On June 8, 1897, the Lutheran Free Church was organized on 12 "guiding principles," one of which was that the local congregation is the primary setting for the church's life and mission.
This fall members of that predecessor to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America celebrated its centennial at Augsburg College, Minneapolis--which earlier was Augsburg College and Seminary. The seminary eventually merged with what's now Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn.
In 1962 the denomination joined the former American Lutheran Church. A minority didn't join and formed the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations.
Gracia Grindal from Luther Seminary translated into English an already popular Norwegian-language opera about Hans Nielsen Hauge's life.
"Hauge led the awakening of Norwegian peasants to their power against an oppressive government and a nearly dead state Lutheran church," Grindal said. "You could say he was the Nelson Mandela of Norway."
The opera--Captive and Free--drew more than 2,000 people to three performances. It was such a sellout that tickets were even sold for the dress rehearsal. Nearly 200 musicians staged the work, which included nine scenes from Hauge's life. Noted Norwegian musician Egil Hovland composed the opera.
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