Paul Dillingham, who has  served  as  organist  and  musician  for decades in  St  Nicholas’ Church, Helsinki has been honoured with the Canterbury Cross award at Lambeth Palace. 

At the ceremony he was one of 35 people from around the world who were recognised with awards for outstanding service to the church. Archbishop Justin Welby personally presented the awards, which recognise outstanding service in different fields, including those of Archbishop Justin’s ministry priorities: prayer and the Religious life; reconciliation; and evangelism and witness.

The present awards, first given in 2016, consist of three existing Lambeth Awards – the Lambeth Cross, the Canterbury Cross and the Cross of St Augustine – and six new awards named after previous holders of the office of Archbishop of Canterbury. The medals were made from Fairtrade silver by the London firm Cred Jewellery.

The citation on Paul Dillingham’s award was for “sustained and  outstanding  service to  the  Anglican Church in Finland. Paul was a  member of  the  Chapel  Choir  at  Winchester  College in  the  1950s,  before he molved to Finland  in  1964  where he has  lived  since the  late  1960s.  He has taught English language and culture, has translated  Finnish books  and  programme  notes  into  English  and  has  co-authored  textbooks.  He studied the piano and the organ in England, and  has  been  church  organist  at  the Anglican  Church  of St  Nicholas  in  Helsinki  for over forty  years. In addition to playing the organ and piano at regular services, which  he has  done without  payment  since  1971,  he  has  organised  services  such  as  the  Annual Festival  of  Nine  Lessons  and  Carols,  usually  held  in  Helsinki  Cathedral,  and  has created choirs  to  sing  on  special  occasions.  

Bishop Robert commented “This  award  is  most  fitting  as  Mr Dillingham  has  served  as  organist  and  musician  in  St  Nicholas’s  Helsinki  for decades.  It is an  isolated  post  in  terms  of  Anglicanism  –  and  one  which  has  for the  past  20  years  been  the  shop-window  to  our  ecumenical  Church  in  Communion Partner  the  Evangelical  Lutheran  Church  of  Finland.  The  musical  excellence which  Mr  Dillingham  has  maintained  over  the  years,  contributing  to  a  fine  and widely  appreciated  liturgy,  has  been  a  way  to  demonstrate  to  our  partners something  of  the  great  tradition  of  the  Church  of  England.  St  Nicholas’s  is  itself a  very  multinational  congregation  with  members  from  the  UK,  USA,  Canada, Kenya,  Sudan,  India,  Ireland,  Finland,  and  may  other  countries.  The  best  of  the musical  traditions  of  all  are  incorporated  into  the  Sunday  liturgy  through  Mr Dillingham’s  leadership.” "