Date: Sunday 14th May

Location: Helsinki

Special occasion: worship with the Helsinki church of Christ. Yes, you read that right – I was in Helsinki for church yesterday. The occasion was a retreat for the staff of the UK, Irish, Scandinavian and Nordic churches of our family of congregations. We met for two days of meetings and then had our corporate worship together with the very hospitable members of the Helsinki church


Mohan preached and Forrest spoke on the topic of communion. Notable from communion was the sharing of Forrest’s wife, Mandy. She helped draw us into the emotional aspects of some of their challenges as a family over the past few years. The connection she made between the spiritual lessons such suffering had taught them helped us to connect with the purpose of the cross.

Mohan spoke with clarity and passion. His conclusion was clever. He wrapped up the lesson by giving us a summary, but using different wording from the actual titles of his points as made earlier in the lesson. This had the double effect of reminding us of the main points, but creating a deeper absorption due to the use of alternative words.

Today’s lesson: remind communion speakers to not neglect the emotional aspects of the sufferings of Christ as well as the physical. Plan my next conclusion better.


The singing was all a cappella. Bruce, Toks, Harri and I led the songs. Bruce & Harri exuded joy. Toks projected passion. It was hard not to be transported into the meaning of the songs with such expressive leadership. The men leading the songs had demeanours and countenances which communicated the heart of the lyrics.

Today’s lessons: remind myself and worship leaders to allow their faces to communicate the meaning of that about which we are singing.


The connection was strong, even though some of the people could not speak English! Part of this was down to the experience and confidence of the speakers and worship leaders. Confidence in the one leading worship has a calming effect on those participating such that they can relax and enter into the worship more fully.

Today’s lesson: train public speakers and singers in confidence as much as technique.

Other Matters

  • The enthusiasm of the group was greatly enhanced by the packed nature of the room. There were barely enough seats for everyone.

Today’s lesson: encourage people to sit close together.

Last week I said we would prioritise:

  1. Put a children’s song in the first part of the service – N/A in Helsinki
  2. Teach a cappella harmony songs to the singers – N/A in Helsinki

This week I’ll prioritise:

  1. Put a children’s song in the first part of the service
  2. Teach an a cappella harmony song to the singers

Let me know your ideas. You can leave a message here, or send me an email:

God bless,