News Release

Out of the Ashes: A New Chapel Arises

On Sunday, January 16, 2011, a new Chapel of worship was dedicated in Tampere, Finland. President Erich Kopischke, Area President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Europe, dedicated the building. The new building was constructed after the former structure burned to the ground.

In the late evening hours of January 5, 2008, two young men, ages 18 and 19, were responsible for setting the fire which destroyed the structure. The fire was started in a dustbin, quickly spread to the building and by morning the Chapel lay in ashes. Few items were saved: a picture of Jesus at the Well; a hand knotted rug created in the 1970’s; microfilm rolls and some equipment from the Family History area in the basement.

President Kopischke, as he dedicated the new Chapel, remarked, “What was perceived as a disaster turned out to be a blessing. Our hearts and the hearts of the members were turned to these boisterous boys, who as they set an adjacent dustbin on fire, did so surely not with the intent to burn the Church down. They were treated in a way, that despite the damage and liability of their actions, they would have a future in their lives. This is what we learn from this. The Savior never damns us. He invites us to change our lives and move on to the better. The Lord wants us to return back to Heavenly Father.” President Kopischke called the new building a banner of truth and a beacon of light and faith. He remarked, “My hope is that you and I will develop the faith that God will bless us, our families, our countries and our cities as we consecrate ourselves to the Lord.”

Leading up to the dedication, an Open House was conducted. 46,000 brochures explaining the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the history of the new building, and an invitation to attend were hand delivered in the greater Tampere area by 400 members of the Church.

Among the visitors attending the Open House were Ben and Jonna Christensen. Jonna is a popular singer, artist, and entertainer from Finland.  She has released three albums (one that almost hit Gold) and has a new album in the works.  Seven years ago, Jonna joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, changed her life style and the direction of her music.  She recently performed her new single, “Puppets”  for the TV show Euro Vision 2011. “Puppets” makes a bold statement about modesty in dress.

Another visitor was Pastor Jorma Katainen of the Ilomāentien svk congregation. The Pastor, who had offered the use of the Advent Church, stated, “We helped you after your Church burned down, we now congratulate you on your new building.”

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