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Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Multilingual worship in Vaasa rounded out with an Irish beat!

On 14 February meetings were held with Bishop Simo Peura of the Finnish Diocese of Lapua. Bishop Simo is pictured above next to Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd in the blue coat, in front of the oldest parish Church in the diocese of Lapua, dating from the 14th century. (The temperature at that moment was about -20 C!). We reviewed the relations of our churches under the Porvoo Agreement and explored possible ways for deeper cooperation. We looked at aspects of ministry to migrants and refugees, particularly Sudanese who have settled in the area of the diocese, and examined issues such as the Church’s role in assisting the integration of immigrant groups into the life of the host nation.

The Diocese of Lapua is includes the city of Vaasa where Fr Amos Manga, a priest of the Diocese in Europe of Sudanese origin, ministers to members of the “White Nile Congregation”. It is also where Deacon David Oliver, an Old Catholic Deacon lives. I licensed David to serve the Anglican Church in Finland at a service that evening. The Finnish Churches in the city also sponsor an international ministry to serve non-Finns. Bishop Simo and I are keen to see all these ministry resources of both our Churches become more focussed and coordinated to attend to the pastoral challenges of the Sudanese community. The Porvoo Agreement which brings our Churches in to full communion provides the way for this to happen and assumes that our Churches will work together in our ministry and mission.
Candidatese for Baptism and Confirmation

Deacon David Oliver
Following the meetings, Bishop Simo, and some of his clergy, joined with me and Anglican clergy in Finland in a remarkable service in Lapua Main Church. 4 languages, Finnish, Swedish, Arabic and English, were used in the liturgy. It included the licensing of a Deacon, baptism, confirmation and admission of members to the Mothers’ Union. Some of the music was accompanied by an Irish folk group “Lassie and the Lads” who are regular performers at a local pub in Vaasa!
Lassie and the Lads

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