Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland visit CTE
On Friday, the 20th of March 2015, ten visitors from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland met David Cornick and Jim Currin at the CTE office. There were the seven senior vicars from the parishes in Vantaa and one from Helsinki, plus the administrative director and the director of the common parish work of the Vantaa Parish Union.
Vantaa lies next to Helsinki. There are 211 000 inhabitants, of which many are immigrants (mainly 1st and 2nd generation). The average level of education is lower than in other cities in the capital area, houses and flats are cheaper, and there are many industrial employments. Also the Helsinki Airport lies in Vantaa.
Around 60 % of the people in Vantaa are members of the Evangelical Lutheran parishes. There is one parish for the Swedish-speaking minority, and six Finnish parishes. Their work is tax financed: the church collects tax from its members. In Vantaa the tax rate is 1 % of earned income. Each parish has several priests and other employees.
When David Cornick and Jim Currin introduced the work of CTE, the guests were especially impressed by the strong focus on the common mission, evangelization and social work of churches. Things that are done by paid church workers and maybe some volunteers in the majority church of Finland, are mainly done by volunteers in England. And it is possible to do all this in spite of theological and liturgical differences between the member churches of CTE. Sometimes different opinions and practices take a lot of energy even in a single parish, so it is good to keep the focus outside, on how we are called to serve our community and our world as Christians.
David Cornick closed up the meeting by saying that if you are in Christ, you are in Christ with your brothers and sisters. After this meeting we all have a couple of new brothers and sisters to pray for, and we will go on doing that.
(Laura Maria Latikka)