Salvadorean Lutheran Synod
(Sínodo Luterano Salvadoreño, SLS)
In 1954 the Missouri Synod (USA) began missionary work in El Salvador; Already in 1965 the first three national pastors were ordained. In 1985 the Salvadorean Lutheran Synod became an autonomous church. The relationship with the Missouri Synod was disrupted in 1986 because of differing views on liberation theology and solidarity with the oppressed, ecumenical commitment, ordination of women, etc. During the war in El Salvador the SLS played an outstanding role, advocating for justice and assisting the displaced and the poor. The church had to pay a high price for its clear prophetic stance: one of its pastors was murdered. Many church workers, including the bishop, received threats and had to go into hiding or flee the country.
The SLS currently has 204 "Communities of Faith and Life", small, well-organized groups in which holistic mission is lived and carried out, and which are connected to the congregations. Each congregation has a pastoral team. After an evaluation in 1998 the church strengthened its executive body and structured the work in four departments: diakonia and development, communication, pastoral work and education. A further review was done in 2004. The SLS implements its work in a holistic way, holding together proclamation and service. It was strongly involved in relief operations following hurricane Mitch and the earthquake of 2001. The church has a strong public profile of advocating for social justice.