Press Release 16 November 2020
The Mission Diocese Declares Church Fellowship with the Missouri Synod
The Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland held its annual Diocesan Assembly at the Koinonia Centre in Helsinki on 14 November 2020. The Diocesan Assembly is the supreme decision-making body in the Mission Diocese. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, representatives from 38 congregations and their head pastors participated in the meeting online.
In addition to statutory matters, the declaration of church fellowship with The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) was on the agenda. The Missouri Synod is a confessional Lutheran church body in the United States of America with ca. two million members.
The Diocesan Assembly unanimously accepted the recognition of full communion with the LCMS.
In his letter addressed to the Diocesan Assembly, Missouri Synod President Matthew Harrison wrote that he rejoiced in being authorised to declare the recognition of altar and pulpit fellowship with the Mission Diocese.
– Your hospitality, service to Christ, and commitment to Scripture and to the Lutheran Confessions in the face of opposition, remain an example and encouragement to me and to our entire church. It is with special joy and thanksgiving that I write on behalf of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod humbly to extend our hand of fellowship to the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland.
– We look forward to a strong relationship based upon our common confession of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, wrote President Harrison in his letter.
Risto Soramies, Bishop of the Mission Diocese, who led the discussions of church fellowship with the LCMS, told the Assembly that full communion does not mean the renunciation of our independence or spiritual tradition but altar and pulpit fellowship on the basis of a common faith.
– Now our congregants may receive Holy Communion with each other and our pastors may preach at one another’s Divine Services. Our co-operation will certainly deepen in theological education and in the mission field – the Missouri Synod is, after all, a strong global operator. It is encouraging for us to see how the Mission Diocese is being recognised as a church body and how our work is being appreciated, Bishop Soramies sheds light on the significance of the decision.
Secretariate of the Mission Diocese
Diocesan Secretary Mr. Sami Niemi
tel. +358 (0)50 5225 855