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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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To Russia, with love

ELCA Finnish-Americans focus on outreach and global mission

What do seed potatoes, Bibles, an 18-year-old from Pitkäranta, Russia, and thousands of dollars in gifts have in common? They're all part of the mission work of Suomi Conference USA, a 40-year-old organization of Finnish Lutherans with 50 member congregations.

"We're a very small part of the ELCA, yet the leadership of the ELCA says that no other ethnic conference of the church can touch what we are doing," said Antti Lepisto, Suomi Conference president. He said its ministry has evolved from care of older Finns to outreach.

One of the conference's most visible ministries is its relationship with Russia's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria, the fastest growing Lutheran denomination in Europe.


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July issue

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