Estland: The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church is again a worldwide church

The XXX General Synod of the EELC decided at its meeting on November 29, 2017 to accept congregations that used to belong to the EELC Diocese Abroad (as of July 16, 2017) into the EELC as diaspora congregations. The General Synod of the EELC also decided to form a EELC North-American diaspora deanery to replace North-American deanery. „Due to the global reunification, the boundaries of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church are no longer determined by the territory of our state. This was the Estonian Lutheran church one hundred years ago,“ commented this significant event Bishop Tiit Salumäe. Despite the interim changes in the regime, cooperation with Estonian communities abroad has never ceased, explained Bishop Salumäe.

One important milestone in the process of the reuniting was the publishing of the church’s hymn and prayer book in 1991, which was jointly prepared by Estonian congregations at home and abroad. In spring 2017, the EELC Swedish deanery joined the EELC in Estonia. The acceptance of the Estonian congregations abroad into the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church will result in even greater international cooperation and better governance. „The Estonian deaneries abroad have now become full members of the General Synod, while all congregations are operating in the legal space of their own country,” the Bishop names the changes that the accession brings.

The following congregations were accepted into the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church:

The United States of America: Baltimore St. Mark’s Congregation, Michigan congregation, Minneapolis Congregation (Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Minneapolis), New York Congregation (Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Paul’s in New York), Portland congregation;

Australia: Canberra congregation, Melbourne St. Paul’s congregation, Sydney St. John’s congregation;

Canada: Hamilton Congregation (First Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Hamilton), Montreal St. John’s Congregation, Toronto St. Peter’s Congregation, Vancouver St. Peter’s Congregation;

Germany: Congregation in Germany;

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: Estonian congregation in London.

The use of the historical names of the three congregations operating in the United States and Canada is officially allowed also after the adoption of this decision.

Into the EELC North-American deanery the following diaspora congregations that are situated in the United States and Canada were accepted: Baltimore St. Mark’s Congregation, Hamilton Congregation (First Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Hamilton), Michigan congregation, Minneapolis Congregation (Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Minneapolis), Montreal St. John’s Congregation, New York Congregation (Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Paul’s in New York), Portland congregation; Toronto St. Peter’s Congregation, Vancouver St. Peter’s Congregation. (Quelle: www.eelk.ee, 11. Januar 2018)