The Independent Evangelical-Lutheran Church (German: Selbständige Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche,
abbreviated SELK) is a confessional Lutheran church body of Germany. It is a member of the European
Lutheran Conference and of the International Lutheran Council (ILC) (of which the Lutheran
Church–Missouri Synod of North America is also a member). The SELK has about 33,000 members in 200
congregations. The seat of SELK is in Hanover.
SELK is in full pulpit and altar fellowship with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Lutheran Church
Canada, and many more confessionel lutheran church bodies arournd the world.
In 1817 the King of Prussia, King Frederik William III., ordered the union of the Lutherans and the Reformed
(Calvinists) into one Protestant Church. This union was enforced by state and church authorities despite
long standing disagreements between the two traditions, most obviously in the doctrine of holy communion.
Throughout Prussia and beyond there were pastors and congregations which refused to become part of
this state enforced Protestant Church. For some time they were persecuted, which led to various groups
emigrating to the USA and Australia. In America these "Old Lutherans" were among the founders of the
LCMS, the largest confessional Lutheran Church in the world.
Once this persecution ended in 1840 Lutherans in Prussia were free once more to form their own church
body. In other German states at the time Lutheran churches were also established. Finally almost all these
confessional Lutheran bodies merged into what today is the SELK. Today all the german state churches
(Landeskirchen) are united churches, because the are contected in the Protestant Church of Germany
(Evangelische Kirche Deutschlands). If you search a Lutheran Church and congregation you only find it in
the SELK. Since 1817/1830 the state church in Berlin-Brandenburg is a united Church of a "lutheran" part
and a reformed part (Calvinists). SELK has about 33 000 members throughout Germany, in about 200
congregations and preaching places, served by 115 pastors. Unlike the Protestant territorial churches we
receive no state tax support, but rather our members contribute their offerings on a voluntary basis. For the
training of the future clergy our church operates a theological seminary in Oberursel near Frankfurt, as well
as senior citizens' homes, kindergartens and a hospital. The world wide mission outreach of the SELK is
directed by the Bleckmar Mission Society.
Selbständige Evangelisch - Lutherische Kirche