The Twenty-First Annual Meeting of the ELS Historical Society

“From Austin to Aberdeen”

Convening on the campus of Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota

S. C. Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center, Sunday June 18, 2017

Schedule for the Day

  • 3:00 p.m. Synod Sunday Service, Trinity Chapel
  • 4:15 p.m. Synod Sunday Dinner
  • 5:00 p.m. Registration
  • 6:00 p.m. Program Sig Lee Theater
  • A Re-enactment of the Austin Agreement (December, 1916), and the Aberdeen Hotel meeting (June, 1917) leading to the organization of the ELS in 1918.
  • 7:30 p.m. Society Business Meeting
  • Refreshments and social time


The following summary includes every annual meeting from the Society's founding. If you would like to suggest a theme or a speaker for our next conference, please contact us.

  • 2016: "Symposium on ELS Home Missions through the Years"
  • 2015: "Symposium on the Liturgy and Agenda of the 1913 Hymnary"
  • 2014: "In Their Own Words," a play written and directed by Michael Lilienthal, performed by a cast including board members and friends of the ELS Historical Society
  • 2013: "The Oak Trees Still Stand," an historical play written and directed by Michael Lilienthal and performed by Board members and friends of the ELS Historical Society
  • 2012: ELS Involvement in Mission Work in China Featuring the Career of the Rev. George O. Lillegard and His Wife Bernice, presented by the Rev. David Theodore Lillegard, and Deborah Lynn (Lillegard) Blumer
  • 2011: From Flappers to Facebook: A Century of Christian Education at Bethany College (1911-2011)
  • 2010: The Many Facets of Dr. U. V. Koren (1826-1910): Dr. Koren, the Immigrant Pastor and Theologian, by Dr. John Christianson; Domestic Life of Immigrant Pastors, by Tim Grundmeier; Dr. Koren the Hymnwriter, by Prof. Mark DeGarmeaux; Dr. Koren the Citizen, by Prof. Ryan MacPherson; Norwegian Church Service
  • 2009: Celebrating Our Heritage: Walther C. Photography Collection, by Theodore Gullixson; 150th Anniversary of First Shell Rock Lutheran Church (Northwood, IA), by Ralph Olsen; Let's Learn a Hymn in Norwegian, by Mark DeGarmeaux; Creating a Family History Website, by Erling Teigen
  • 2008: The Word of the Lord Grows: Rev. Craig Ferkenstad, Prof. Mark Harstad, Missionary Tim Erickson
  • 2007: Preserving Our Heritage through Correspondence and Artifacts: Prof. Erling Teigen, Pastor Paul Madson, Mrs. Shelley Harrison
  • 2006: A Legacy of Christian Ministry: Pastor M. E. Tweit
  • 2005: The German Influence on the Norwegian Synod: Theology, Education, and Music
  • 2004: Oral History (A DVD, entitled Understanding Our Heritage, is available for $10 at the Bethany Lutheran College bookstore. Call 507-344-7346 for mail orders.)
  • 2003: Bus Trip to the "Oaks" of Koskonong, WI
  • 2002: Pilgrimage to Lime Creek Lutheran Church, IA
  • 2001: The Life and Learning of H. A. Preus as Instruction for the Church Today
  • 2000: "Koren Country" Bus Tour (Decorah, IA) and "Y0, Y1K, and Y2K, and the ELS"
  • 1999: Preserving Our Heritage
  • 1998: Mission Work (China, India, and South Africa)
  • 1997: Charter Meeting