-1960                               
14. Executive Committee                                        1965-1969                               
15. Executive Committee                                        1974                                         
16. Parish Education Committee                             1961-1973                               
17. Planning Committee         1959-1960      


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