The Feast of Christ the King is on 23rd November. Before that we have two ”Sundays after Trinity” and three ”Sundays before Advent” – including the Remembrance Sunday and All Saints’ Sunday.
It is perhpas time to write some thoughts about the year past. After all, the First Sunday of Advent will then bring us to the new beginning of a new cycle of Chrstian year. We have achieved much this year. Most of that work has been perhaps silent and invisble. Some of it still in a very early stage. There is not much to boast about but I do feel that some of the ground work has been accomplished which will allow us to continue from here.
Children’s ministry has been – and continues to be – a shining example what we can do. For years we have been struggling with Sunday School; should we have it? When we have introduces one, there has been no children and when we have had children, there has been no one to teach them. No we seem to have both but much work is needed that it will keep that way; we are constanly looking to spread the responsibility in order to take the burden from those individual who now make the effort to be in Church Sunday after Sunday.
What the Sunday School has also revealed is that we are very dependant on each of you spreading the word. No magazine or advertisement can replace the need of you to say to your friends and neighbours that the Anglican Church exists in Helsinki and elsewhere in Finland. And thank you for having done so already. Please continue the good work.
Average attendance on Sunday has been remarkably good this autumn. You may have noticed that team of servers (those helping the priest by carrying candles and cross and by receiving the bread and the wine) is getting very small. I would like to intorduce the Altar Guild of St Nicholas, and to invite those interested to be part of the team taking care of – not only serving on Sundays – but making sure the altar linen is in good condition and that the silver is fine and polished. I do not think it comes as a surprise to you if I say Joan has done much of this recently. And I am sure she will be happy to continue, but it is always good to have people committed to help especially on those occasion when I or Joan are not available.
As part of this, I would like to appoint an honorary Verger who would take care of the overall functions of the sacristy. This person would be in responsibility to make sure there is some one on Sunday to prepare the service and assist the priest. Verger’s role would therefore be to make sure the Altar Guild functions as it should. This is not so demanding job as it may sound; most of the time it rquires one to four phone call or e-mail per week.
The finance of the Chaplaincy has been challenging this year. As explained in the Annual Meeting, the way the Lutheran Parish Federation supports the Chaplaincy changed very quickly and unexpectedly at the end of last year. This resulted a serious cash flow problem for this year. Your regular giving on plate and using direct bank debits has brought us very far. The Lutheran Parish Federation is making a decision on 23rd October whether or not they will grant us 4.000€ extra for this year’s expenses.
It is perhaps more important now that the Annual Bazaar brings in good income. Again I am asking you to spread the word about the Bazaar which takes place on the 22nd November at noon in the Crypt of Mikael Agricola Church. And I hope those in responsible for arranging the event know how much their works appreciated. I have, once again, asked the British Ambassador, Sarah Price, to say the opening words.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the First World War. I had a chance to speak with the British Ambassador and the Defence attaché about their expectations for the Remembrance Day service. We all shared the view that our task is to teach and to remind the young generations about the sacrifices of those who have suffered in any war. We also discussed that being in a place like Helsinki, this is not solely a British – or even an Allied – event but it is an act where we encourage all to work for peace and for the relief of want and suffering.
After the Harvest Festival on Sunday, 12th October, there shall be no special events before the All Saints’ Sunday on 2nd November. There is an existing list of those whom we have been asked to remember at our service on that Sunday I will give the list to Joan so that you can add the names of those whom you wish to be remembered. At the end of the service the name swill be read and the choir sings “Give rest, O Christ, to thy servants”.
May God bless you!