Our Mission, Our History
The mission of our central organization, 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.
Please visit the Laestadian Lutheran Church website for further information on our central organization and how to receive additional scriptural teachings on our faith.
WHO WE ARE
Detroit Laestadian Lutheran Church History
The Detroit Laestadian Lutheran Church is a member of the Laestadian Lutheran Church which has its headquarters in Loretto, Minnesota. The church is named after the reformer Martin Luther and Lars Levi Laestadius, a Lutheran pastor who served in northern Sweden from 1825-1861. In 1844, Laestadius was awakened into living faith and a movement which bears his name began and spread far beyond Swedish Lapland.
The Laestadian movement reached North America with congregations forming in the 1870’s in Cokato, Minnesota and Calumet, Michigan. Among the immigrants seeking employment in the rapidly growing automotive industry at the turn of the century in Detroit were Laestadians. As early as 1915, city directories list their names and occupations such as machinist, tire worker, riveter and auto worker.
Laestadians in Detroit held their first recorded meeting at the boarding house of Oscar Karinen at 187 Forsyth Street on February 14, 1917. The Apostolic Lutheran Congregation of Detroit became incorporated later that year. The charter members of the congregation were Oscar Karinen, John Narhi, Isaac W. Lakso, Peter Wissi, Arthur Olson, Matt Kangas, Charles Person Pyyny, Rudolph Bekkala and August Niemi.
Services were held in homes and rented buildings until Grace Presbyterian Church on 13245 Thompson Avenue (at Waverly Avenue) in Highland Park was purchased on November 16, 1921. In 1925, the church was razed and a basement for a new church was built on the same site. In 1940, the sanctuary was built on top of the basement. Following the move of many of its members to the western suburbs of Detroit, construction began at a new site at 26325 Halsted Road in Farmington in 1963. The first services were held at the new church on January 26, 1964.
Following a schism in 1973 which separated many Laestadian congregations in North America, the Detroit Laestadian Congregation was formed and incorporated on December 17, 1973. Meetings and services were once again held in homes and rented facilities until a church building was purchased at 290 Fairground in Plymouth, Michigan in May of 1982. The name of the congregation was later changed to the Detroit Laestadian Lutheran Church to better convey the spiritual heritage and organization.
Today the sermon of Jesus’ suffering, death, and victorious resurrection remains centermost of the teachings of the Laestadian Lutheran Church. Laestadians teach that the work of Jesus Christ continues in this world as the work of the Holy Spirit in Christ’s congregation. We teach of God’s kingdom and preach 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.