Music Ministry – Circular Collaboration

I am excited to join you all and begin my musical work and development at the Anglican Church of Finland.

During the course of the summer, we are beginning to implement music back into the service in various forms after a significant and lengthy absence due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Music is worship. For many people, it is the most intimate and powerful expression of their faith.

It is in this spirit of faith and worship that I am collaborating with the broader musical and artistic community in Helsinki and inviting them to join in the services at the Anglican Church of Finland. 

The presence of guest musicians at our services will serve two fundamental purposes: to assist the existing choral community to reach their highest individual and collective potential and for the professional musicians to share, through their skill and expertise, their own experience of faith and reality with our congregation through their various art forms.

This collaboration is not one-sided. The grand musical tradition of the Anglican Church will be made alive with each performance and many in this city and country will be exposed to its sublime beauty and subtle power for the first time.

It is this circular collaboration that I hope to foster to the highest level possible at the Anglican Church of Finland thereby creating a spiritual, cultural, and musical exchange in this community and country.

Erik Johannes Riekko
Director of Music

Born in Canada, Erik is a Finnish-Canadian choral conductor and pianist based in Helsinki. He actively works as a collaborative pianist with singers and musicians in Finland and internationally.  He is also the conductor of a professional chamber choir in Helsinki. Erik is excited to join the Anglican Church in Finland and develop the strong choral and musical tradition that exists here, in addition to fostering a strong and multi-dimensional relationship with the diverse cultural community of Helsinki, at large, in the promotion of music from the Anglican tradition.


Be fruitful

Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a person who sows seed on a field while he was asleep an enemy sows bad seed or weed in the field.

His disciples approached him and asked him to explain the meaning of the parable to them. He says that he who sows the good seed is the son of man and the field is the son of man. The field is the world, the good seed is the children of the kingdom and the weeds are the children of the devil.

In the explanation of the parable Christ declares that he is the sower, he spreads his redeemed seed through his believers in the field, through his grace they bear the fruit in their hearts, which produces good morals in the society.

The enemy in the parable is the Satan, in opposition to Christ, the devil tries to destroy the church. We have false teachers, deceivers, unbelievers in the society. They told the master can we remove the weed and the master said allow both to grow, because it would be difficult to separate until harvest time .

The enemy has a plan for sowing the bad seed, the signs can be visible when we experience violence, hatred, no love, corruption, deceit. We have counterfeit Christian and it is difficult to notice.

In Mat 13 Jesus said that by their fruits we shall know them. God allows the unbelievers to change before the harvest time. The church must allow the evil ones to change and we must not be quick to exclude or judge others. God will judge everyone after harvest.

The mission of the church is to sow the good seed to the world. We must help to make our society good and peaceful, by uprooting every bad seed in our lives through our action in our families, relationships and work places.

The disciples went to Jesus to interpret the parable. God is God and has solution to our problems. We must have time to study the bible and to pray to God for spiritual revelations. We have to observe when there is contamination and bad influence in our lives and love ones.

Who are you, good seed or bad, we must remember the harvest time of God is coming. We must say sorry to God and individuals we have offended. God is merciful and able to help us to bear good seed, Amen.

Revd Isaac Ohaju
Sermon, Sunday 19th July

Isaac Ohaju is a Priest and a Bible Teacher ordained in the Diocese of Ngbo Nigeria. He graduated from the University of Nigeria Nsukka with Masters in Educational Leadership and Management. He is a Social worker, graduated from Diak University of Helsinki in Social service and Diakonia.

“Faith Communities responding to ongoing COVID-19 crisis” Webinar report

How are our leaders leading through uncharted territory, meeting moral obligations of loving our neighbors and ourselves, guiding and caring for our people in an unprecedented time of uncertainty, and holding out hope in the face of despair? Those were the questions the Anglican Church in Finland and the Dublin City Interfaith Forum wanted to find out and discuss together.

Webinar was co-organized 15th May to facilitate mutual sharing between Faith communities in Finland and Ireland. Webinar gave light to the diverse role and devotional and practical responses of Religion during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 Revd Katri Kuusikallio (National Forum for Cooperation of Religions) emphasized the importance and power of interfaith dialogue and cooperation during time of crisis. She also shared practices and responses carried out by National Forum for Cooperation of Religions in Finland.

Hilary Abrahamson (Chair of Dublin City Interfaith Forum) raised a concern for children and young people and how they are being catered for. She also shared about the responses DCIF had made.

Revd Alan Hillard (Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy Service for TU Dublin) highlighted 6 pains he had identified together with University students while discussing about the current pandemic.

Revd Eeva-Kaisa Heikura (The Evangelical Church in Finland) shared the diverse ways Lutheran Church in Finland had contributed, and yet received feedback saying they are not doing enough. She raised a question about how faith communities could get their message more visible in today’s world.

Chaplain Tuomas Mäkipää (The Anglican Church in Finland) looked at the question from communications point of view. He reminded that religious communities are global communities. In online world, our audience is both national and global. Realizing that might make a significant impact.

Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop of Glendalough, concluded the webinar stating that, Religious communities are inter fold fabric of the society. He also stressed a need for Theology of Pain, Compassion and Hope.  

To make your own findings, we invite you to please click on the Link to view the Webinar Summary in You Tube.


Words have to be fulfilled

Words are important, but action really matters. Like ecumenical dialogue reports between churches are not completed until words in the paper have been fulfilled in the life of the churches. Like when the Word of Gospel becomes fulfilled and purifies the heart of Christians. So my words should become fulfilled in my heart and walk with the message.
I need to take action and steps for love.

I am very concerned that Finland is one of the most racist countries in Europe.[1] Especially for women, but for men and children too. What is wrong in our society? We need to openly declare and accept this and be prepared to denounce and change this, beginning with our own families, our communities and neighbors. We should all work against this racist harassment ecumenically in Finland.

Our church as well has committed to work against racism and violence and work for equality issues. Everyone’s experience matters. I wish you would like to tell me about your thoughts about these issues. It is important that we share our thoughts. We need to work together – to create a community where everyone has a voice and where we can be ourselves.

Probably you might know a tiny mustard seed.  It is very little, but it grows to become a great tree which gives fruit for many when it is given care and comfort.  We all are those little seeds and we need comfort and care for grow. I wish we all could live in a community where we can be safe and feel loved.

Saija Kainulainen is a member of the Section for Equality at the Finnish Ecumenical Council representing The Anglican Church in Finland; and also advocates for women’s issues at the Scandinavian ecumenical committee of women representing The Evangelical Lutheran church in Finland. She has almost completed her academic studies for a Master of Theology at University of Helsinki. Furthermore Saija is also a respected artisan and designed liturgical textiles for Suomenlinna Church in Helsinki.

Don’t hesitate to contact about any equality issues: saija@anglican.fi


[1] https://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2017/second-european-union-minorities-and-discrimination-survey-main-results

Back to the church

Dear people of St Nicholas, Helsinki!

Since Bishop David’s visit in the beginning of March to preside at a confirmation service much has happened. The following Sunday we still had a service, but soon after that, the government asked all religious communities to close their places of worship. We really did not have time to plan anything before we were all asked to stay at home as much as possible.

But now we are allowed to gather again! The Government has announced that public gathering of no more than 500 hundred persons are permitted if rules about social distancing and hygiene are observed.

The Diocese in Europe has published guidelines which each Chaplaincy must follow, alongside with local regulations, when opening churches again. I have discussed about our plans with the Dean of Helsinki also. The Chaplaincy Council met two weeks ago at Mikael Agricola Church to decide how we move forward.

Many of the new practices are actually familiar to those who have worshipped in a cathedral: vergers will greet you at the entrance and will guide you to your pew. They will give instructions when to move to receive Eucharist and so on. The most notable differences to the previous are that the eucharist is administered in one kind only (bread) and there is no singing in the service at the moment.

I look forward to seeing many of you soon! I am aware that not all of you are able to attend at the moment. Please do contact me if you wish to receive the communion at home (brought to you from the Communion celebrated at the Church). 

COVID-19 Guidance

Before entering the Church, please use the hand disinfectant provided or wash your hands in the vestibule bathrooms.

1. The Vergers are here to ensure your safety and those of other members of the congregation by overseeing the seating arrangements and providing guidance during the service.

2. The seating arrangements in the Church have been planned to ensure that a two-metre distance is maintained. Please respect the “keep free areas” signs. If you are here with your family or individuals who live with you in the same household, you are welcome to sit together.

3. Should you feel the need to cough or sneeze, please use a tissue or your sleeve. Used tissues can be disposed of in the bin at the entrance.

4. Please note that no singing will take place during the service.

5. At the point at which we are enjoined to share a sign of peace, please maintain a safe distance from other members of the congregation. The sign itself can take the form of a bow or a smile instead of shaking hands.

6. Holy Communion will be administered in the form of the wafer only. It is a clear principle of Anglican theology that the sacrament of Holy Communion is present and complete in either of the consecrated elements. The wafer will be administered by the Chaplain and you will be guided at this point in the service by the Vergers.

7. The Vergers will ensure that safe distancing is maintained when leaving the Church, please wait for their signal that it is safe to leave.

8. Offerings can be placed in a basket at the exit when leaving the service.

9. Please note that there is no post service gathering for tea and fellowship in the Crypt.

Emmanuel Eneh RIP

It is with great sadness that I have learnt the news about the death of Emmanuel Eneh. Emmanuel passed away on Thursday, 23rd April 2020.

Emmanuel was a long-standing member of the Anglican Church in Finland and had a significant lay ministry at the International Congregation of Christ the King in Tampere. He served many years as an Anglican Licensed Lay Reader, working together with the priests of the Lutheran Parishes in Tampere in providing pastoral and liturgical ministry to the international church community gathering in Vanha kirkko. His commitment to the implementation of Porvoo Agreement (between Anglican and Lutheran Churches), and his service to the wider community by participating in local politics in Tampere, were a source of inspiration for many.

Emmanuel remained as a member of the Diocesan Synod of the Diocese in Europe until his death. He was also a member of the Deanery Synod of the Nordic and Baltic states.

We remain grateful for Emmanuel’s ministry and pray for him and his family. He is survived by his wife and three children

Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace:
your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people;
A light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel. Luke 2.29-32

Tuomas Mäkipää

Chaplain
Chair of the Diocesan House of Clergy

Book of Common Prayer, Altar of Mikael Agricola Church

Dear people of the Anglican Church in Finland,

The outbreak of Corona virus (COVID-19) has caused some anxiety among people. The Chaplaincy is monitoring closely the instructions given by the Finnish authorities and the EU. Our practice of using common cup at the Eucharist is based on a long tradition of theology of the Church and this practice is maintained in the Canons Law of the church. This practice differs from what one could describe as a ‘norm’ in Finland. For this reason, the Anglican Church in Finland is following also the guidance from the Church of England concerning the corona virus. Please find below instructions from our Bishops.

Tuomas Mäkipää, Chahplain and Area Dean

The Church of England publishes guidance to all clergy and congregations here:

https://www.churchofengland.org/coronavirus

Please find below a letter from our Bishops to the congregations in the Diocese in Europe:

“We have decided to go somewhat beyond this advice [described in the link above] in certain respects because of the mobile and international nature of our congregations and in the light of medical advice we have received. We preface this advice by re-iterating that coronavirus appears to present a particular risk to elderly people and those with reduced immunity or a pre-existing health condition. Our advice is given out of a mutual concern for the wellbeing of all members of our chaplaincies. 

  1. We encourage individuals and congregations to follow good hygiene practices, including:
    1. Carrying tissues and using them to catch coughs and sneezes, and binning the tissue
    2. Washing hands with soap and water (for 20 seconds) or using sanitiser to kill germs.
  2. If possible provide hand gel at entrances and ensure there is a good supply of soap or hand gel in cloakrooms and kitchens. In addition, priests presiding at the Eucharist, communion administrators and servers should wash their hands, preferably with an alcohol-based sanitiser. Sidespeople/welcomers and those serving refreshments should take similar precautions.
  3. Try to clean hard surfaces such as door handles and communion rails regularly.
  4. The exchange of a gesture of peace prior to sharing Communion is for many, a much-loved moment in the service. However, we recommend that, for the time being, this gesture is restricted to a smile and words of peace to those in closest proximity rather than physical contact (kiss or handshake) with everyone in the church.
  5.  We recommend that communion is distributed in the form of bread/wafer only. Both elements will be consecrated but the wine should not be distributed. Congregations can be reassured that this does not diminish the nature of the Eucharist. It is a clear principle of Anglican theology that the sacrament of Holy Communion is present and complete in either of the consecrated elements. (We are aware that distribution of the elements in one kind only has already been adopted by some chaplaincies.)

Infectious diseases seem to cause higher levels of public anxiety than other threats, perhaps because we can’t see them or sense them. And although social media can satisfy our desire for information they have the capacity to fuel anxiety. Avoiding panic is a key part of responding to coronavirus for all of us in positions of leadership.

This guidance is intended as a prudent response to an unusual challenge. It represents a set of sensible precautions to promote health and wellbeing in the conditions of our diocese.

Meanwhile, we pray that our chaplaincies and congregations can be oases of peace, loving fellowship and hope in times of anxiety. We continue to pray for those infected by the coronavirus, for those who care for them, and for health specialists and authorities who are combatting the spread of infection.”

+Robert Gibraltar in Europe +David

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