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pendent church sent invitations to other independent groups to meet to discuss the establishment of a central organization of their own. Seven churches sent representatives to the meeting Koski called, among them 0. W. Ikola from Charve Lake, Minnesota. In discussing an organizational structure, one of the decisions reached was to avoid using `Synod' in its name, and so the new body became the Finnish-American Evangelical-Lutheran National Church, but in spite of its name it did not differ much from the Suomi Synod. Its creed was almost the same, word for word. Its structure also followed the Synod pattern inasmuch as pertinent issues were decided by an annual meeting, whose decisions were implemented by a consistory elected by majority votes. These National Church rules were adopted in Minnesota in 1901, and indeed, the largest National Church congregations have been in that state. Beginning in 1900 with 29 congregations with 6,210 members and 9 pastors, the church grew to almost 70 congregations and 9,072 members in the 1930s. With the stoppage of immigration, the numbers have begun to decrease, as has already been indicated in many particular instances.

The first publication of the National Church was a purely religious weekly, Todistuksen Joukko, which began appearing in Ironwood, Michigan, in 1901, with Pastor W. A. Mandellöf as its editor; soon after, a children's paper, Lasten Ystävä, also began to appear. In February 1903 there began publication of a newspaper, Kansan Lehti, with M. A. Päiviö and E. Kristianson as editors. After struggling along for a couple of years, it was succeeded by a paper called Auttaja Meidän Ilomme, later known more succinctly as the Auttaja, which still was in publication as a newspaper even after World War II. In addition, Christmas and Easter periodicals and calendars were published in considerable number.

A seminary was started in Ironwood, Michigan, in 1918, to prepare clergy for the National Church. The first director was K. E. Salonen, who also established the curriculum. Admission qualifications required a high school diploma, though exceptions were allowed. The first class was graduated in 1921. Later, when Salonen returned to Finland, the Seminary closed down completely for a time, but it was re-activated in Springfield, Illinois, with the assistance of the Missouri Church. At that time, a 4-year curriculum was set up.

Since the Suomi Synod carried on missionary work in China, the National Church began a similar program in Japan. Chairmen of the organization have been J. Eloheimo, W. A.


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