“Finnish ministry in Montreal is at a crossroads,” says Samuli Vuokila, the Chair of the Congregational Council of St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Montreal. “The older demographic of immigrants who settled in Montreal and other places, and took part in congregational activities, is past. Montreal, like other larger cities, now receives Finns primarily as students, as spouses of Canadians, and as transient workers on various forms of contracts.”
St. Michael’s congregational council, Finnish pastors and pastors to Finns along with other interested persons gathered together to vision possible futures for the congregation and to seek the best ways forward for ministry in the congregation.
After the productive and inspiring visioning session led by Pastor Matthew Anderson, people from both St. Michael’s and St. John Estonian congregation as well as other Lutheran congregations joined in bidding farewell to Pastor Matthew who is moving to the United Kingdom. Pastor Matthew has served St. Michael’s Finnish congregation since 2008 and St. John Estonian congregation since 2015.
Pastor Matthew tells the story of the scarf: Each of seven Finnish women took the project home, and added a section of the scarf using Finnish wool that had some meaning to them and to me. There's blue and white from Finland's 100th anniversary last year. There's grey wool left over from the Finnish veteran's projects. So the scarf represents at least seven households. To my mind, it's a ritual object representing the Finnish community. I LOVE IT.