About The Allegheny Synod
We are the Allegheny Synod: Inviting people to love one another
The Allegheny Synod is one of 65 Synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). We are 103 churches across seven counties of central Pennsylvania, located between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. Towns that you may be familiar with in our Synod are State College (home of Penn State University), Clearfield, Altoona, Huntingdon, Bedford, Johnstown, and Somerset.
This is an Appalachian synod, and we are one of a few synods which is completely in the federally-designated Appalachian counties. Many of our people don’t consider themselves to be in Appalachia because of the negative stereotypes that are associated with the region but, we are a collection of loving people, living in the heart of central Pennsylvania, who use what God has blessed us with for the sake of sharing the love of Jesus with this world and within our communities.
Our area is in a time of economic transition. In the past our area was supported by mining, steel production, and the railroad. But -- like many places in our region -- these traditional industries have greatly cut back their production or have left the area. But we also have places of growth in the region. Our universities and colleges continue to be great resources for our region and provide many jobs. Over the past ten years our region has had great investment in the health care industry as well as technology. We continue to be a region where energy production is and always will be central to our economic life. Along with coal mining, we have seen the rise of harnessing wind power and have some of the largest wind farms on the east coast. Agriculture has been and will continue to be a major part of the culture in central PA: we farm just about everything but have a long history of cattle and milk production.
Many of our people have deep roots in their community. Some of them have family that have been here since the original German settlers decided this was a good place to stop after getting off the boat in the 1760s. Our churches have been here for a very long time, with several pre-dating the Revolution and many being over 100 years old.
There is history here -- a connection to the land and a connection to one another. Our people are very loyal to their area, their churches, and to each other. And -- they are very loyal to Penn State and Pittsburgh Steelers football.
The people of the Allegheny Synod are also good stewards of their resources. We are not the largest synod in our region (we are number 6 of 8 in size and budget), yet we are among the top givers in our region. The Allegheny Synod is second in the region (sometimes first) in donating to ministries beyond our borders. Our people love to support international food programs, missionaries, disaster relief and response, colleges and universities.
When there is a need, especially when there are people who are hurting, people of the Allegheny Synod respond -- not out of their abundance but from their heart.
We welcome you and invite you to come join us and get to know us.