A1 Journal article – refereed

'Holy and Important Duty' - The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as a Preserver of the Finnish Language and Culture from the 1890s to 1920s

List of Authors: Meriläinen J.

Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers

Publication year: 2019

Journal: Journal of Migration History

Journal name in source: Journal of Migration History

Volume number: 5

Issue number: 1

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/23519924-00501007


From its establishment in 1892 until the 1920s the largest Finnish ethnic church in the United States, the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, better known as the Suomi Synod, was among the staunchest defenders of Finnish language and culture. The synod built a network of Sunday and summer schools, coordinated by the Michigan-based Suomi College, that not only offered religious instruction but also spread the Finnish language and national romantic ideals to immigrant children. Tightening immigration laws and increasing demands for national unity in the 1920s led many immigrant institutions, including the ethnic Lutheran churches, to Americanisation. A debate concerning a language reform also started in the Suomi Synod, but was rejected by the nationalistic-minded wing. Adherence to the Finnish language alienated the younger generation and led to a drastic but temporary decline in the church’s membership.

Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 08:38