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Abstract

This article studies the debate on same-sex marriage in the early 21st century, within the two national churches of Finland, the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Orthodox Church. Legislation facilitating the so-called “gender-neutral marriage” came into effect in Finland in March 2017. In their official teachings, both churches emphasize marriage as a union between a man and a woman. An awareness of the rights of sexual minorities has, however, increased in both churches, and has given rise to the debate on how same-sex marriage should be perceived. While holding on to the traditional view of marriage, both churches have sought ways to recognize and affirm the position of sexual minorities. This has caused tension within the churches. As the majority church, the Lutheran church in particular faces strong pressure to accept same-sex weddings in the church. For the advocates of sexual minorities within the Orthodox Church, recognition of sexual minorities seems to be the main objective, rather than promoting same-sex weddings.

In: Exchange

Abstract

In this study, we analyze how do safety and closeness, or the lack of them, affect religious socialization in Finnish families. Our empirical data consist of family interviews and a large survey data. As a result, three key dimensions were found: 1) the atmosphere in families, 2) the atmosphere related to religious communities, and 3) the atmosphere related to one’s own spirituality. Our study suggests several implications both for practice in religious and other communities of existential meaning and for the study of those communities and empirical theologies. The study is part of the international research project “The transmission of religion across generations: a comparative international study of continuities and discontinuities in family socialization”, funded by Templeton Foundation.

Open Access
In: Journal of Empirical Theology

Abstract

This article addresses eucharistic and communal transformations of two local Finnish churches, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF) and the Orthodox Church of Finland (OCF), amid the COVID-19 pandemic and precautions. We analyze how eucharistic practices have transformed in the ELCF and the OCF and the ways these transformations are reflected in the experiences of both parishioners and pastors. The data consist of four questionnaires (N = 739) collected from Lutheran and Orthodox believers and Lutheran vicars during the pandemic. Our results indicate that the significance of belonging was emphasized during the time of social distancing. While among those in the ELCF, experiences of belonging were manifested in terms of Eucharist, among those in the OCF, belonging was most often reflected in relation to liturgical community. The differences in eucharistic theologies of the OCF and the ELCF have perhaps become more visible in exceptional circumstances.

Open Access
In: Exchange