Our History

We were founded in Berkeley, California in 1952. The Seminary’s history extends to the Pacific Theological Seminary, established in Portland, Oregon in 1910, before moving to Seattle, Washington in 1914. We merged with California Lutheran University in 2014.

Seminary in the West, and Now Beyond

We were begun especially to meet the missional needs of Lutheran churches in the western U.S. —frontier contexts in which churches face ever new challenges and opportunities. Today we remain as the only ELCA seminary in the western half of the US, covering 13 states and two-thirds of the country. Yet today our students come from throughout the U.S. and world, and are called to ministries all across this country and world.

Cooperative Ventures

During the 1960s we began enriching our educational resources through cooperative institutional ventures. In 1962, with other Protestant and Roman Catholic seminaries, and the University of California, Berkeley, we founded the Graduate Theological Union. In 1963 we formalized our relationship with the American Lutheran Church. By 1985 we were jointly operated by the American Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Church in America, and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches.

Institutional Agility

We are the youngest ELCA seminary, located in an area that fosters innovation and new ways of being faithful to God’s calling. Our curriculum and formation continue to be revised, so as to more effectively prepare persons for ministries in the church that is emerging in the 21st century. Intentional Lutheran understandings and practices are creatively developed in contexts that are multicultural, pluralistic and global.