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29 Dec 2017

CHRISTMAS IN HELSINKI

Last weekend was a busy time in cold and dark but snowless Helsinki. Our Christmas season began with the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. The Choir, Nicholas Singers, were lead by Agnes Goerke who is the organist of the German Church. The Helsinki Cathedral organ was played by Adrian Mumford, our newly retired Diocesan Secretary. The service was attended by 850 persons! The Choir, specially called together for this service, was praised by many who attended the service.
 
 
In the photos above you see how things have changed from 1965 to 2017.
 
On Sunday morning, the Fourth Sunday of Advent, the Sunday School children perfomed a nativity play they had prepared and rehearsed during the past weeks. In the evening, on Christmas Eve, the Eucharist was celebrated in the former prison chapel in Katajanokka. The service was bilingual (Finnish English) as the residents of the area like to take this rare opportunity to visit this beautiful chapel. The prison has been converted in to a hotel and among the congregation were many visitors to the city.

The Christmas Day Eucharist was a mid-day service to allow people to get to the church by public transport. It was a joyous service with many visitors as well as many regulars. We are a transient community and many leave the city for Christmas. It was, therefore, a big surprise that between 22 and 25 December more than a thousand attended Anglican services in Helsinki. There were other Anglican services around Finland.
 
The use of social media and spending some money to sponsor our events advertisements in the Internet has helped us to reach new people. The long and strong tradition of Nine Lessons and Carols is something we are grateful as it allows us to share the Christmas joy to the wider community and also make us know to many who are unaware of the presence of Anglican Church in Finland.

Photo above: The Chapel of the former Katajanokka prison.