Outlook Laestadian Lutheran Church
Who we are can be answered in two ways. On an individual basis we are young and old. We have a variety of everyday callings in life. Some are teachers, engineers, doctors, stay-at-home moms, students, tradesmen and of course some are now enjoying the retirement years. Most importantly we are individuals who have been called by the grace of God to be partakers of the hope of eternal life. We individually have been given grace to believe the forgiveness of our own sins in Jesus’ name and blood. This grace has opened the door of heaven to us.
As a church, we are part of the Laestadian Lutheran Church. The Laestadian Lutheran Church (LLC) was organized on June 9, 1973, under the name “Association of American Laestadian Congregations” (AALC). The association changed its name in 1994 in order to better convey its spiritual heritage and the nature of its organization. The teachings of Laestadianism are based on the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions. Centermost among these teachings is the sermon of Jesus’ suffering, death, and victorious resurrection. The work of Jesus Christ continues in this world as the work of the Holy Spirit in Christ’s congregation. Thus, the Laestadian Lutheran Church teaches of God’s kingdom and preaches repentance and the forgiveness of sins. We hold, in accord with the Lutheran Confessions, that the Bible is the highest guide and authority for Christian faith, doctrine and life.
A brief history of the Outlook Laestadian Lutheran Church
The earliest members of the Laestadian Lutheran Faith to move to the Dunblane – Glenside, Saskatchewan area came from either Finland or the United States. They moved from established congregations to homestead on the Saskatchewan prairie. Their faith was important and precious to them, and they began to gather together to hold The first members arrived in the Glenside area in 1905, in the Dunblane area in 1909 and in the Rock Point area in 1911. With no church building or pastor, services were held in members’ homes. Visiting pastors came from North Dakota, Minnesota and Michigan in the United States to serve. Regular Sunday Services consisted of the singing of hymns and scripture readings. Confirmation School was held each year beginning in 1921.
Jacob Ylioja served as a pastor from 1924 – 1946. The congregation was incorporated as the Dunblane Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church in 1927. Services continued to be held in homes however, occasionally they were held in local rural schools. Visiting pastors continued to be called from the United States.
Following the death of Jacob Ylioja in 1946, the congregation gathered on Sundays to read spiritual articles in the Finnish language. Sunday School was established in 1949. Sermons were kept exclusively in the Finnish language, but in the 1940’s and 50’s it became common to translate sermons into English. Beginning in 1956 with the exception of 1957, pastors annually came from Finland to serve the congregation. In 1957 a tape recorder was purchased and taped sermons were used at the Sunday Services thereafter if there was no visiting pastor.
The congregation’s dream of having their own church building was finally realized in 1967. This building was enlarged and renovated in 1976 and again in 1990. Melvin Pirness (in 1966), Arthur Simonson and Melvin Kallio (in 1975) were blessed into service as pastors. In addition to Sunday Services and Sunday School, Bible Class, Day Circle, Retirees gatherings and camps have been held regularly.
The name of the congregation was changed to Dunblane Laestadian Congregation in 1973, and later it was changed to Dunblane Laestadian Lutheran Church. These changes were made to reflect the unity of the church with the Laestadian Faith in Finland, a revivalist movement within the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church, and to distinguish it from other North American Apostolic Lutheran Churches which have different doctrines.
In 1988, it was decided to establish a congregation in Outlook because so many members lived in and around the town of Outlook and the existing church building was becoming too small for the continuously growing congregation. The Outlook congregation used a rented facility in the town for their activities, until they were able to build a new church, which was dedicated in May of 1993. The Dunblane and Outlook Laestadian Lutheran Churches have always worked together in spiritual unity, holding some joint functions. There is now a third congregation rapidly growing in the city of Saskatoon.
God’s Holy Word is preached in all three congregations for the salvation of souls. Pastors serving the congregations are: Duane Pirness, Dean Simonson, Clayton Ylioja, David Anderson, Melvin Kallio, Arthur Simonson, Wayne Kallio, Robert Haapala, Stanley Ylioja, Jari Warwaruk, Carey Simonson and Marty Simonson. Many activities are held in all three congregations which continue to enjoy God’s abundant gifts. It was considered a blessing to host the Annual Summer Services of the Laestadian Lutheran Church five times: in 1978, 1985, 1996, 2004 and 2015.