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Lutheran Churches

Last modified: 2013-11-16 by rob raeside
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The Christian Flag in the Lutheran churches

The Lutheran Church in the United States also uses the Christian Flag.
Eric Martin, 4 June 1997

Lutheran World Federation

The Lutheran World Federation held its Tenth International Assembly in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in September, 2003. In commemoration of this event the then mayor of Winnipeg hoisted a special flag; a description of this flag, although not an actual image, can be found at It states "The flag bears the logo “For the Healing of the World,” which is the theme of the 10-day Assembly attracting LWF delegates and visitors from around the world. It will fly in front of the Winnipeg Convention Centre while the conference is in session July 21 to 31."
Ron Lahav, 26 January 2009

Evangelic-Lutheran Church in Germany (EKD)

[Evangelic-Lutheran Church, Germany] by Dieter Linder, 7 June 1997

In Germany flags are only shown *in front of* religious buildings, but not *in* churches. It would be very, very unusual for a German to see the national flag in his church.

There are two religious flags to be seen very often on Sundays or religious holidays in front of churches: the flag of the Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD) and of the Römisch-Katholische Kirche. These are the two dominating denominations, the Evangelic-Lutherans running up to 35,7 % and the Roman Catholics to 34,7 %.

The flag of the EKD is white with a violet Latin cross all over. However, the cross does not touch the edges.
Dieter Linder, 7 June 1997

Evangelic-Lutheran Church Convention

[Evangelic-Lutheran Church Convention       [Evangelic-Lutheran Church Convention       [Evangelic-Lutheran Church Convention       [Evangelic-Lutheran Church Convention by Marcus Schmöger, 15 August 1997

From June 18th to June 22th 1997 the Evangelic-Lutheran Church in Germany had its Church Convention (Kirchentag) in Leipzig. Such a Kirchentag is the opportunity for all people, belonging to this church or not, to present themselves. Flags were prominently displayed in Leipzig. At the fairground there were about 50 flagpoles with the flag of the Evangelic Church (vertical flag; purple Scandinavian cross on white). The emblem of the Kirchentag itself is a simple Greek cross with a smaller Greek cross in each of the four corners. This was shown on flags as well. The size and the colours differed a lot, so I post four of the variants I have seen. All of them were displayed hanging from the top of a fairground hall.
Marcus Schmöger, 15 August 1997

Die evangelische Binnenschifferseelsorge in Bayern (The Evangelical Inland Shippers’ Spiritual Care in Bavaria)

[Evangelic-Lutheran Church Convention image by Eugene Ipavec, 11 May 2006

Against a background of white above blue, separated by a rainbow (red uppermost), rises a white human figure – probably the Saviour – standing in front of a blue cross; from the foot of the cross, two broad white arrows wheel away.

The flag serves as a backdrop for this page, title (translated): “The Evangelical Inland Shippers’ Spiritual Care in Bavaria on the Internet”: Calling itself, with some humour, the longest parish in Bavaria (670 km along the River Main), it has a full-time spiritual adviser since 1992. It belongs to the Bavarian branch of the Evangelical or Lutheran Church in Germany. I suppose that the above flag specifically addresses the inland navigation people and not a larger segment of the Church’s flock.

Note: There are several comparable Roman Catholic parishes some of which own a “church boat”, moored most of the time, and which use flags or pennants.
Jan Mertens, 10 May 2006

Independent Lutheran Church (Selbständige Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche)

[Evangelic-Lutheran Church Convention image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 7 January 2007

SELK is the abbreviation of "Selbständige Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche", translated "Independent Lutheran Church". It is a German affair only. In 1972 in the Bundesreplublik Deutschland (Western Germany) the "Evangelisch-Lutherische (Altlutheraner) Kirche", the "Evangelisch-Lutherische Freikirche" and the SELK merged, keeping the name of the last one. In 1976 the "Evangelisch-Lutherische Bekenntniskirche" joined the Federation of Churches. In 1991 the Evangelisch- Lutherische (Altlutheraner) Kirche der DDR" also joined the SELK. The roots of SELK are lying in the awakenings-movement of the 19th century. The first parishes were established since 1830. The Lutherans refused the unification of the Lutheran Church and the Reformed Church in Prussia(1817-1830). Despite of heavy suppressions of the Prussian state finally a church, faithful in confession and independent from the state was built. The movement spread out from Pommern and Schlesien all over Prussian lands. In Hessen(1873/74) and Baden(1851) there were similar developments. Refusing liberal theology and rationalism independent Lutheran churches were also established in Sachsen and Hannover, but they remained under the roof of the state-churches in those countries.

The SELK is led by a bishop. The parish is led by a pastor, there is always a managing committee in every parish and an assembly of members. Parishes form a District, led by a superintendent and his convent, controlled by a "Beirat" and a parliament(=district-synod). Districts form a "Sprengel", led by a Probst and his convent. The whole church is ruled by a Kirchenleitung with the bishop as its chairman and the general convent, controlled by a parliament(=synod). For further information click:

Description of the flag:
The banner of the SELK is white with a violet Latin cross all over but not touching the edges of the flag. To distinguish from EKD-flag violet capital letters "SELK"in column-formation are added at the left lower edge of the banner.

SELK-flag was spotted on Easter 2006 in Hamburg-Hamm.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 7 January 2007

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The flag of the largest Lutheran denomination in the US, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, can be seen at, although the prominent spelling mistakes probably make this an "unofficial variant" being used locally in India!
Ned Smith, 22 August 2004

The flag shown in the pictures in India wasn't produced in America. I browsed the site and found that the donator of the flag, NELC, is the Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church in India (so the spelling errors are more understandable). It thus may well be a unique specimen.
Martin Karner, 23 August 2004

Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

The flag of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod is emblazoned: The church's logo--a stylized cross--in burgundy on a white field with burgundy stripes in the fly. An image of the flag can be seen at Concordia Publishing House's Web site.
Peter Guerin, 25 July 2004

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is the second largest Lutheran denomination in the US.  The largest is the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Ned Smith, 22 August 2004

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

[Evangelic-Lutheran Church Convention

The third largest Lutheran denomination in the US has its own flag. A black and white image of the flag of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod may be seen at and, web pages of Northwestern Publishing House, the publications arm of the denomination.

The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod has approximately 445,000 members- about 225,000 in Wisconsin, about 195,000 elsewhere in the US, and about 25,000 in Canada and the Caribbean. The denomination's homepage is at

The flag bears the WELS seal on a solid field. A color image of the seal can be seen at The seal has an outer border, then the name WISCONSIN
EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN SYNOD arranged in a circle with a Lutheran Rose design at the bottom separating the first and last words; within the circle a wreath, within the wreath the phrases Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, and Sola Scriptura, separated by crosses and arranged in a circle; then within that a descending dove with a halo and a red shield with black cross; the dove and shield superimposed on an open bible.
Ned Smith, 25 July 2006

Lutheran Church--Canada

The Lutheran Church-Canada has a somewhat similar flag to that of the Missouri Synod. The Church's homepage says that it developed from Canadian congregations of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and still retains close ties with it, so it isn't surprising that there is some similarity between their flags. Both have a doubly silhouetted cross and thin vertical stripes, but whereas the LC-MS's flag has the cross and stripes in burgundy, and the stripes at the hoist, the LC-C's has the cross and stripes in blue, and the stripes not as close to the hoist (note: I am judging that the linked picture of the LC-MS flag is displaying its hoist to the viewer's right) . There are also a few subtle differences between the shapes of the crosses.
Ned Smith, 22 August 2004