The Synod of Lakes and Prairies was formed by action of the 1972 General Assembly effective January 1, 1973 and the meeting to officially organize was January 2-3, 1973 at the Fort Des Moines Hotel in Des Moines, IA. Elder Lee Nelson presided as Moderator and Elder Louise Cox served as the Stated Clerk for the meeting.
The Synod of Lakes and Prairies of the United Presbyterian Church in the United States became the legal and ecclesiastical successor of:
- The Synod of Iowa of the United Presbyterian Church
- The Presbyterian Synod of Minnesota
- The Synod of North Dakota of the Presbyterian Church (with the exception of Box Butte Presbytery)
- The Synod of Nebraska of the United Presbyterian Church
- The Synod of South Dakota of the United Presbyterian Church
- The United Presbyterian Synod of Wisconsin, Inc.
- Board of Trustees of the Synod of Wisconsin of the Presbyterian Church
- Board of Trustees of the Administrative Council of the Synod of Wisconsin of the United Presbyterian Church
The strategy of forming regional Synods was to empower a “more effective performance of the mission of the Church” as well as “sustain the connectional nature of our Church, its strength and it unity.” (Minutes, GA, 1972, p. 354) After meeting with Presbyterian leaders in every part of the country and studying “so many pages of text, statistics, table and maps, that no one person could possibly read, let alone study them in their entirety” (Ibid., p. 355), the committee of the General Assembly proposed 14 Synods. The Synod of Lakes and Prairies was constituted with 323,555 members and was the third largest Synod in terms of membership (behind the Synod of Pennsylvania and West Virginia and the Synod of the Covenant).