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The Apostolic Lutheran Congregation of Detroit

13254 Thomson Avenue

The Apostolic Lutheran Congregation of Detroit, being the oldest Finnish church organization in Detroit, was incorporated and its bylaws and incorporation papers affixed with the stamp and seal of the State of Michigan at Lansing on December 6, 1917. A copy of incorporation was filed with the Register of Deeds, Wayne County, on December 10, 1917, whereunto the following nine trustees as charter members have subscribed their names on the 22nd day of January A.D. 1918: Oscar Karinen, John Narhi, Isaac W. Lakso, Peter Wissi, Arthur Olson, Matt Kangas, Carl Person Pyyny, Rudolph Bekkala, and August Niemi.

But long before this, since 1914, the first members of the Apostolic Lutheran Congregation used to meet in their homes, in rented churches and schoolhouses, to conduct their services. Until 1920 the concregation was served by visiting ministers, such as pastors Arthur Leopold Heideman and his son Paul Arthur Heideman of Calumet, Michigan, both of whom had been educated at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and ordained as ministers of the State Clergy in Finland.

In 1920 the Apostolic Lutheran Congregation of Detroit called Rev. Jacob Halvary to be their first resident pastor. He held the pastorate until his death in 1929. In 1931 the Rev. John N. Nelson was called from his pastorate of the Apostolic Lutheran Congregation at Cokato, Minnesota, to take charge of the pastorate in Detroit, which office he has held for the past 20 years. This congregation still functions as an independent church. In 1921 they acquired their own first church, a wooden frame building, at 13254 Thomson Avenue.

In 1925 the wooden church was torn down and in its place a basement church was built. In this basement church services were conducted until 1940, when the present church building was erected. The church being of Swedish architecture is a structure 50 x 80 feet, with a balcony and full basement. The church architecture is imposing and austere, yet so very homey in its simplicity. The services are inspiring in their simplicity. In her religious services, the congregation adheres strictly to the command of Christ: That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name. Luke 24:47. The command in John 20.23 is emphasized.

The parsonage of our church is located at 1957 Buena Vista West.

The officials and members of the Board of Trustees are: Kalle Seiteri, Chairman, 18506 Ardmore; Ivar Lassila, Secretary, 14304 Freeland; Chas. Soronen, Treasurer, 15746 Princeton. Additional members of the Board of Trustees are: John Kangas, Waino Jurva, Leo Moilanen, Arnold Helttunen, Rudolph Bekkala, Carl Seiter.

Services are conducted in both the English and Finnish languages.

Published in the Finnish Album to Commemorate Detroit's 250th birthday. Detroit, Michigan 1951, p. 19.

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