Diocese

The Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland (Suomen evankelisluterilainen lähetyshiippakunta, Lhpk) is an independent lutheran church formed by its member congregations. It has been founded to carry out the mission given by the Lord to the Church by supporting the congregations, their pastors and members for the preservation, renewal and spreading of the Christian faith and life.

The Mission Diocese is led by a Bishop elected jointly by the clergy and congregational representatives, together with the diocesan administrative organs. Its activities are directed by the Diocesan Order (constitutional rules) validated by the Diocesan Assembly.

The pastors and other employees its congregations are employed by the background organisations that are responsible for the economy of the congregations. The background organisations are supporting members of the Mission Diocese.

The Mission Diocese is part of the Nordic and worldwide community of confessional Lutherans. The Mission Diocese co-operates with many Lutheran churches, dioceses and organisations.

Confession

The Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland builds its teaching and activities on the intact foundation of the Lutheran heritage of faith. The Mission Diocese confesses the biblical faith and teaching that is based on the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testament and that is expressed in the Lutheran confessions. The Mission Diocese holds as its highest principle that all teaching, practice and life should be tested, executed and directed by the word of God.

The Mission Diocese aspires to nourish the hearers with the preaching of the Gospel, to deepen the knowledge of the Christian faith by teaching and to revive devotional life in homes with hymns and prayers. The varied publications of the Diocese also serve this basic mission of the congregations.

Diocesan Documents

Founding Document

The Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland was founded when the representatives of the congregations signed the founding document. It describes shortly the reasons that were behind founding of the Diocese. At the same time it publicly states the confession of the Diocese and calls for others to join in the work of renewing Lutheran congregational life in Finland.

Diocesan Order

The purpose, structure and operative rules of The Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland are described in the Diocesan Order. In part one it describes the confession, nature and mission of the Diocese. Part two describes the different administrative bodies of the Diocese with their duties. Rules and regulations guiding the activities of the Diocese are described in part three.

Diocesan Order

Coat of Arms of the Diocese

The coat of arms depicts a golden background and a red cup with an octagonal thickening in its stand. The cup may be seen as a chalice that has one one side a golden host stamped with a red St George’s Cross with concave tips. On the other hand, the cup may be seen as a baptismal font. At baptism, the baptised are blessed with the holy sign of the cross.

Coat of Arms of the Bishop

The Bishop’s coat of arms depicts a golden background and a red cup with an octagonal thickening in its stand. The cup may be seen as a chalice that has one one side a golden host stamped with a red St George’s Cross with concave tips. On the other hand, the cup may be seen as a baptismal font. At baptism, the baptised are blessed with the holy sign of the cross.

Above the coat of arms is a mitre (Bishop’s hat). In the background of the coat of arms is a diagonally placed crosier (Bishop’s staff). On its top part of the staff is an octagonal ornament reminding of the eight beatitudes that Jesus stated in his sermon on the mount.

 

Identity

The Mission Diocese is an independent lutheran church under episcopal oversight, formed by congregations. It is part of the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church” confessed in the Creeds. As such, the responsibilities and promises God gives in His word apply to the Diocese, and it is truly a church in accordance with the definition of the Augsburg Confession, Article VII, on account, and by the power, of the means of grace administered within it.

The Mission Diocese was born within the ELCF, and it continues in the Lutheran faith and congregational life that has prevailed in Finland since the 16th century, as a self-governing church.

The Mission Diocese is part of the Nordic and world-wide community of confessional Lutherans, and on that basis it makes connections with all who hold to the same confession, both in Finland and abroad. The Mission Diocese co-operates in many ways with various Lutheran churches and organisations overseas.

The Mission Diocese is a member of:

The Mission Diocese is in full fellowship with:

The Mission Diocese is in official talks with:

Organisation

The basis of the activity of the Mission Diocese are its member congregations. The pastors of the congregations and elected lay delegates together form the Diocesan Assembly. The Diocesan Council, elected by the Diocesan Assembly, plans and executes the administration of the Diocese and the practical matters of its work.

The Bishop bears pastoral responsibility for spiritual and theological matters in the Diocese. The Bishop’s task is to be the overseer of the congregations and the clergy. He is assisted in this work of oversight with a Consistory, consisting of six members. The Consistory is responsible for such tasks as the examination of candidates for ordination, and the reconciliation of conflicts in the congregations. In administrative matters in particular, the Bishop is supported by the Dean of the Diocese. The Bishop and the pastors together form the College of Pastors.

The pastors and congregations of the Diocese are served in matters of administration, communication and various other tasks by the Diocesan Office. The work of the Office is directed by the Dean.

Congregations

The basis of the work of the Mission Diocese are its member congregations. The congregations share the one Lutheran faith. They gather regularly in liturgical worship around the Word and the Sacraments. Each congregation has its own called pastor. To a large extent, their practical life rests on the work of lay volunteers.

The congregations are formed in such a way that they have a name, a membership and a constitution. Whereas the ELCF has a strict parochial form of membership, membership of our congregations is elective and personal, such that membership is based on personal choice rather than a member’s geographical place of abode. Both those who are members of the ELCF and those who are not may be members of the congregations.

Supporting Organisations

The supporting organisations are independent associations or foundations, which function as employers for congregational employees and are responsible for the financial administration of the congregations.

Finance

The work of the Mission Diocese is based on voluntary support. Unlike the established church and its officially recognised service organisations, it does not receive support for its work from the State or the ELCF. The work of the Diocese is made possible through the supporting organisations of the congregations by means of offerings and voluntary donations.