The Twenty-Third Annual Meeting of the ELS Historical Society

“Revisiting the 1919 Constituting Convention of the ELS”

Convening at Bethany Lutheran College, Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center, Mankato, Minnesota

7 p.m.

Sunday, June 23, 2019


  • Welcome: ELSHS President, the Rev. Michael Lilienthal
  • Setting the Stage: the Rev. Andrew Soule
  • The Opening Sermon in 1919, by the Rev. G. A. Gullixson, presented by great-grandson, Mr. Paul Gullixson
  • Digest of the Convention, presented by the Rev. Shawn Stafford
  • The Synod's Constitutions, 1886 and 1919, presented by Prof. em. Erling T. Teigen
  • History of the Choral Union, presented by the Rev. Theodore Gullixson


All members receive a subscription to Oak Leaves, the quarterly newsletter of the ELS Historical Society.

Members also may become involved in a variety of Society activities:

  • attend the informative annual programs of the Historical Society
  • help their church maintain valuable historical records
  • learn to preserve old documents and artifacts
  • conduct research on the history of the ELS, its congregations, and its pastors
  • receive periodic bulletins with articles of news and interest
  • meet other people with a lively interest in history
  • attend the annual business meeting of the Society
  • donate items of historical interest to the Synod Archives or Ottesen Museum
  • contribute articles to Oak Leaves

To become a member or renew an existing membership with the ELS Historical Society:

  1. Print this form (click the printer icon in the upper right part of this screen), fill in the appropriate blanks, and then mail it together with your membership dues to: ELS Historical Society, 6 Browns Court, Mankato, MN 56001.
  2. Click here and print the PDF version of this form.

Membership Type (check one):

Voting Membership is available to any communicant member of an ELS congregation; or, any communicant member of a congregation in fellowship with the ELS.

  • ___ Individual or Married Couple ($15/year)
  • ___ Lifetime ($300)

Associate (non-voting) Membership is available to any other individual or organization interested in the work and purpose of the ELS Historical Society.

  • ___ Individual or Organization ($25/year)

(Make checks payable to "ELS Historical Society.")


Contact Information

Name: ______________________________________________

Address: ____________________________________________

City/State: ___________________________________________

Phone: _________________

Email: _________________

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.

  • 2018: “Still Under the Oaks”
  • 2017: “From Austin to Aberdeen”: 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
  • 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