Latest from Finland
Here is the latest information on the situation in Finland I’ve mentioned here before, the case involving the pastor who refused to conduct a communion service with a woman pastor. The local prosecutor has decided to move ahead with legal charges.
In the spring of this year, a Finnish missionary pastor hit the
headlines for his refusal to serve at the altar with an ordained woman.
He was a visiting preacher at a congregation near Helsinki, having been
invited on the initiative of the local branch of the Lutheran
Evangelical Association of Finland. He and the local LEAF
representatives had been given the impression that there would be a male
pastor assisting at communion. However, a few minutes before the service
began, a local female pastor turned up at the vestry, expecting to
assist. Pastor Norro made clear his position and offered to stand down,
at which point the lady in question decided to leave. The Senior Pastor
stood by and did not interfere in the discussion. Within days, the
matter was reported to the police who decided to investigate whether
this was a case of sexual discrimination against the female pastor
(despite churches being excluded from the Sexual Discrimination Act).
Thus far history.
The case has now taken a new turn. It was reported yesterday that the
local District Attorney/Prosecutor has decided to charge pastor Norro,
the chair of the local LEAF branch and the acting Senior Pastor with
sexual discrimination. He stated, "No exceptions have been stipulated in
the law concerning discrimination. On the other hand, juridically this
may be a tricky case for a magistrates’ court to handle since it
concerns matters of conscience." The nature of the charge is such that
the maximum penalty is a fine.
The case will be heard on 16 November this year.
[17 Sep 2007]