Who We Are

Greater Milwaukee Synod

The Greater Milwaukee Synod (GMS) is a geographic grouping of congregations, extending from Sheboygan down to the Illinois border and from Lake Michigan to the western edge of Waukesha County. We are one of 65 synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). This synod is made up of 115 congregations, 4 Synod Authorized Worshiping Communities, and 59,143 baptized members in southeastern Wisconsin led by Bishop Paul D. Erickson and a 17-member synod council.

Diverse Ministries

Within this territory, faithful ministry takes place in diverse congregational settings that are urban, suburban and rural, worshiping in five different languages on Sunday, including Spanish, Hmong and Lao.


In addition to ministry in congregational settings, we spread the Gospel through:

  • campus ministry site at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee;

  • specialized ministries such as Outreach for Hope, the Kujichagulia Lutheran Center, the ELCA Urban Outreach Center in Kenosha, Serenity Inns and the Racine Vocational Center;

  • ELCA chaplains, who serve at hospitals and care facilities such as Luther Manor (Wauwatosa) and Lincoln Lutheran (Racine) and with Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan;

  • Carthage College in Kenosha, one of 28 ELCA colleges and universities.

Reconciling in Christ

At the 1991 Synod Assembly, voting members declared the synod to be Reconciled in Christ, affirming that “gay and lesbian people share with all others the worth that comes from being loved and forgiven children of God.” 

Anti-Racist Identity

At the 1998 Synod Assembly, voting members created the Anti-Racism Team, charged with working on racial and diversity training because of growing polarization between white persons and people of color, and the rise of hate-based crime and speech in the synod territory. In 2003 the voting members voted to call the Anti-Racism Team to serve as a resource to help congregations begin to lift up cross-cultural and diversity concerns as well as to promote anti-racism training for synod rostered leaders, staff and congregational members. 

Greater Milwaukee Synod Land Acknowledgment

We acknowledge that the congregations of the Greater Milwaukee Synod meet and worship on the ancestral lands of the Potawatomi, Ojibwe, Odawa (Ottawa), Fox, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sauk, and Oneida people. We also acknowledge that the legacies of violence, displacement, dispossession, migration, and trauma still impact these communities, and we invite all our congregations and leaders to learn more about this painful history and to explore ways to bring about justice, even as we strive to be respectful stewards of this land.