Laestadianism outside Finland

We thought it might be a good idea to make a mention of Laestadianism outside the Nordic countries. So here’s some info in a nutshell.

It’s probably not a surprise that the biggest congregations outside northern Europe can be found in North America where Laestadianism came with immigrants in the end of the 19th century. Since then several new lines have been born due to internal disagreements and it’s not easy to get the whole picture of the situation today. It also looks like that the Laestadian movement in America is constantly in a state of flux.

These are some of the biggest churches:

- Laestadian Lutheran Church LLC (Conservative Laestadian)

- Apostolic Lutheran Church ALC

- Old Apostolic Lutheran Church (Firstborn)

Small Laestadian congregations can be found in more exotic places too. Quick survey in the internet shows that all the biggest branches in Finland and The United States do missionary work and that some of this work has apparently been quite fruitful.

The Laestadian New Revival (Uusheräys) has organised its missionary work through The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (Suomen Lähetysseura), but the others seem to do they missionary work rather independently. Work has concentrated in the nearby areas like Russia and Estonia, but also to destinations in Africa, South-America and China.

Different branches have different perceptions about missionary work. Most of them emphasize the importance of the mission amongst their own, but there are also those who question whether or not missionary work should be done abroad at all.

I found interesting how some Conservative Laestadians seem to think that missionary work should be done when the time is right and the people are ready to hear the word. It seems that the Laestadian mission doesn’t seem to be as aggressive as in some other Christian denominations.

More info:

Laestadianism in America

Laestadian missionary work in general

Looking forward to your comments!



Mika Luoma-aho | 5 February 2010 at 15:04

Dear All please welcome Mari, who works as our project's research assistant over the spring term. THX Mari for an informative piece!

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