Within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), a synod is an administrative and missional geographic region, overseen by a bishop who provides direction to staff, a synod council, and volunteers from its congregations for vision, support, and resources to carry out mission and ministry.
The Saint Paul Area Synod is one of 65 synods in the ELCA and the second largest in the number of baptized members.
Comprising the eastern half of the metropolitan area of the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, it includes about 107 congregations in Chisago, Dakota, Ramsey, and Washington counties and parts of Anoka, Scott, and Isanti counties in Minnesota.
The Saint Paul Area Synod is served by about 500 rostered leaders—clergy, diaconal ministers, deaconesses, and associates in ministry—who serve in congregations and other places of specialized ministry, including academic institutions, hospitals, and senior care centers.
Of the total, around 200 are retired and continue to provide vital service and ministry in their congregations and to the wider church.
The heritage of 132,000 baptized members of congregations in the Saint Paul Area Synod reflects the northern European roots of Lutheranism and is predominantly Scandinavian and German.
Just under two percent of the members are persons of color or those whose first language is other than English. However, the immigrant populations which have arrived from Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central America are providing opportunities and challenges to congregations for outreach and to draw these newcomers into congregational life.
Congregations in the Saint Paul Area Synod
There are about 107 congregations in this synod, including nine new mission starts: Humble Walk, St. Paul; House of Mercy, St. Paul; Pueblo de Fe (Latino), St. Paul; Joy Fellowship (Chinese), Circle Pines; Shobi's Table, St. Paul; Spirit of Truth, St. Paul; Good Samaritan (Hmong), St. Paul; Lydia's Place, St. Paul; and Native American Ministry, St. Paul.
Other Ministry Settings
A number of other Lutheran ministry settings are located within the geographic boundaries of the Saint Paul Area Synod:
- Luther Seminary
- Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota
- Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy in Minnesota
- Lutheran Campus Ministry—University of Minnesota
ELCA Day Schools
The Saint Paul Area Synod carries out its global mission through companion synod partnerships with the Iringa Diocese, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania and Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala (ILAG).
In addition, the synod is one of 20 synods in the ELCA that supports Mwangaza Education for Partnership in Tanzania. Through the mission support sent on to ELCA Global Mission and missionary sponsorship, the Saint Paul Area Synod and synod congregations work to support the work of missionaries in all parts of the world.