Study of Pentecostalism in Northern Europe

Academic research on Pentecostalism has increased noticeably during the past two decades. As Pentecostalism is currently the fastest growing form of Christianity, it also attracts interest, common and academic. Antropologists and other researches of religion have focused for a large part to southern hemisphere, Africa, Latin America, sometimes Asia. For some reason less attention has been given to European and especially North European Pentecostal scene. Pentecostalism has usualy longer roots in Northern hemisphere, but the rapidly growing and spreading Pentecostalism in south has gained more attention, maybe because it is relatively new, different. As a Finnish researcher I do think, though, that by researching the Pentecostalisms in the north we could also predict some possible futures for southern Pentecostalisms. The first generation Pentecostalism, which the African scene many times is, is or at least might be substantially different than what it will be when the second, third, and fourth (and so on) generations gain power positions in the churches. Another factor for this change can be economic and social development. If that doesn’t happen, the situation might of course be totally different than what it has been in northern welfare-states. There are many factors to be noted, and cultures of Pentecostalisms and movements vary from place to place and from time to time.

This week a seminar was arranged in Turku, for researchers of Pentecostalism in northern Europe, around the Baltic Sea. It brought together over dozen active researchers, who were delighted to share their views, research, and discuss with people who actually know what you are talking about. Few researchers couldn’t make it to Turku this time, but we hope to see them in other seminars and occasions, to continue with this idea, to coordinate research in Northern Europe. As I have experienced many times in bigger conferences, it is rare that you get to speak of your research with a larger group of other researchers, for whom you don’t have to explain some obvious details about the researched subject. You can of course talk about theoretical points with other researches of religion, but there is still the need for scholarly discussion that would help research in the specific questions and fields.

The seminar was a success, thanks for the participants and the keynote lecturer dr. Simon Coleman. It was extremely interesting to hear about the Pentecostal histories and current trends in eastcoast countries of the Baltic sea (Baltic states and Russia). We hope to continue with this path and make the study of Pentecostalism flourish also in the Northern Europe and of Northern Europe.

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