Our History

The door is open. Everyone is welcome!

Ovi on auki – kynnys on matala jokainen on tervetullut!

Short history of the Finnish Lutheran Ministry for the 30th Anniversary on March 14, 2010



There was a Finnish Lutheran Church in Vancouver who had a pastor from Finland.  The church also owned a plot of land intended for a church building however the building never materialized and the lot was sold many years later.  By the end of the 1950’s the congregation was not functioning anymore.


Some Finnish Lutheran people found a home at Concordia Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) in Vancouver, where there was a pastor who was a second generation Finn and was able to speak Finnish. With the help of a Finnish speaking parish worker, this pastor served Finnish speaking people in addition of his fulltime job with Concordia for years. This work was meaningful but all of the time there was the hope of establishing a Finnish Lutheran Congregation. Western Canada Synod of Lutheran Church in America – Canada Section was contacted in hopes of fulfilling this dream.

1979 -1985

Pastor Jukka Joensuu was called by LCA to be a pastor-developer to organize a new Finnish Lutheran congregation in the Lower Mainland. Pastor Joensuu and his wife Anneli Joensuu arrived from Sudbury, Ontario where pastor Joensuu had been serving St. Matthews’ Finnish Lutheran Church for 3 years. The main goal of the pastor-developer was to gather people in worship. The first worship of this new project was held at the end of September 1979 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Westminster. People welcomed this new development.   A new Finnish Lutheran Congregation was organized on the Palm Sunday in March of 1980.  What a joyful occasion that was! A new name was selected and this congregation was now known as ‘Suomi Lutheran Church’ (Suomi = Finland).

1986 – Present

The new congregation enjoyed people’s support. Children were baptized, Sunday School held, young people confirmed, marriage ceremonies performed, funerals held, home gatherings, rest home devotions, services in Victoria and in some other Finnish communities, a radio program was set up, an annual Summer camp was held and above all regular worship services were held with word and sacrament. Of course we were hoping to have our own building but that seemed impossible due to the high cost of land. But God works in mysterious ways. We got into conversation with the Atonement Lutheran Church in Burnaby. That congregation had their own building on their own lot and their own pastor but many members of the congregation had moved away from that area. The result of these discussions was that the Atonement Lutheran Church and Suomi Lutheran Church decided to merge – put everything together and ‘get married’. The Atonement Church had a building but few people and the Suomi Church no possession but had people. The old names were left behind and a new name was selected: EMMAUS LUTHERAN CHURCH. Behind this name is the biblical story following the resurrection when two disciples were on their way to the village called Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). They were downhearted. A stranger joined them, talked and walked with them to Emmaus where the stranger broke bread with them. Their eyes were opened and they realized that that stranger was their resurrected Lord.  At the Emmaus Church two came together and the third one is in their midst. That was our hope and prayer when we selected the name: Emmaus Lutheran Church.

After the merger Emmaus Lutheran Church had two pastors. Soon however the congregation realized that they could not support two of them. This meant that pastor Joensuu also took care of the English-speaking part of the church.

An average Sunday at Emmaus has two worships – one in English and another in Finnish. Approximately once a month there is bilingual worship (English & Finnish). In addition to that pastor Joensuu has regular Finnish services in Nanaimo, Victoria and Kelowna (approx. 10 times annually in each of those places). Rest Homes devotions (Finnish Manor, Burnaby &  Finnish Home, Vancouver) are held monthly. The main support of the work of Emmaus comes from Finnish speaking members and friends.  Furthermore, Women`s work at Emmaus is very important for the vitality of the church.

 30th Anniversary is calculated from the organizing Sunday, Palm Sunday in March 1980.

Jukka Joensuu, pastor

Congregational Goals


  1. Remind people, that the main goal of our congregation is to proclaim God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
  2. Active membership increase. Active church member is a person who participates Church activities and gives financial support, and also takes responsibility looking after the church property and the future of the congregation.
  3. Invite people to our worship services.
  4. Remind parents about their responsibility of Christian education of their children.
  5. Remind members that they have their responsibilities regarding our congregation.
  6. Strengthen our work with children.
  7. Strengthen our youth work.
  8. Strengthen our music work.
  9. Remind people about our Memorial Fund.
  10. Remind people to support our congregation by donations.

Seurakunnan tavoitteet

              “Me olemme yhteisö, joka uskoo Isään, Poikaan ja Pyhää Henkeen.

 Meidät on lähetetty olemaan elävänä todistuksena omassa ja  kaikkien ihmisten keskuudessa niin, että Jumalan rakkaus ja Jeesus Kristus tulisi tunnetuksi jokaisen henkilökohtaisena Vapahtajana.”.   

  1. Muistuttaa siitä, että seurakunnan perustehtävänä on kuu luttaa Jumalan pelastustekoa Jeesuksessa Kristuksessa.
  2. Pyrkiä seurakuntamme aktiivisen jäsen määrän lisäämiseen. Aktiivinen seurakunnan jäsen on henkilö, joka ottaa osaa seurakunnan toimintaan ja sen omaisuuden ylläpitoon joko antamalla talou  dellista nasta ja sen toiminnan tulevaisuudesta tukea ja /tai ottaa vastuuta seurakun
  3. Kutsua ihmisiä käymään enemmän ja sään  nöllisemmin jumalanpalveluksissamme.
  4. Korostaa vanhempien vastuuta kristillisen kasvatuksen antamimisesta. Se,että lapsi on kastettu, velvoittaa antamaan kristillistä  opetusta.
  5. Korostaa kaikkien jäsenten yhteistä vastuuta seurakunnastamme.
  6. . Lapsityön tehostaminen.
  7. Nuorisotyön tehostaminen.
  8. Musiikkitoiminnan monipuolistaminen.
  9. Kannustaa muistamaan poismenneitä oman seurakuntamme muistorahaston kautta.
  10. Muistuttaa siitä, että  seurakuntalaisilla on vastuu seurakunnan taloudesta