Remembering our history

Steadfast Since 1884

140 years ago, the Danish-Norweigan Free Church planted its first church. It still stands strong today.

2024 is a year of celebration for the EFCA. It was in 1884, 140 years ago, that a number of historic events occurred.

In October, we’ll recognize the founding of the Swedish Evangelical Free Church in Boone, Iowa, as a body of local churches working together — some of which were already 10-15 years old. In 1950, the Swedish Free Church merged with the Danish-Norwegian Free Church Association to form the EFCA as we know it today.

The first Danish-Norwegian church to organize was in Tacoma, Washington. Known as the Scandinavian Free Congregational Church, it formally organized on January 12, 1884, exactly 140 years ago today. In 1908, it assumed the name of Elim Evangelical Free Church. Though the church has had its ups and downs over the years, God has been good, and the church remains strong. They’re now in a building in Puyallup, Washington, 20 miles from where it was founded.   

The second Danish-Norwegian church was the Norwegian Evangelical Free Church of Boston, founded in January 1885. Other churches were meeting but did not officially organize until later. 

Elim has done a good job preserving its history and sharing it on its website, even as we encourage all churches to do. Such a recorded history helps us all to celebrate what God has done and continues to do over the years. 

Join us in rejoicing over what God has done in the EFCA, and in the history of churches like Elim who have persevered and maintained their witness over the decades. 

Tom Cairns

Tom Cairns is the archivist for the EFCA. A physician who worked for 19 years in Congo, Tom later served as director of international ministries for the EFCA mission, now known as ReachGlobal. Since retirement, Tom enjoys sharing stories about the history of the EFCA, answering questions from our churches and helping the churches with their own stories. He also uploads our historical books, photos and documents to our archive website. Tom’s great desire is to bring glory to God as we celebrate the history we have in the EFCA.

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