Pastor Mark Vainikka has been installed as the new bishop for the LCANZ’s Queensland District.
Watched via livestream by family members interstate and overseas, including his parents, who were in lockdown in Victoria, Bishop Mark was installed on Sunday 19 September during a service hosted by Redeemer Lutheran College, Rochedale, by District Bishop Emeritus Noel Noack. Due to COVID-19 travel restriction concerns, Bishop Emeritus Noel represented LCANZ Bishop John Henderson, who shared words of encouragement for the new bishop via a video greeting, which was played during the service.
Bishop Emeritus Noel also preached at the installation service on the gospel text of Mark 9:30–37, focusing on verse 35: ‘Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all”.’ Queensland First Assistant Bishop Ben Hentschke and Second Assistant Bishop Nathan Glover were liturgists for the service, while Bishop Emeritus Paul Smith, the immediate past bishop, was among the assistants.
Many of the participants in the service represented the parishes and schools Bishop Mark has served in ministry since being ordained as a pastor of the LCA in 2002, including contributions by the Senior Singers and Christian Dance group from Redeemer Lutheran College, where he was college pastor from 2018 to 2019.
Elected unopposed as bishop during the Queensland District Convention of Synod at Eight Mile Plains in June, he succeeds Bishop Paul, who served in the role since June 2015 and did not seek re-election.
As well as serving in parish and school ministries, Bishop Mark was previously the LCAQD vice-president/assistant bishop for eight years, first assistant bishop since 2018 and the full-time first assistant since 2019. Addressing District Synod after his election, he said: ‘It’s very humbling. You have entrusted me to be your bishop. It is a call to serve you.’
Bishop Mark was born in Helsinki, Finland, and was baptised in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. He immigrated to Australia with his parents and siblings as a child and was raised as an active member of the Mikael Agricola Finnish Lutheran Church, Melbourne. Mark married Minna in 1988. They have three adult children.