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Northwest District (LCMS) Board of Directors Records

Identifier: NWD-01

Scope and Contents

The collection primarily consists of the records of the actions of the governing board of the Northwest District.

The records prior to 1941 reflect the organization of the District. They include the minutes of the Mission Board in both German and English translation. Also included are reports of the Field Secretary, 1921-1943; records of the Board of Trustees; records of the Church Extension Board; and financial reports. Beginning with 1942, the records consist of the minutes, agendas, occasional correspondence, financial reports, and reports of the Board of Directors, along with reports to the Board by the standing committees. Grouping is by year.

The Records are organized into three series: The folders in Series I contain extant documents from the beginning of the district until 1942 when the Board of Directors was created. Series II contains financial records and is divided into two Subseries. Subseries I contains financial record books with details on income and expenses from 1899-1949. Folders 22 and 23 in Series I contain some early financial documents. Subseries II contains the audited financial reports from 1933 to the present. For the years missing from the list, the folders with the meeting minutes contain financial reports that are not audited. The folders in Series III for the Board of Directors (beginning in 1942) contain the minutes of the Board meetings, along with extant agendas, treasurer's reports, correspondence, and reports from the standing committees.


  • 1899 - 2008

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English and German.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for research by appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

The Northwest District Archives is the owner of the materials in the Northwest District Board of Directors Collection and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Northwest District Archives before any reproduction use. Copyright resides with the creator of the documents or their heirs. The status of copyright is governed by the Copyright Law of the U. S. (Title 17, U.S.C.). In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Historical Note

What is today called The Northwest District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod was first organized as the California and Oregon District in 1887.

In 1899, a reorganization led to the formation of the Oregon and Washington District (including Idaho), and, effective 1 January 1949, the name was changed to The Northwest District of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

The District was first administered by a District President, a Treasurer, and separate boards, including a Mission Board, a Board of Trustees, a Board for Church Extension (formed in 1910), and a School Board. Extant records of the various boards are detailed in the following pages in Series I. The Mission Board was the most important and most active group as reflected in the quantity of their minutes.

A proposal to the 1927 general synod convention to divide the district into the Oregon District and the Washington District was not acted upon until 1930 when the synodical convention referred the matter to the congregations. Considerable discussion followed. The proposal eventually failed, and the district remained intact (see Series I, Folder 35 for details).

The delegates to the June, 1942, convention of the Oregon-Washington District approved the formation of a Board of Directors, made up of six pastors, one teacher, and five laymen. Along with a chairman and a secretary, the board was to have five standing committees: Mission Committee, Committee on Stewardship and Finance, Church Extension Committee, Committee on Christian Education, and a Committee on Student Support and Young People's Work. The District President and the District Treasurer were to be ex officio members of the Board of Directors. After the Board of Directors organization was approved and members elected at the district convention, the first organizational meeting of the new board was held June 30, 1942.

The office of Executive Secretary was created in June, 1943, to work full-time under the Board of Directors. The office was filled by Rev. William H. Hillmer who served until 1949 when he was succeeded by Rev. Amos Schmidt. The Executive Secretary was an advisory member of the Board and served as recording secretary. At the same time, the District established a central District business office in downtown Portland.

According to Archivist Carl Nitz, in a memo dated October 30, 1975,

“Fortunately, much of our holdings from the earlier days of the District come from the files of the original Ehrw. Missions-Kommission – which were preserved in a safe which was located in the basement of Zion church, the mother church of Missouri Synod Lutheranism in Portland. -- A very natural arrangement, since the meetings of the Mission Board were held there for many years.

“The period between the days of the Mission Board and the organization of the Board of Directors suffers from a lack of similar materials, probably because no central depository was available.”

In response to a mandate from Resolution 3-04 of the 1994 District convention, a Task Force on District Structure and Staffing began a two-year process of study and planning for a restructuring of District operations. Subsequently, the Board of Directors, in March 1996, approved the recommendations of the Task Force that the Board change from the role of managing to the role of leading, and that the Board abolish District committees in favor of ad hoc task forces.


19 Linear Feet (in 16 cartons)


Minutes, correspondence, financial reports, committee reports, and other documents produced by and for the Board of Directors.


Arrangement is generally chronological within each series.


Further accruals are expected.

Related Materials

Reports from the Board of Directors to the District Conventions are located in the District Conventions record group.

Guide to the Northwest District (LCMS) Board of Directors Records An Inventory at the Northwest District Archives
Nolan R. Bremer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding Aid is written in English.
Encoding of finding aid supported by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission

Repository Details

Part of the Northwest District (Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod) Archives Repository

Northwest District Archives
Concordia University
2811 NE Holman St.
Portland Oregon 97211-6099 USA