TURKU, Finland Two years ago Church members in Turku, Finland, spearheaded an interfaith effort to include religious presentations in the city's bi-annual Book and Science Fair. The interfaith effort had been so well received in past years that this year's presentation comprised a major part of the fair's venue. The fair was held Oct. 13-15.
Eeva Stahle, Tampere Finland Stake's public affairs director, coordinated efforts with leaders from other denominations. She also developed portions of the stake program. She was assisted by Elders Jarkko Metsthti and Kari Haikkola and numerous members from Turku's two wards. Their program drew much attention and made a favorable impression on many. The Church occupied two booths where the eternal nature of families and the significance of temples were emphasized. Non-member visitors frequently said they felt as though they were in heaven. One visitor, who had passed the booth many times, finally entered and said, "I had to come and ask why you are all so happy." Another said, "If religion is like this, maybe I'll become a believer."
Developing the theme of eternal families, Seiju Hilakari discussed seeking ancestral roots and strengthening families through genealogical research. Kaarina Merenluoto discussed practical ways husbands and wives can improve their personal relationships. And to the delight of viewers, Asko and Annette Koponen, along with their three children and two of the Stahle girls, presented a family home evening demonstrating how to strengthen family ties.
During the presentations, 160 copies of the Book of Mormon, 210 copies of the Liahona, and 120 copies of the Temples magazines by the Ensign were distributed to interested visitors.
Three interfaith panel discussions were held where participants were drawn from Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Jewish and LDS faiths
For the third year, organizers of the Church's presentation felt the fair proved to effectively present the doctrines of the Church in a land where little is commonly known about the Church.