WELS Historical Institute
The WELS Historical Institute exists to preserve and present the history of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
Started in 1982, the purpose of the WELS Historical Institute is to preserve and present the story of God’s grace to WELS. Membership consists of organizations (congregations, school libraries, etc.) and individuals committed to the purpose of the Institute.
The Institute publishes two issues of the WELS Historical Institute Journal and two Historical Institute newsletters each year. The Journal is designed to appeal to pastor, teacher, and layperson alike. It includes heavily researched articles interspersed with personal reminiscences and translations of old letters and documents.
The editor of both publications is Prof. John Brenner. He invites articles dealing with people and events from our synod’s past, to be considered for publication. For for information about the Journal, including past issues in downloadable form, please visit the Journal section of the website.
Dr. Mark Braun presents the historical background of WHI. (marker 5:20)
Remembering the Past to Inform the Future
The WELS Historical Institute is committed to supporting the study, preservation, and promotion of Wisconsin Synod history, both within its own humble borders and within the larger Lutheran Christian community. Our synod’s history is a testament to God’s gracious working for the good of his people in spite of us.
Like every other fellowship of Christians, the Wisconsin Synod is far from perfect. It has a history filled with God-given blessings and man-made failures. Our Institute is meant to be a repository for those synodical accounts and a vehicle for giving them a broader reading, hearing, and consideration. When it comes to the ministry and proclamation of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, we firmly believe that history has a integral part to play in carrying out that mission.
Simply put, we are convinced that remembering the past informs the future. And through the study and contemplation of history, God blesses his people.
Members, special gifts and bequests, as well as grants from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans support the Institute. Synod members who have documents or artifacts to be preserved are invited to contact the WELS Archivist.
Synod President Mark Schroeder marked of the 40th anniversary celebration at Salem Landmark church leading devotion. (marker 6:20)
The Seal of the WELS Historical Institute depicts Salem Lutheran Landmark Church, built in 1863 on the site of the “birthplace of the Wisconsin Synod.” In 1850 the Wisconsin Synod was born; in 1981 the WELS Historical Institute officially came into being.
Remember the former time
The German, inscription is a reminder of the Synod’s German roots. The words mean “Remember the former time.” The cross reminds us of Jesus Christ, the Lord of all history. The Seal was executed by Michael Smith of Madison, Wisconsin.
The purpose of the Journal is to provide a vehicle for articles of historical interest about the Lutheran Church with special reference to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. It is also hoped that the Journal will stimulate WELS members to pursue research in Lutheran history.