|Archbishop Archbishop of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad|
Associations Lutheran World Federation, World Council of Churches, Conference of European Churches, Porvoo Communion
The Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad (LELCA) (Latvian: Latvijas Evaņģēliski luteriskā baznīca ārpus Latvijas (LELBA); German: Lettische Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche im Ausland) is a Lutheran denomination with a presence in Latvia, Australia, Sweden, United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, which it joined in 1947. It is also a member of the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches and part of the Porvoo Communion. The church was originally established by refugees after the Second World War, when Latvia was occupied and incorporated into the Soviet Union.
In 2014 it was announced that Lauma Lagzdins Zusevics, an American, was the first woman elected Archbishop of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad.
In 2016, the church established itself within Latvia, and Archbishop Zusevics stated that it would have to change its name accordingly. Later that year the Evangelical Cross Congregation of Liepāja left the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia (LELB/ELCL) and joined the LELBA/LELCA instead due to its support for the ordination of women which the LELB/ELCL had banned the previous week. The split between the two churches thus became less geographic and more theological.