Salem Hosts Finns
- - Hiippakuntalehti Kumppani
Tampereen hiippakunnan delegaatio oli kesäkuun alussa Delaware Marylandin evankelis-luterilaisen synodin vieraana Amerikassa. Oheisen artikkelin on kirjoittanut yksi isännistä, ja se on julkaistu aiemmin Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church-seurakunnan The Monarch-lehdessä.
Twelve Finns and seven Estonians, delegations of the Tampere Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF) and the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK), respectively, were guests of the Delaware-Maryland Synod for almost two weeks. These two dioceses, along with the Mara Diocese of Tanzania, are sister dioceses of our synod. The Finnish delegation was led by Bishop Matti Repo of the Tampere Diocese and the Estonian delegation was led by Archbishop Urmas Viilma of the EELK. The Finns and Estonians first attended the Synod Assembly in Ocean City and then were dispersed to different host churches in the city. Salem hosted four Finns: Sakari and Paivi Loytty (Ida Smith), Hannes Wallin (Len Johnson and Sirpa Hakkinen), and Pauli Pietilainen (Guy Davis and Norma Hensler-Davis). They worshiped with Salem on two Sundays and a Saturday. On the first Sunday, the Finns presented Salem with a beautiful wooden bread tray and two candle sticks. On the second Sunday, they participated in our worship with Sakari and Pauli reading the lectionary and Hannes and Paivi assisting with communion. In addition, Sakari and Pauli showed off their musical talents with Sakari teaching the congregation his own song ”He Holds Me Tight” while Pauli played ”Salem” by Sibelius on the organ as the postlude. [Videos of these performances and some of those performed at the Synod Assembly are available on Guy Davis’s Facebook page.]
They later met with our pastors and music director, Mary Miller, to share practices and activities of the respective churches. They also visited Old Salem and Pauli and Sakari each had the opportunity to play the hand-pumped organ while the other pumped. Pauli volunteered “It was a pleasure to get to know … all the folks in Salem Congregation. This has been a VERY interesting trip!! Thank you for everything.”
In addition to the time spent with the local congregations, the guests had a busy week. As a group, they visited the Luther Center on Tuesday and met with representatives of Lutheran World Relief (LWR) and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) and followed with lunch and communion with Bishop Wolfgang Herz-Lane at the Synod Headquarters. After some free time at the Inner Harbor, the group visited St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Baltimore and toured the surrounding area. Wednesday, the Salem Finns attended the Men’s Prayer Breakfast and compared American and Finnish culture and churches. They then joined the entire group for a visit to Amazing Grace Church in Baltimore to hear about their ministry to the urban poor, Fort McHenry to learn some Baltimore history, and finally Epiphany Lutheran Church in Baltimore for their Wednesday evening worship. Thursday was a trip to Washington, D.C., to see the museums and monuments. Friday began with a visit to Mar Lu Ridge followed by a trip to the Gettysburg Theological Seminary and the Gettysburg Battleground and a visit to Mt. Joy Lutheran Church, a small rural church that shares a pastor with another small church.
A primary goal of their trip was to hear what works and what does not work in American churches. The Finns were amazed with all the various ministries and activities at Salem and the strong spirit of volunteerism of our congregation. In Finland, all church activities are run by paid staff. Although approximately three quarters of all Finns are members of the Lutheran Church by virtue of paying the church tax as part of their income tax, membership and attendance is declining and the church desires to promote participation in the church. Bishop Repo summed up his visit with “Six churches in Baltimore, each have their own profile. Each, however, has the same mission, Christ’s love in the lives of people. Each congregation is trying to build up contact with the inhabitants of the neighborhood.”
Lue myös The Monarchin edellisen numeron juttu vierailusta sivuilta 10-11: Monarch_v39_no6_June 2015