Pastor Mark Vainikka will be the new Bishop of the Queensland District, following today’s election by Synod delegates.
Pastor Mark was born in Helsinki, Finland, and was baptised into God’s family 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 (Rafael currently in the U.S.A, Gabrielle in Canberra and Samuel in Brisbane).
Mark was ordained in 2002 and has served the LCAQD in parish ministry, school ministry and as full-time First Assistant Bishop. Mark has a Licentiate in Theology from Alphacrucis College, a bachelor’s degree in theology from Luther Seminary, a Graduate Diploma in Ministry from Luther Seminary, a Master of Theology from the University of Manchester and a Master of Learning and Development from the University of Southern Queensland.
Mark is currently submitting his PhD thesis in Professional Research Studies for final examination with the University of Southern Queensland. His research examined ecclesiastical governance legitimacy in the Lutheran Church of Australia Queensland District. He also has qualifications in business (major in accounting) and completed studies in communications and journalism.
The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper sustains Mark’s faith, as do the ancient patterns of devotion in the contemplative Christian tradition. As he continues to serve the church, Mark is keen to highlight the role of prayer in the life of a Christian and the Christian church. He is also keen to explore how the gospel can be shared in meaningful ways in contemporary Australia and how congregations can be supported as the foundational mission entities of the church. The recognition and acknowledgement of all God’s children in the life and work of the church is important to Mark.
Mark has served the LCAQD as vice-president/assistant bishop for eight years and most recently as First Assistant Bishop since 2018 and full-time First Assistant Bishop since 2019. He has served the LCAQD as Acting Bishop as required since 2018. He is a member of various district and national committees and boards and is also currently a member of the editorial board of Church Polity: International Studies in Protestant Church Polity, a peer reviewed international journal on ecclesiastical governance.
In his spare time, Mark trains for his next marathon, reads, or restores classic cars.
Addressing Synod after his election, Pastor Mark said: “It’s very humbling. You have entrusted me to be your Bishop. It is a call to serve you.” He referred to the assurance he finds in the words of the well-loved hymn ‘Be still my soul:’
Be still my soul: your God will undertake
to guide the future as he has the past
your hope your confidence let nothing shake,
all now mysterious shall be clear at last …
Pastor Vainikka will take up the office of Bishop in the coming months. He succeeds Bishop Paul Smith, who did not stand for re-election.