• The ELCG

    History of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva (ELCG)

    The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva (ELCG) held its first worship service on August 27, 1707. A group of German merchants who traveled between Germany and Lyon, France founded the church. In the nearly three centuries since, the church has grown from a German-speaking congregation to a church with six language-based congregations: German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish.

    The English-speaking congregation was started after World War II as the number of international organizations based in Geneva increased resulting in a growing  English-speaking community. Since then, the congregation has developed into a diverse international and ecumenical congregation.

    We share the church building with the German-speaking Lutheran congregation. Both congregations and the Swedish-speaking Lutheran congregation form the Church Council of the Lutheran Church of Geneva.


    About our members

    Our worship is conducted in English, although the congregation is comprised of  members  from about 60 countries. Roughly half of our members are Lutheran, representing more than two dozen Lutheran churches around the world (e.g. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, ELC of Tanzania, ELC of Zimbabwe, Church of Sweden, etc.). In addition, members represent a variety of other churches (e.g., Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican, Roman Catholic, Quaker, Disciples of Christ and others).

    While there is only one full-time pastor called to serve the congregation, among members there are presently 23 ordained pastors, some of whom are women. The reason for this large concentration of pastors is the presence in Geneva of several international church-related organizations, such as the Lutheran World Federation, the World Council of Churches, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Conference of European Churches and others.

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  • LutheranismCat

    LUTHERANISM (Lutheran tradition)

    "To be Lutheran is to be ecumenical"   (Dr Ishmael Noko, former General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation).

    The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva is an independent institution supported financially by its members - is a Lutheran Church - is international - open to all denominations - and highly ecumenical.

    We are a member of the Federation of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein , which in turn is a member of the Lutheran World Federation (where many of our members work).

    We are also a member of the Association of International Churches in Europe and the Middle East.

    Our membership in the ecumenical Rassemblement des Eglises et Communautés chrétiennes de Genève (RECG) provides a link to local French-speaking congregations.

    On this page you will find a video series of presentations on the subject of Lutheranism given in our church, to the congregation, by Dr Ishmael Noko.  There is also a linked video about Martin Luther and the Reformation.   AND - want to see the very FIRST Lutheran Magazine from 1827 ? - It is linked as a historical document below the videos.

  • Welcome
  • Governance

    Governance structure - councils, committees, concern groups

    The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva (ELCG) is an association in accordance with Articles 60 et seg. of the Swiss Civil Code. It is composed of two Lutheran Congregations: The English Speaking Congregation (ESC) and the German Speaking Congregation (GSC) .
    The highest authority of the ELCG is the General Assembly (GA). The GA delegates powers to a board of representatives from both Congregations, the Church Council (ChC).
    Each Congregation is required to have a Constitution, compliant with the ELCG Constitution.

    Church and Congregation Constitutions - history and current situation

    The ELCG Constitution dates from March, 1980 (PDF file for download).
    The previous ESC Constitution dates from March, 1986 (PDF file for download).

    Both constitutions were modified in 2011 to include a requirement by Geneva tax law to maintain our tax-exempt status.

    A new constitution for the ESC was worked on over a 2-year period by the Working Group on Governance and was approved at a special General Assembly the 22nd September 2013.  The resulting 2013 constitution is available here.

    In 2016 an amendment was made to C13.04 — and in 2017 C11.03 was amended to permit the treasurer to serve for up to four consecutive terms. (while other officers serve no more than two consecutive terms).  The resulting, amended constitution is available here.

    ESC governance

    The ESC is governed by a Congregational Assembly (CA), consisting of all voting members. The Constitution mandates the CA to take place annually as determined by bylaws (usually in the month of May).

    The Bylaws (formally-adopted by the Congregation Assembly, 6December2015 & revised 29May2016) are available here in PDF format.

    Between Assemblies, the CA delegates powers to a board of representatives, the Congregation Council (CC), composed by 12 to 15 members, elected in the spring CA, plus the Pastor(s). Any issues of relevant importance to the ESC are also taken up at this Assembly.

    An additional assembly takes place in December in order to approve the budget for the following year. In 2013, we held a further additional Assembly to vote on calling our new Pastor.

    Together with the Pastor and the CC, Concern Groups (CG) coordinate and plan events, seminars or ministries with the goal of encouraging an active and compassionate Church.