In the 19th century, like in many german states, the reformed and lutheran churches were forcefully united by the government of Niederhessen. This union was resisted by many conciously lutheran Christians. At Melsungen the parish members concentrated around their pastor Villmar. They held fast onto the old lutheran, hessian church structure, and united with other parishes in the region. In various other regions in Germany other "free" lutheran churches had been constituted which were independent of the government. They were initially prosecuted, but eventually they gained recognition. In 1972 these lutheran churches in Germany united to the SELK, among which the 'old-lutheran' church was the most well known. The SELK is a Body of the Public Law, but is however independent of the government, and we collect no church-tax. The SELK is funded by its members.