The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (FELM) is a mission organisation belonging to the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church. Our work is guided by holistic Christian witness: we seek to realise God’s love in words and deeds.
FELM's International Church Cooperation Programme 2013-2015
One third of the world’s population have not heard the empowering word of the gospel, at the heart of which is atonement and salvation in Jesus Christ. Holistic mission work is concerned with the body, mind and spirit and touches people in their everyday lives.
FELM works to strengthen the proclamation work of its partner churches. We support work that targets people who are currently outside the church. We also support the everyday spiritual work of our partner churches, baptism-related teaching, Bible translation work and literacy and numeracy work.
All churches should be engaged in mission work, sharing the Christian faith and helping churches to take root. Such work leads to the birth of new congregations and enables the Church to grow.
Christian teaching and education
The Church is tasked with teaching its members to take responsibility for their neighbours and for the surrounding environment. People living in Christian love, faith and hope can change the world. The Church has always believed that one way of furthering this goal is through Christian teaching and education, the effects of which will be seen far into the future.
In many developing countries churches are central actors in the provision of education at various levels, including, basic education, university education and vocational education. Churches therefore play a significant role in providing society with training and teaching.
Education can be viewed as the engine of development. Education increases employment opportunities and is instrumental in preventing marginalisation, poverty and health problems. Typically, people who have received an education understand how they can influence their own lives and the lives of the communities in which they live. The education of girls is particularly important in this respect as it contributes to the development of communities and entire nations. Education also promotes peace.
Diaconal and social justice work
Mission work always includes proclamation and service. Jesus’ life, suffering and death serve as an example to us of serving others. Serving others, or diaconal work, is based on the love of Christ. As beings created by God, each of us has a right to live a decent life. The Church’s faithfulness is tested by its desire to be among the poor and to defend their rights.
The poorest of the poor are also called to be a Christian witness and to serve others. FELM supports churches in their work training and encouraging their congregations to carry out diaconal work in their own communities. Special attention is given to work among the marginalised, disabled and poor.
Diaconal work addresses the root causes of suffering, poverty and oppression. Inequality is hidden in social structures, repressive relationships and attitudes. FELM aims to tackle these issues through its work with partner churches and its participation in various international networks.
HIV and AIDS continue to spread globally. In some countries deaths due to AIDS have changed the age structures of entire communities. Our partner churches combine their proclamation work with awareness-raising concerning the causes and spread of HIV and AIDS. They give guidance on responsible sexual practices. Churches encourage people living with HIV and AIDS to be active members of their communities. They help the sick and their dependents. FELM supports its partner churches in this work.
FELM’s child sponsorship work provides poor and disadvantaged children and young people with the opportunity to attend school and to obtain a profession. They are supported in becoming active and responsible members of society. It is particularly important to support the education of girls in societies in which women are marginalised. FELM’s child sponsorship funds are also used to improve the living conditions of disabled children and young people. FELM’s child sponsorship programme is an indirect means of reducing poverty and raising education levels.
In addition to child sponsorship work, FELM also carries out sponsorship of the elderly. This work aims to provide the elderly with safe living conditions.
Capacity building of partner organisations and churches
FELM works with and through local partners, churches and Christian organisations. FELM supports its partners’ ‘readiness to act’, with the aim of strengthening their capacity to work independently sharing God’s love in their own communities.
FELM’s partners are unique, in terms of the cultures they represent, their areas of expertise, and their geographical locations. The work of our partners focuses on marginalised people living in remote areas.
In each country in which we work we aim to help our partners to build the capacity of their church leaders, pastors, laypersons and people at the grassroots level. We always include both men and women in our training programmes and especially young, future opinion-makers.
Young, growing churches need trained workers. Churches’ own training is complemented by church-run universities and other learning institutions. FELM provides grants to workers in partner organisations who wish to receive further training.