ELCF extends hand to immigrants

A remnant of the bond between Church and State in Finland is the fact that members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF) have to have a registered home municipality in Finland. Citizenship is not required, however.

Now, the ELCF is endeavouring to help immigrants join its ranks. Most immigrants, a majority of which are nominally Christian, do have a registered home municipality, but some, especially refugees, do not.
In September, the House of Bishops gave support to a change in the law to allow immigrants to join even if they do not have a registered home municipality. Archbishop Kari Mäkinen says the aim is to ensure that immigrants could join any congregation without legal obstacles. I welcome this move; it is about time!

The ELCF has developed various services for immigrants over the years mainly in big cities. Other denominations also offer similar services. Membership of non-Lutheran denominations such as The Finnish Free Church or the Finnish Orthodox church does not require registration.

Evangelical Lutheran Church extends hand to immigrants (YLE News 14.9.11)
Ingen finsk hemort inget hinder för medlemskap (Kyrkpressen 15.9.11)

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