The Nordic Africa Institute

Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission, FELM

History

The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (FELM), known as the Finnish Missionary Society (FMS) until 1985, has been present in Namibia since the 1870’s. The FMS had close cooperation with the Ovambo-Kavango Church (ELOC, later ELCIN) after the church was founded. Although, as an organization, the FMS did not take part in Namibian politics, many of its workers, i.e. the Finnish missionaries, were involved, actively or not, in the liberation struggle. It can be said that it was impossible for any FELM worker in Namibia to be left untouched by the events that finally led to the independence of the country, regardless of personal attitudes.

In addition to inter-church cooperation, the FMS/FELM was involved in education and health care, areas of work in which cooperation with the S. W. African government was necessary. A balance had to be kept between government requirements and the principles of a Christian organization.

From the chairmanship of Professor Mikko Juva (first period 1954-1969) onwards the FMS board, the organization publicly rejected the principles of apartheid. On his inspection trip to South West Africa in 1961, Juva came to realize the necessity of taking a stand against the oppression. The workers in Namibia were opposed to apartheid, but in a letter sent by the FMS board (1963), they were advised not to take such action that would endanger the FMS presence in Namibia. Some missionaries were active in opposing the apartheid system in Namibia, and continued as activists in Finland in different organizations, campaigns etc.

Documents on the political activities of FELM workers in Namibia are rare: in correspondence, even circulars addressed to a broad public, certain topics had to be avoided, since letters were opened and censored by the South African authorities. Persons holding sensitive material had either to destroy it upon leaving S. W. Africa or to smuggle it to Finland.

FELM surveyed the Namibian situation continuously during the independence struggle. This was done with the assistance of missionaries working in Namibia and those who had returned to Finland. Information was gathered from Namibian and South African newspapers as well as from first hand accounts by Namibian contacts.

The Namibia-related material at the FELM archives consists of administrative documents, publications and manuscripts, audio-visual material as well as private archives of former missionaries. There is an urgent need to get information on documents that remain in the possession of retired FELM co-workers, who still have a large amount of photographs, films, correspondence and other material from Namibia. First-hand information should also be gathered by interviewing those who were present in Namibia during the independence struggle.

The following is an inventory of the FELM archive material related to the organization’s activities in Namibia from 1960 to 1990. A special emphasis is placed on material that relates to the independence struggle of Namibia.

Contents

[Sub-collection] FELM Film and video archive
[Sub-collection] FELM Photo archives
[Sub-collection] FELM Publications
[Sub-collection] Private archives of FELM missionaries
[Series] Minutes of field committee meetings

[Series] Accounts, writings and studies concerning mission in Africa

[Series] Other documents concerning mission in Africa

[Series] Other documents concerning mission

[Series] Other documents
[Volume] Open letter from churches to Prime Minister of South Africa 30.6.1971 and press clippings related to it
[Volume] South African police and military action in Namibia 1968-1975
[Volume] Explosion of Oniipa printing house 1973, punishments (whipping) 1973-1974
[Volume] World Council of Churches relations to Namibia, Namibian churches, Christian Institute a. o. 1972-1973
[Volume] DELK, other German churches 1972-1975

[Series] Africa Secretary's correspondence

[Series] Circulars of missionaries in Namibia

[Series] Writings and speeches of the mission director

[Series] Letters to the mission director
[Volume] Letters from Finland
[Volume] Letters from other countries
[Volume] Letters from working areas

[Series] Correspondence: director of the Overseas Department

[Series] Manuscripts

[Series] Documents concerning missionary work in Africa

[Series] Minutes of field committee meetings, Namibia Field Committee

[Series] Press clippings (Namibia: four volumes, compiled in 1989.)

[Series] Documents of the Africa secretary
[Volume] Ovamboland working area: field secretary and missionaries 1960-1968
[Volume] Correspondence concerning African visitors in Finland 1961-1981
[Volume] Bushmen work, Bible translation, Paulinum Seminary, Engela College, Medical work in Namibia, Swakopmund Finnish School, ELOC economy 1966-1982
[Volume] Oshigambo High School 1968-1982
[Volume] Statistics, requests etc, includes letters 1969-1979
[Volume] JCSWA, correspondence 1981
[Volume] Correspondence, Vereinigte Evangelische Mission 1978-1982
[Volume] Correspondence, ELOC 1980-1982
[Volume] Secretaries’ documents, correspondence from Namibia 1981-1985
[Volume] ELCIN, ELOC: correspondence 1983-1989
[Volume] Namibia: field secretary’s correspondence 1983
[Volume] Namibia: field secretary’s correspondence 1983-1987
[Volume] Namibia: field secretary’s correspondence 1988-1989
[Volume] Namibia: missionaries’ correspondence 1984-1989
[Volume] Namibia: health care 1987-1989, other correspondence 1987-1989
[Volume] Correspondence with FMS field secretary in Namibia 1978-1980
[Volume] JCSA (Joint Committee on Southern Africa) 1973-1980
[Volume] Ovamboland working area: minutes of meetings 1960-1968
[Volume] Recruitment plans, Okavango 1955-1969
[Volume] Recruitment plans, Ovamboland 1955-1969
[Volume] Medical work 1960-1969
[Volume] Various 1961-1970
[Volume] Minutes of meetings, covering letters, correspondence with ELOC 1961-1968
[Volume] Correspondence with the FMS field secretary and assistant field secretary in S. W. Africa 1965-1970, 1969-1970
[Volume] Correspondence with missionaries in S.W. Africa
[Volume] Rheinische Mission 1966-1970
[Volume] Work among the Bushmen, Nkongo 1966-1977
[Volume] Correspondence concerning refugees and various projects 1968-1976
[Volume] JCSA (Joint Committee on Southern Africa) 1969-1978
[Volume] Correspondence with the FMS field secretary in S.W. Africa 1971-1975
[Volume] Correspondence with the FMS field secretary and assistant field secretary in S. W. Africa 1971-1977
[Volume] Namibia: miscellaneous projects

[Series] Other Documents
[Volume] Miscellaneous documents concerning missionary work in Ovamboland and Tanganyika 1953-1961
[Volume] Material on South and South-West Africa 1968-1977
[Volume] JCSA (Joint Committee on Southern Africa), Velkswa elok afrikaans 1969-1974
[Volume] Ethiopia, S. W. Africa and Tanzania 1971-1976
[Volume] Lutheran World Federation projects, Namibia 1972-1982
[Volume] Development projects in S.W. Africa, Lutheran World Federation 1966-1971
[Volume] ELOC/Church Council (in Ndonga) 1980-1983
[Volume] ELCIN, Church Council: minutes of meetings 1983-1986
[Volume] ELCIN, Church Council: minutes of meetings 1987-1989

[Series] Documents/Press clippings concerning Namibia
[Volume] Namibia 1983-1989
[Volume] Turnhalle 1976 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Guerilla war 1976 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] SWAPO’s prisoners, UN-SWAPO etc. 1976 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Guerilla war, terrorist trials, prisoners, torture etc. 1976 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Meetings, political parties etc. 1976 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Meetings, political parties etc. 1976 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Public opinion 1976 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Namibia material (IV-XII) 1975 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Namibia material (I-IV) 1975 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Namibia material (IX-XII) 1974 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] NP meeting, neighbours, Portugal etc. 1974 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Namibia-material (I-VI) 1974 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Elections a. o. 1973-1974 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Guerillas, border, neighbours, UN, foreign countries (I-III) 1977 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Politics, negotiations, trials etc. 1977 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Namibia Communication Centre, London 1985-1989
[Volume] Namibia, copies 1960’s
[Volume] Minutes of meetings, reports 1976-1982 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Namibia meeting 7.-14.1-1981 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Annual reviews of newspapers and leaders, negotiations, UN, government etc. 1978-1980 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Government, political parties, churches, elections, UN etc. (VII-XII) 1978 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Government, political parties, churches, elections, UN etc. (VI-VII) 1978 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] UN, SWAPO in exile, neighbours, prisoners, negotiations etc. (II-IV) 1978 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] The Kiljunens’ travel REPORT, government, political parties etc. (I-IV) 1978 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] UN, SWAPO, war etc. (XI-XII) 1977 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] SWA, politics, war operations, political parties, other groups (IX) 1977 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Churches, education, prisoners etc. 1977 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Political parties, churches, economy etc. 1977 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] “Independence” of Ovamboland and elections, riots, trials 1973 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Life of blacks 1972-1973 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] World Council of Churches 1970-1971 (Incl. letters of the mission director.)
[Volume] Papers, letters, reports, SWAPO publications etc. 1969-1975, reviews, general information on SWAPO etc. 1969-1980 (Incl. press clippings)
[Volume] Papers, letters, reports, reviews, JCSWA meeting (in Helsinki, 1977) 1968-1978
[Volume] Economy, speeches, reviews, negotiations, papers, Amnesty International, Christian Institute 1968-1978
[Volume] South Africa government, homeland government, Prime Minister advisory council 1968-1975 (Incl. press clippings.)
[Volume] Ovambo-Kavango Church, Rhenish church and FMS 1968-1974 (Incl. press clippings.)
[Volume] Letters, writings etc. (incl. Bishop Auala’s) 1968-1969
[Volume] UN Security Council, LWF documents a. o. 1968-1974 (Incl. press clippings.)
[Volume] Papers, reviews, statements a. o. 1967-1980
[Volume] Papers, leaflets, letters a. o. 1967-1977 (Incl. press clippings.)
[Volume] UN, apartheid, "This Week" 1966-1975 Press clippings.
[Volume] Letters, reports, SWAPO conference, Christian Institute etc. 1966-1977
[Volume] Tape containing Namibian songs, reviews, booklets, papers 1960-1977 (Incl. press clippings.)
[Volume] Information officer’s correspondence from Namibia 1971
[Volume] Strike in S.W. Africa, consequences of the strike, contract work 1971 (Press clippings)
[Volume] Conditions in South Africa 1972-1973 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] South-African political parties 1972-1973 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] SWAPO 1968-1973 (Mostly press clippings.)
[Volume] Liberation movements and contact groups 1972-1973 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] SWA – present and future, reviews, opinions, estimates 1972-1973 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Rauha Voipio 1972-1973
[Volume] Strike, riots 1972 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Papers, comments etc. 1971-1977
[Volume] South African churches and others, Christian Institute 1971-1977
[Volume] Hague International Court of Justice, UN – SWA 1971-1973 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Schools, Universities 1971-1973 (Mostly press clippings.)
[Volume] Letters, phone calls a. o. (Auala, Groth, Hukka, Ihamäki, Juva, Milk, Reeh, Winter) 1971-1972
[Volume] Strike in S.W. Africa 1971-1972 (Press clippings.)
[Volume] Newspapers, letters etc. 1960-1976 (Incl. press clippings.)

[Series] Annual reports of missionaries 1919-

[Series] Appendix: Minutes of the FELM board, years 1960-1989
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 28.2.1979
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 21.5.1985
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 7.10.1985
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 17.12.1985
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 26.2.1986
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 15.9.1986
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 15.12.1986
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 23.2.1986
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 14.12.1987
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 29.9.1987
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 22.2.1988
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 30.5.1988
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 26.9.1988
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 20.2.1989
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 31.10.1988
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 7.3.1985
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 24.9.1984
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 5.10.1979
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 11.2.1980
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 24.9.1980
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 29.1.1981
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 15.12.1982
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 18.9.1981
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 15.12.1981
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 4.2.1982
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 14.9.1982
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 28.10.1982
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 27.1.1983
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 26.5.1983
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 22.9.1983
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 16.4.1984
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 6.4.1988
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 9.11.1987
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 13.4.1962
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 8.6.1963
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 14.9.1964
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 16.12.1965
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 13.5.1966
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 28.5.1968
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 15.11.1968
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 11.4.1969
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 18.12.1970
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 26.3.1971
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 14.12.1972
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 9.4.1981
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 10.11.1981
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 3.6.1982
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 11.4.1961
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 18.5.1989
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 10.11.1986
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 18.9.1989
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 11.12.1989
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 21.5.1976
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 28.3.1974
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 17.4.1970
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 10.11.1960
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 14.4.1978
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 14.4.1983
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 27.10.1983
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 24.5.1984
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 11.12.1984
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 16.4.1985
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 11.11.1985
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 15.12.1983
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 20.2.1960
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 21.6.1966
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 28.9.1966
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 14.4.1967
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 29.9.1967
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 22.4.1968
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 19.9.1968
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 20.12.1968
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 28.2.1969
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 9.5.1969
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 19.9.1969
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 19.12.1969
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 6.2.1970
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 29.5.1970
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 18.9.1970
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 30.3.1966
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 20.9.1965
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 25.10.1960
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 13.12.1960
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 27.1.1961
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 6.5.1961
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 4.10.1961
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 29.12.1961
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 16.2.1962
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 3.5.1971
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 28.9.1962
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 21.2.1963
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 15.11.1963
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 24.1.1964
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 26.11.1964
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 18.2.1965
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 2.2.1971
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 21.9.1971
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 22.12.1975
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 27.2.1976
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 17.12.1976
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 14.4.1977
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 18.11.1977
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 14.12.1978
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 19.4.1979
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 16.9.1976
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 10.2.1977
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 25.5.1977
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 21.9.1977
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 16.12.1977
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 23.2.1978
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 24.5.1978
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 20.9.1975
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 21.2.1975
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 21.2.1972
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 14.9.1972
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 19.3.1973
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 27.9.1973
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 21.2.1974
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 18.10.1974
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 19.12.1974
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 30.10.1989
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 25.5.1987
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 26.5.1986
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 19.5.1975
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 29.10.1975
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 11.4.1980
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 16.12.1980
[Volume] Minutes of the Board, 14.9.1978

Access

Archives are accessible via the FELM archive unit. Consult the archivist for detailed information: arkisto@mission.fi.
Documents from 1967 onwards are situated at the FELM archives, Vuorimiehenkatu 17 A, Helsinki.

Address

The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission
PL 154
FI-00141 Helsinki
FINLAND

Visiting address:
Tähtitorninkatu 18, Helsinki
Telephone: (09) 12 971 (reception),
Fax: (09) 129 7337
E-mail: sls@suomenlahetysseura.fi
Website: http://www.suomenlahetysseura.fi/ls_en/external link

The library/archive unit:
Visiting address: Vuorimiehenkatu 17 A
Telephone: (09) 1297 239 (librarian)
(09) 1297 321 (archivist)
E-mail: kirjasto@mission.fi (library)
arkisto@mission.fi (archives)

Extent:

Unknown.

Country:

Finland

Period:

1990-1990

Keywords:

Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission FELM Finnish Missionary Society FMS Angola Namibia South Africa Ovambo-Kavango Church ELOC ELCIN Education and Health care Aid Religious organizations Religious missions Christianity History Anti Apartheid movements Liberation movements Anti Racism movements