Category : Finland

(ACNS) Refugees turn C of E into fastest growing religious group in Finland

The Church of England is the fastest growing religious group in Finland, growing by 20 per cent over the past year; the Suffragan Bishop in Europe, the Rt Revd David Hamid, has said. But, writing on his Eurobishop blog, Bishop David explained that much of the growth is the result of the continuing arrivals of refugees ”“ many of whom are Anglican ”“ from Sudan and South Sudan.

“Aid agencies warn that the upsurge of fighting in South Sudan will see the humanitarian crisis affecting millions of civilians worsening, he said. “The Finnish government, working with the UN, continues to offer settlement to Sudanese [and] South Sudanese fleeing the violence and war.”

As a result of the new arrivals, the priest in charge of the White Nile Congregations in Finland, part of the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe, finds his work growing. “Our church is fully engaged in many parts of this Nordic country in providing care, a spiritual home and pastoral accompaniment to the new arrivals,” Bishop David said during a visit to Helsinki where he was confirmed a number of candidates at St Nicholas’ Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Finland, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Theology

(FT) Russian air incursions rattle Baltic states

The Baltic countries are registering a dramatic increase in Russian military provocations, rattling nerves in a region which fears it could be the next frontier after Ukraine in Moscow’s quest at asserting its regional power.

Nato fighters policing Baltic airspace were scrambled 68 times along Lithuania’s borders this year, by far the highest count in more than 10 years. Latvia registered 150 “close incidents”, cases where Russian aircraft were found approaching and observed for risky behaviour. Estonia said its sovereign airspace had been violated by Russian aircraft five times this year, nearing the total count of seven over the previous eight years.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Eastern Europe, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Finland, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Russia, Sweden, Theology

(New York Review of Books) Diane Ravitch–Schools We Can Envy

In Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?, Pasi Sahlberg explains how his nation’s schools became successful. A government official, researcher, and former mathematics and science teacher, Sahlberg attributes the improvement of Finnish schools to bold decisions made in the 1960s and 1970s. Finland’s story is important, he writes, because “it gives hope to those who are losing their faith in public education.”

Detractors say that Finland performs well academically because it is ethnically homogeneous, but Sahlberg responds that “the same holds true for Japan, Shanghai or Korea,” which are admired by corporate reformers for their emphasis on testing. To detractors who say that Finland, with its population of 5.5 million people, is too small to serve as a model, Sahlberg responds that “about 30 states of the United States have a population close to or less than Finland.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Budget, Children, City Government, Economy, Education, Europe, Finland, Politics in General, State Government, The U.S. Government

(BBC) Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says

A study using census data from nine countries shows that religion there is set for extinction, say researchers.

The study found a steady rise in those claiming no religious affiliation.

The team’s mathematical model attempts to account for the interplay between the number of religious respondents and the social motives behind being one.

The result, reported at the American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, US, indicates that religion will all but die out altogether in those countries.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Austria, Canada, England / UK, Europe, Finland, Ireland, Religion & Culture, Switzerland, The Netherlands

A Profile of an Education System that is Effective: Finland's

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Education, Europe, Finland

BBC–Why do Finland's schools get the best results?

Last year more than 100 foreign delegations and governments visited Helsinki, hoping to learn the secret of their schools’ success.

In 2006, Finland’s pupils scored the highest average results in science and reading in the whole of the developed world. In the OECD’s exams for 15 year-olds, known as PISA, they also came second in maths, beaten only by teenagers in South Korea.

This isn’t a one-off: in previous PISA tests Finland also came out top.

The Finnish philosophy with education is that everyone has something to contribute and those who struggle in certain subjects should not be left behind.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Education, Europe, Finland