Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America

The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (commonly known as the Suomi Synod, Finnish: Amerikan suomalainen evankelis-luterilainen kirkko) was a Lutheran church body which existed in the United States from 1890 until 1962.[1]

Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
Old Main Suomi College Hancock MI 2009.jpg
Old Main at the FELC's Suomi College in Hancock, Michigan
RegionMichigan and other states
HeadquartersCalumet, Michigan
OriginMarch 25, 1890
Calumet, Michigan
Branched fromEvangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
Merged intoLutheran Church in America (1962)
Congregations153 (1961)
Members36,274 (1961)
Ministers105 (1961)
Tertiary institutionsSuomi College and Theological Seminary
Other name(s)Suomi Synod


Finnish Evangelical Church in Hancock, Michigan

The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (FELC) was organized at Calumet, Michigan in 1890. FELC was defined more by its Finnish ethnic origin than by any specific theological strain. In 1896, the church established Suomi College and Theological Seminary (now called Finlandia University) in Hancock, Michigan. It is the only private institution of higher learning in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and the only remaining university in North America founded by Finnish immigrants.[2]

FELC was one of the Lutheran church bodies that merged into the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) in 1962. At that time, FELC had 36,274 members and 105 ministers in 153 congregations, and was the smallest of LCA's founding church bodies.[3] The LCA was subsequently party to the merger that created the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 1988.[4]


  • Juho K. Nikander (1890–1898)[5]
  • Kaarle Leonard Tolonen (1898–1902) [6]
  • Juho K. Nikander (1902–1919)
  • John Wargelin (1919–1919)
  • Alvar Albert Rautalahti (1919–1922)
  • Alfred Haapanen (1922–1950)
  • John Wargelin (1950–1955)[7]
  • Raymond Waldemar Wargelin (1955–1962)[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Marianne Wargelin. "Finnish Americans". Advameg, Inc. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  2. ^ "Suomi College Finnish Heritage". Finlandia University. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  3. ^ "Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church (Suomi Synod)". American Denomination Profiles. Association of Religion Data Archives. Retrieved August 27, 2016.
  4. ^ "Finnish Lutherans in America". Concordia Publishing House. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  5. ^ "Nikander, Juho Kustaa". Concordia Publishing House. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  6. ^ Holmio, Armas Kustaa Ensio (2001) History of the Finns in Michigan (Wayne State University , page 188) ISBN 9780814329740
  7. ^ "Wargelin, John (1881 - 1970)". Biografiakeskus. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  8. ^ "Wargelin, Raymond Waldemar, Papers". College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota. Retrieved April 15, 2016.

Other sourcesEdit

  • Wolf, Edmund Jacob (1889) The Lutherans in America; a story of struggle, progress, influence and marvelous growth (New York: J.A. Hill)
  • Bente, F. (1919) American Lutheranism Volume II (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House)
  • Nichol, Todd W. (1986) All These Lutherans (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishers)

External linksEdit