Nokia Missio sacked its leader, Markku Koivisto

In the beginning of the 1990's, Markku Koivisto was vicar in the small city of Nokia outside of Tampere in central Finland. The electronics company Nokia was founded in that city, if wou're wondering (and even if you're not). Anyway, Koivisto (no relation to Mauno Koivisto, the President of the Republic in 1982-94) arranged charismatic meetings in his parish. While this is all right, it was felt that he as vicar failed to meet his responsibility to all his parishioners, and thus he got into hot water with the Diocese of Tampere (which I blogged about at the time). In the end, he had to step down as vicar.
He then founded an organisation, Nokia Missio, that arranged meetings at home and abroad, and in 2008 was reorganised as an independent denomination with Koivisto as one of the most prominent leaders. Some free churches feared that Nokia Missio would steal their members, but this threat failed to materialise. While its meetings drew thousands of people, the actual membership of the church stayed at some 400 people. Finns are often naturally conservative.

In August, 2011, came the news that Koivisto was on sick leave, and at the end of the month, Nokia Missio informed that he had been sacked. Apparently, there had been some sexual misconduct on his part. Nothing illegal - thankfully, no children involved! - but immoral. There were speculations about homosexual harrassment.
When Koivisto returned from his sick leave, he claimed that no harrassment had taken place. Last Sunday (11.9.11), he made a statement to his congregation, admitting to "wrong choices", and in particular to a homosexual relationship. Since he was married (to a woman, if that is relevant), the relation was adulterous, which is regrettable. More serious in Koivisto's eyes, however, were the homosexual acts, which he denounced, quoting one of the "clobber passages" from Romans. After his statement, one of the pastors pronounced God's forgiveness and a whole team of pastors prayed for Koivisto. He then left the gathering, and his future is still open.

I am no great friend of either Nokia Missio or Markku Koivisto. I went to a meeting they had in Porvoo a few years back and was not impressed. Neither do I know exactly what now has occurred.
That said, I am gratified that Nokia Missio has taken action. All too often, sexual and other immorality (especially paedophilia) among religious and other leaders is swept under the rug in the name of forgiveness and mercy, and those responsible are not held accountable for their actions. Thus, the situation can continue for years on end, and many people can get hurt. This has happened internationally within the Roman Catholic church and in Finland within the Laestadian revival movement. Hopefully, that will not now be repeated in Nokia Mission. Apparently, whatever else might be said about that church, its leadership is not spineless. Good for them!
I am a bit miffed, however, since the main issue here seems to be Koivisto's apparent bisexuality, not his adultery, which I personally think is far more serious.
Markku Koivisto sivussa Nokia Mission toiminnasta (Kotimaa 19.8.11)
Nokia Mission tiedote 29.8.2011
Kyrkoherdens sexliv gav honom sparken i Nokia (Hufvudstadsbladet 30.8.11)
Nokia Missio erotti Markku Koiviston (Kotimaa 30.8.11)
Markku Koivisto erotettu Nokia Missiosta ( 30.8.11)
Koiviston tehtävistä vapauttamiseen ei liity rikosprosessia (Kotimaa 30.8.11)
Nokiamissionen har sparkat sin grundare (Dagen 31.8.11)
”Koivisto-kultti on median luomus” (Kotimaa 1.9.11)
Radio Dei: Koivisto ahdistellut seksuaalisesti miehiä (Kotimaa 2.9.11)
Markku Koivisto medgav homosexuell relation (STT through Vasabladet 11.9.11)
Markku Koivisto tunnusti syntinsä seurakunnalleen (Kotimaa 11.9.11)
Kohupastori Markku Koivisto myönsi suhteen mieheen (Helsingin Sanomat 11.9.11)
Markku Koivisto tuli kaapista (Dosentin ikkunasta: Raamattu, kirkko ja köyhyys 11.9.11)

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