Camrose is in the heart of an area of Alberta that has had a vigorous Lutheran presence for over a hundred years. At the close of the 19th century, Scandinavian Lutherans from the midwestern United States began to flood into Camrose and district, drawn by the availability of land for homesteading. Many of these settlers were God-fearing people for whom it was of utmost importance to have a house of God in their midst.
The antecedent congregation of Messiah Lutheran Church was organized in 1901. By the year 1905, five more Lutheran congregations were organized within a radius of 35 kilometres from Camrose. Ethnically five of these congregations were Norwegian; the sixth, the antecedent of present day Bethel Lutheran in Camrose, was Swedish. Five of these congregations are still alive and active today. Camrose itself, has five Lutheran congregations of which two, Messiah and Bethel are members of the ELCIC.
Three significant Lutheran institutions are located in Camrose. The Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute was established in 1932 by Scandinavian Lutherans. Though it is para-church, the bulk of its students and of its monetary support comes from members of ELCIC congregations. Augustana University College was organized in 1911 by Norwegian Lutheran as Camrose Lutheran College. It is owned by the ELCIC. Bethany Old People's Home established in 1922 by Norwegian Lutherans at nearby Bawlf, was re-located to Camrose in 1949, on land adjacent to the College. Now known as the Bethany Group, the corporation operates its own long-term care centre and three residences for senior as well as administering numerous similar facilities for the Province of Alberta and local municipalities.