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Rev. A. Haapanen
Pres., Suomi Synod

The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church (The Suomi Synod)

A. Haapanen

The Suomi Synod celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1930 in connection with its 41st convention at Calaumet, Mich., where it was organized. The convention and anniversary celebration were very inspiring and well represented

by the congregations. The archbishop of Finland was represented by a special delegate, Provost K. R. Kares, a member of the Executive Council of the Diocese of Turku (Åbo). Although the Church is not officially connected with the Church of Finland, yet the participation of the Mother Church in this historical celebration was greatly appreciated.

The Synod is in a transition period. The first generation is rapidly passing away, and the younger generation is gradually taking more active and responsible interest in the work of the Church. The language question and other problems are being solved in the natural way in the process of changing conditions. The English language is coming increasingly into use in Sunday schools, confirmation classes and young people's work, also in church services.

Education

The elementary Christian education has been carried on mostly in the home. Sunday school and summer school. The Board of Education, appointed by the Synod, is in charge of the Sunday schools and young people's work. The young people's work is organized into local societies and conference leagues. The length of instruction for confirmation classes in most congregations is one year.

For higher learning there is one institution, Suomi College and Theological Seminary, located at Hancock, Mich. The College offers a two-year college course, and the Seminary a three-year course. It also has music and commercial departments. Its academy department will be discontinued in 1932. Special attention will be given to the development of the college course and the Seminary. The College put up a campaign to raise $300,000 for an Endowment and Extension Fund in 1930, but on account of this period of depression it was not carried through, only about one third of the sum a being raised. The campaign will be continued when conditions become more favorable.

Missions

The home mission work has been conducted jointly with the United Lutheran Church. This joint work has been going on for ten years. The Canadian work of the Synod was transferred to the United Lutheran Church by decision of the annual convention of Suomi Synod at Eveleth, Minn., 1931, in consonance with the Canadian congregations and mission stations. The work has progressed comparatively well during past years.

Inner mission work is yet in its early stages of development. The Synod has maintained a seamen's mission In San Francisco. The work for orphans and the aged is under development.

Foreign mission work has been carried on jointly with the Foreign Mission Society of Finland. The Synod supports one missionary in China and also aids the work in Africa.

Publications

There are two publication concerns. The oldest one is located at Hancock, Mich., the other one at Astoria, Ore. Both publish several church papers, year books, periodicals and literature for the use of the Church. The Hancock concern has progressed well, the Astoria concern not so well.

Many opportunities are open to the Synod to do earnest and effective work for the promotion of the great cause of the Kingdom.

Published in The Lutheran World Almanac and Encyclopedia, 1931-1933. New York 1932, p. 60-61.

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