New Yorgi Eesti Maja


Lakewood Estonian House

 

 

A New Bishop Electus for an Old Organization

May 29 - 31, 2015 - Chicago

 

Hosted by the E.E.L.K. Chicago First Congregation (E.E.L.K. Chicago Esimene Kogudus), the Evangelical Lutheran Church Eesti Synod (Eesti Evangeeliumi Luteri Usu Kirik – E.E.L.K.) held its Synod meeting on May 29-31 in Chicago .  

This was my first visit to the Chicago Estonian House.  Nestled amongst tall trees in the Riverwoods suburb of Chicago, there is a quiet serenity here that is palpable.

Attendees arrived on the 29th and met at the Chicago Estonian House for an exhibit and film presentation of Lennart Meri’s documentary “The Winds of the Milky Way (1977)” on loan from the Permanent Estonian Mission to the United Nations led by Estonian Ambassador to the united Nations Margus Kolga.  The former Estonian head of state was fascinated by the experiences of small nations in keeping their cultures alive in spite of a colonizer speaking a foreign tongue.  A line from his film resonated with me:  “Our trees live longer than our people, but our people will exist longer than the forest.”   

 

Deacon Pastor Gilda Karu presents Lennart Meri's film.
Photo:  Tiiu Roiser

The formal portion of the Synod meetings began on Saturday.  In order to understand the significance of this year’s meetings, a little background to refresh your memory.  As you might recall, the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church - E.E.L.K. (Eesti Evangeeliumi Luteri Usu Kirik) was established in 1919 in Estonia and went into exile in 1944.  The post-war Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church - EELK (Eesti Evangeelne Luterlik Kirik) was formally re-established under the Soviets.  Note that the English names are distinguished from each other by the periods after the letters in their acronyms.  The church in exile (E.E.L.K.) considers itself the rightful successor to the pre-war church.  

An effort to reunite the churches was led by the former E.E.L.K. Archbishop, Andres Taul. It resulted in a vote and the signing of an “Visible Unity Confirmation Contract” by the then E.E.L.K. Archbishop Andres Taul and the then EELK Archbishop Andres Põder in Tallinn on November 13th, 2010.  The former E.E.L.K. now became known as the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad Diocese with Andres Taul now its Bishop.  

Disagreement, however, came from 13 congregations.  Pastor Thomas Vaga of The Holy Ghost Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (E.E.L.K. Lakewoodi Pühavaimu Kogudus) stated that “We cannot acquiesce to something that is no longer what it was when we brought it into exile.”  The disagreeing congregations joined to form the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Congregations League (Eesti Evangeeliumi Luteriusu Koguduste Liit) and to investigate their options.  

At a Synod meeting in April of 2013, the Chairman of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Los Angeles (E.E.L.K. Los Angelese Kogudus) Heino Nurmberg presented information about the E.E.L.K.’s historical background and its current status including the continuation of the church’s work.   The League’s members discussed their operations and opportunities for the future and the fact that there was a need for an acting Bishop.   

Such a leadership position would fall upon the shoulders of the oldest serving minister from the date of his ordination which in this case would have been the minister for the Connecticut congregation.  For health reasons, Assistant Dean (ret.) Valdeko Kangro was not able to accept such responsibilities.  Next in line was Dean Thomas Vaga who had been ordained for 40 years.  He accepted the responsibility of organizing the future work of the congregations receiving the title of Acting Bishop.  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 from Toronto’s Vana Andres congregation.  

In November of 2013 a meeting representing nine League congregations resulted in the signing of a decision to continue the existence and charitable status of the E.E.L.K. (Eesti Evangeeliumi Luteri Usu Kirik) by registering it in the State of New Jersey with the NJ government.  Since the English translation of the Estonian name might cause confusion with the existing EELK church, it was decided to register the church with the English name of Evangelical Lutheran Church Eesti Synod (ELCES).  It was also decided unanimously to continue working under the agreement made by Archbishop Udo Petersoo, that the  ELCES (E.E.L.K.) and EELK churches are in principle one Estonian Lutheran Church , but with two distinct independent administrations.  On the basis of this agreement, the doors of the ELCES (E.E.L.K.) are open to everyone and all EELK members are welcome at any of ELCES’ services and to participate in Holy Communion.  

 

Matti Jaanimägi gives a synopsis of his E.E.L.K. Chicago church activities.  Photo:  TR

 

At the May 2015 Synod meeting, under discussion were E.E.L.K. congregation internal and external relationships, the development of unity, registration with the US government office of taxation IRS, contact with the EELK and its new Archbishop in Estonia, financial reports and budget, financial bequest for the education of new pastors and assistant pastors, congregation member reports, etc.  

Discussions also included the needs and opportunities to update the ELCES (E.E.L.K.) Bylaws.  The original Estonian version, as well as its English translation, is being reviewed to consider opportunities to provide each congregation with more self-governance and to reduce the Bishop’s administrative rule.  

Having all congregations of one mind concerning the direction of the ELCES (E.E.L.K.), Thomas Vaga was nominated and unanimously duly elected to be the new Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church Eesti Synod (Eesti Evangeeliumi Luteriusu Kirik).   

The Synod ended on May 31st with a church service held at the Chicago Estonian House officiated by the new Bishop electus Thomas Vaga and Deacon Pastor Gilda Karu.  

Left:  Valter Must discusses the ELCES Bylaws.  To his left are Deacon Pastor Gilda Karu, Chairman of the meeting Heino Nurmberg from Los Angeles and recording secretary Airi Vaga.  (TR)

As an analogy to Lennart Meri’s comment about our people existing longer than the forest, my thinking is that although our church buildings will live longer than the people of our congregations, the good works, deeds and accomplishments done today in touching the spirits and lives in church fellowship spreading the Word of God, will carry into future generations and exist carrying on longer than today’s buildings.  My wish for Bishop electus Thomas Vaga is that he have many years of good work ahead in spreading the Word and to restoring and building relationships.  May God use and guide him as He sees best so that Bishop Vaga may proclaim the Word of God in all places He causes his feet to tread.  

Tiiu Roiser  

 

Right:  Bishop electus Thomas Vaga preaching at the Sunday church service.  Photo:  Dagmar Pöntiskoski.

Below:  Attending the Sinod meetings were - 1st row from the left:  Airi Vaga, Kuno Lill, Valter Must, Heino Nurmberg, Thomas Vaga, Gilda Karu.  2nd row:  Ingrid Neel, Eve Rebassoo, Harri Virunurm, Ilvi Must, Sven Roosild, Eena-Mai Franz, Matti Jaanimägi, Dagmar Pöntiskoski, Aida Arita, Riina Klaas and Malle Väärsi.  Photo:  Dagmar Pöntiskoski.

 

 

To view photos from the Synod meetings and to keep abreast of the Evangelical Lutheran Church Eesti Synod (E.E.L.K.) events, please visit their website at www.eelkl.cwahi.net.

 

This page was last edited on May 24, 2016 01:59 PM

KONTAKT / CONTACT

Pastor Thomas Vaga:
Mobile - 732-581-2951
Kodus - 732-363-0532

Kantselei / Office:
732-370-8317

Esimees/President of Church Council:
Kenneth Ling
732-363-2458

Altari lilled / Altar Flowers:
Imbi Sepp - 732-408-1822

Pühapäevakool / Sunday School:
Airi Vaga - 908-415-2580

Organistid / Organists:
Maria Star Zumpano &
Luule Prima

 

TEATED / NOTICES

2019

2018 - nov-feb 2019


2018

2018  juuli-okt.

2017 nov-2018 veeb.

2017

2017 may-oktoober

2016-17 dets-aprill

 

2016

2016 - juuli-nov  
2015 - nov-jan.2016

 

2015

2015 - juuli-nov.
2015 - märts-juuni
 

 

2014

2014-nov.-2015 veeb.
2014 - juuli-okt

2014 - jan. - juuni

 

2013

2013 - okt - jaan. 2014 (rtf)
2013 - okt - jaan. 2014 (word)

2013 - July-Sept
.  

 

VIIMASED UUDISED

2018 E.E.L.K. Sinod

2016 Noorte leeripüha Lakewoodis  

2016 Agendaga tutvumise kursus   

2016 E.E.L.K. Sinod Torontos

2015 Jõulukontsert  

2015 - Siimon Haamer 
külastas Lakewoodi

2014 - Koguduse 65. Aastapäeva Tähistamine

2013 Räpina Muusikakooli kontsert

2012 Naiskoor Lakewoodis

2012 Jõulu Sõnum

2012 Praost Vaga referaat 
Praostkonna Sinodil

2012 - jaanuaril - Noored Eesti Evangelistid laulavad kirikus.

 

THE LATEST NEWS

Reformation

2016 Funding appeal from Tartu Academy of Theology

2015 News from Tartu Academy of Theology

2015 A new Bishop electus 
for an old organization
 

2014 Nov. Deer Crashes through Church Window

2014-2015 Newsletter

2014-Newsletter - July-Oct

2014-Newsletter - Jan.-June 

2013 Newsletter - July-Sept.  

 

JUTLUSED

2018 Usupuhastuse 501. aastapäeva jutlus

2016 - Usupuhatuspühal

2015 - Elu pärast elu - 
õp. Uno Planki

2015 - Siimon Haamer

2015 - Ülestõusmisepüha

2015 - Vabariigi Aastapäevaks

2014 Taevaminemise 
Pühaks

2014 - Eesti Evangeeliumi Luteriusu Kirik Vaba Rahvakirik Paguluses ja Võõrsil

2014 veeb. - Vabariigi 
Aastapäev

2013 sept. - Diakon-õpetaja 
kandidaat Gilda Karu

2013 august - Seabrookis  

2011 okt - Lõikustänu Püha

2011 juunil - Isadepäeval

2011 mai - Sinodite lõpp
Jumalateenistusel 

 

SERMONS

2015 - Impossible to Believe - Martin Luther

2014 The Ascension of Christ

2013 august - 13th Sunday after Pentecost, 2013. German service in Seabrook. 

2011 Oct. - What is Thanksgiving?

2011 May - End of Synod Mtgs. 
Church Service

 

 

 


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