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Ordination, Timo Marttinen, Espoo, 6 January 2018

Timo Marttinen, MA (Theol), was ordained into the apostolic Office at Epiphany, 6 January 2018 in Koinonia Chapel, Helsinki. St Thomas Lutheran Congregation in Espoo had extended him a call to replace Rev. Eero Pihlava during his leave of absence. Timo Marttinen used to work as a teacher of religion and philosophy in his university town of Joensuu.

The ordination service was attended by approximately one hundred people. Rev. Eero Pihlava served as liturgist, while Bishop Risto Soramies preached and conducted the ordination. In addition to these two, eight pastors from the Mission Diocese participated in the laying on of hands.

No man is irreplaceable as a pastor, unlike as a father

In the festivities afterwards, there were speeches and musical performances. Mika Tervakangas read the greeting from Rev. Joel Kerosuo, Timo Marttinen’s pastor from St Nehemiah’s Lutheran Congregation in Joensuu, who had fallen ill.

“The exemplary role of the pastor is also linked to the fact that you can live as a pardoned sinner, putting your  trust in your Saviour even in the most impossible situations. Endeavour to live the Christian life as you teach and, above all, to teach that the true life is found from the gifts of Christ, of which gifts you also live and which you now have now been made a custodian of,”  Rev. Kerosuo, also his mentor during his curacy, vicarage, counselled him in the letter.

Rev. Pihlava, who will be concentrating on his doctoral studies for 18 months, guided the newly ordained pastor with three theses: (1) forget your own faith, (2) forget orderliness in the congregation (3.) but do not forget your own family. As a pastor you must forget your own opinions and strive to join in with the faith of the church found in the Holy Bible and the Book of Concord. As a pastor you must not control the activities of the congregation in an oppressive manner, but you should place your trust in your lay people and their activeness. A man is not irreplaceable as a pastor, but yes he is as a husband and a father.

The Office of a pastor (shepherd) is the Office bestowed by Christ

Bishop Soramies quoted Martin Luther when he emphasised that the true content of theology includes two things: first, a guilty and condemned individual, and, secondly, God Who justifies the sinner. We cannot speak about God as if from the outside, as when we speak about a piece of art. But we must always keep in mind that a pastor himself is stepping before God, as are his listeners, to be judged by Him. When this is taken into account everything is set in its proper perspective and the pastor is compelled to teach about Jesus, the Lamb of God, Who has taken away the sin of the world.

In his words of thanks Rev. Marttinen pondered upon the virtues expected in the Bible of shepherds. Thinking of these he felt horrified of the many types of the weakness of the flesh in himself.

“While my own weakness causes a certain angst, I am comforted by the knowledge that this Office is not mine but the Office of Christ.

“It is my prayer in facing this new assignment that I could always hold on to the truth of the gospel in the best possible way and in accordance with the will of Christ,” Rev. Timo Marttinen summarised.

After this ordination, the pastoral collegium of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese has 49 pastors, 24 of whom have a call and 25 of whom work as bi-vocational pastors. The Diocese has work at 38 locations, 32 of which have organized themselves into congregations.