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Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Congregations in North America - Meetings in Red Bank, NJ.

Red Bank, NJ - 1. mail 2013

Organized by the USA I Deanery, a meeting of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Congregations (Eesti Evangeeliumi Luteri Usu kogudused) took place from April 26-28, 2013, at the US East Coast in Red Bank, New Jersey . Attending the meeting were participants from ten congregations of the First Deanery as well as four from the Chicago Deanery including Dean Uudo Tari and his wife Tiiu.
Sinod 2013

Front Row from the left:  Agu Ets, Baltimore; Dean Uudo Tari; Dean Thomas Vaga; Pastor Markus Vaga; Pastor Gilda Karu; Assistant Dean Jüri Pallo.
Back: Maie Nurmberg, Los Angeles; Riina Klaas, Toronto; Airi Vaga, Lakewood; Valter Must, Lakewood; Heli Kopti, Toronto, Jüri Silmberg, Toronto; Heino Nurmberg, Los Angeles; Tiiu Tari, Connecticut; (taga) Kuno Lill, Los Angeles; Loit Maripuu, Michigan; Eve Rebassoo, Schenectady; Carmen Taht, Washington DC; Mervi Pallo, Los Angeles; Silvi Valge, Washington DC; Eda Treumuth, Lakewood; Eha McDonnel, New York; Malle Väärsi, Bergen County. 
Missing from photo:  Matti Jaanimägi, Chicago; photographer Tiiu Roiser with spouse, Torontost; ja photographer Uno Taps, Lakewoodist. 

Following reports from the USA I Deanery congregations, comments from four of the Chicago Deanery’s congregations, and the Toronto Saint Andrews congregation represented by five participants, discussions ensued concerning how the congregations faithful to the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church would continue to operate and how to form an administrative leadership therefor.

The Chairman of the Los Angeles congregation presented information about the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church ’s historical background and its current status including the continuation of the church’s work. This presentation led into a lively discussion about the congregations that did not join the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad Diocese and their operations and opportunities in the future. Based on the presentation and discussions it was determined that there was a need for a leader for the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church congregations. It was decided to elect an acting Bishop as the leader. It was also suggested that the church leader would additionally carry the title President, as is done in the United States by Lutheran church Synod leaders.

The Assistant Dean of the USA First Deanery, Jüri Pallo, explained that the leadership position falls upon the oldest serving minister from the day of his ordination. In the United States , this would be the minister for the Connecticut congregation, Assistant Dean (ret.) Valdeko Kangro, but who, because of health issues, does not wish to take on such responsibilities. The next in line for this responsibility lies with Dean Thomas Vaga who has as been ordained for 40 years. It was decided that Dean Vaga would take on the title of Acting Bishop. The outcome of a vote by congregation representatives also gave him the responsibility of organizing the future work of the congregations. A volunteer supporting Committee was also established consisting of Lakewood Holy Ghost’s congregation chairman Valter Must, Deacon-pastor Gilda Karu, Los Angelese congregation chairman Heino Nurmberg, Deanery secretary Agu Ets, and from Canada, Jüri Silmberg and Riina Klaas.

An interesting presentation was given by Toronto Saint Andrews Assistant Chairman, Jüri Silmberg entitled: “ Independent Latvian Lutheran Church Bylaws and Activity in the United States ”. Their Bylaws (in English) " Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad, By-Laws" are available upon request by email from silmberg@ryerson.ca.

The Congregations’ joint Synod/Meeting ended with singing and prayer followed by a dinner at a nearby restaurant.

On Sunday there was a Deanery Synod church service at the Holy Ghost Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lakewood. Serving the congregation were Dean Thomas Vaga, Deacon-pastor Gilda Karu and Agu Ets presenting the liturgy and Assistant Dean Jüri Pallo presenting the sermon. The sermon will be available in the newspaper Vaba Eesti Sõna as well as congregations’ web page.

“Where two or three gather in my name, I am there with them” confirmed Jesus Christ already while here on earth. On the day of the Synod as well as at the Church service, God’s blessed presence could be felt. The one-mindedness, loving and successful meeting was thanks to Jesus Christ, who’s field of work needs much tending but has few laborers.

Airi Vaga - May 1, 2013 

Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Congregations in North America  
Church Service Held at The Holy Ghost Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church 

Sunday April 28th, 2013

Gilda Karu Thomas Vaga Jüri Pallo Agu Ets

From the left: Deacon Gilda Karu, Dean Thomas Vaga, Assistant Dean Jüri Pallo and Deacon Agu Ets.  

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