Who We Are
Our congregation is a member of the Laestadian Lutheran Church, which is headquartered in Loretto, Minnesota. The Laestadian Lutheran Church takes its name from Martin Luther and Lars Levi Laestadius. The name of the reformer Martin Luther and his teachings are known around the world. The name of Laestadius is less familiar. Lars Levi Laestadius was a Lutheran pastor who served in northern Sweden from 1825–1861. In 1844, after nineteen years as a pastor, Laestadius was helped into living faith by a woman named Milla Clementsdotter, a member of a group known as “Readers.” Following his conversion, Laestadius's sermons were instilled with a new power, the power of the Holy Spirit. His conversion marked the beginning of a revival movement that soon spread far beyond the borders of Swedish Lapland.
The movement reached North America with Finnish immigrants in the 1860s. Congregations were first formally organized in Cokato, Minnesota in 1872 and Calumet, Michigan in 1873. It arrived to our area, at New York Mills, in the 1870s. Since 1890 a number of schisms have splintered the movement on this continent. The subjects of disagreement have primarily been the understanding of justification, God's congregation, and the sacraments. The last division occurred in 1973 and was the impetus for the establishment of the Laestadian Lutheran Church.
The Laestadian Lutheran Church (LLC) was organized on June 9, 1973 under the name “Association of American Laestadian Congregations” (AALC). The association changed its name in 1995 in order to better convey its spiritual heritage and the nature of its organization. Today the Laestadian Lutheran Church has over thirty member congregations in the United States and Canada. The highest concentrations of members are in Minnesota, Washington, Arizona, Michigan, and Saskatchewan.
The teachings of Laestadianism are based on the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions. Centermost among these teachings is the sermon of Jesus' suffering, death, and victorious resurrection. We believe that the work of Jesus Christ continues in this world as the work of the Holy Spirit in Christ's congregation. Thus the Laestadian Lutheran Church teaches of God's kingdom and preaches repentance and the forgiveness of sins. We hold, in accord with the Lutheran Confessions, that the Bible is the highest guide and authority for Christian faith, doctrine, and life.
The mission of the Laestadian Lutheran Church and its congregations is:
• To preach the gospel of repentance and remission of sins to the people of our communities, our nations, and throughout the world so that they might become partakers with us of the grace that God offers sin-fallen man in His Son Jesus Christ.
• To nurture and strengthen the faith of the believing and root our children in Christian faith in God's kingdom.
• To awaken and inspire Christian values and ethics, soberness of mind, love of homeland, and responsible citizenship among the people of our nations.
In order to accomplish this mission, the Laestadian Lutheran Church arranges and holds services at home and abroad, teaches and supports the teaching of God's Word among children and youth, publishes literature, newspapers, magazines, and recordings. It also works with its sister organizations around the world.