The Republic of Finland
World Convention is currently building a global reference for the countries and territories where we know there are Christian – Churches of Christ – Disciples of Christ Congregations. Of the 193 United Nations States, the Stone-Campbell Movement exists in 165. This listing includes other nations and territories, numbering 194 countries where there is at least one representation of our churches.
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Finland is the most northerly country on continental Europe (with the exception of a small section of Norway which cuts Finland from the Arctic Sea) making much of the country snowbound for many months of the year. Among the earliest inhabitants of modern Finland were an Asiatic people known as the Lapps or Sami. Displaced by tribes from the Volga in the seventh century, the Lapps were forced north where their descendant number only about 2,500 today, maintaining their own language and culture and tend herds of reindeer. The Vikings followed and by the twelfth century the Swedes had invaded bringing Christianity with them. Finland was under Swedish control for 650 years, until 1809 when the Russians took over. With the Russian Revolution of 1917 the Finns seized independence. Finland is a Republic with a single legislative body known as Parliament.
The religious landscape is dominated by the Evangelical Lutheran Church which claims almost 90% of the population.
While several of the Scandinavian countries have a traceable presence of the Stone-Campbell Movement which dates back to the late nineteenth century the source of the Movement in Finland is unclear at present. By at least 1928 a group of “Bible Christians” was known among the Mordva tribe of Finns (Christian Standard, July 21, 1928, 708). At the 1935 World Convention in Leicester, England Finland was represent by W. Krauel of Kapyla, Suomi, Finland. Additional information on this groups has yet to be uncovered. In 1984 Joe Shulam of Israel, together with several Americans, began making evangelistic trips into Finland on behalf of the a cappella Church of Christ tradition and discovered what was thought to be an indigenous Movement with three our four groups meeting in various locales. It is unclear if these groups were related to the earlier presence of the Movement represented in 1935 at the World Convention.
In 1960 two American families and one family of new Zealanders were living in Finland and began to meet together as an a cappella congregation. Part of this group later moved to Tampere but they ceased to meet in 1977. Timothy and Maria Tucker made a number of trips into Finland to work with believers and later moved there on a more permanent basis. Between 1990 and 1993 several congregations were said to have sprung up almost spontaneously but no contact information has been located. A former Lutheran pastor in Tampere, Ole Brunell began advancing the New Testament pattern in about 1992. Some activity has also taken place in Tampere through the efforts of the Arnold Pylkas family, Americans of Finnish ancestry. A Harding University campaign group also went to Finland in 1996.
International Churches of Christ have a church in Helsinki.
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
Revised by Gary Holloway, December 5, 2013
For further historical reference:
Churches of Christ Around the World, Lynn, Mac, 21st Century Christian Publications, Nashville, TN, 2003.
Contact Arnold Pylkas
701 N. Maple Street
Searcy, AR 72143-3620
Telephone: (501) 268-6004
Email: email@example.comIn Finland:
Telephone: 011-358-77-75118 or within Finland 977-75118