HT: Prof. Tighe
Finnish Confessional Lutherans Organize a Free-standing DioceseTwenty-two congregations of Luther Foundation Finland (Luther-Säätiö) have joined with three independent Confessional congregations to form a new, free-standing church body. The organizing convention for the new Evangelical-Lutheran Mission Diocese in Finland was held March 16 in Lahtis, Finland. Retired Dean Risto Soramies was elected to serve as the first bishop. Soramies will be consecrated May 4 in Helsinki by Auxiliary Bishop Matti Väisänen of the Mission Province in Sweden and Finland.
Discussions and preparations for the re-organization have been under way for the past year. The development reflects the rapid growth of confessional congregations in Finland and the desirability of having the new diocese organized within Finland. Bishop Väisänen asked to retire this spring, and will step down after consecrating Bishop-elect Soramies.
The newly elected bishop has spent most of the past 40 years outside Finland, working with Muslim immigrants in Germany and in Lutheran churches in Istanbul. He is considered among the leading experts in Finland on Muslim theology and outreach to Muslims.
Eight of Luther Foundation Finland’s pastors were ordained in Sweden in the Mission Province. Since Bishop Väisänen was consecrated in 2010, he has ordained twelve more men.
Website of the new diocese:(Finnish language) http://www.lhpk.fi/uutiset/
risto-soramies- lahetyshiippakunnan- ensimmaiseksi-piispaksi/(Swedish language) http://www.lhpk.fi/sv/nyheter/ risto-soramies- missionsstiftets-forsta- biskop/Attached: photo of bishop-elect Risto Soramies Christopher C. Barnekov, PhDScandinavia House Fort Wayne1925 Saint Joe Center RDFort Wayne, IN 46825