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Kahden maan kansalainen

Yet another year in the St Michael’s congregation is behind and summer is here, in Finland as well as in Canada. Fall 2017 – spring 2018 saw a lot of activities including a confirmation camp, first one since about 20 years! While writing this on summer holiday in Hyvinkää, Finland, I can’t help feeling other than real pride on our community. It has been a privilege to have been elected as member of the church council and even chairperson after the AGM 2018. The community of St Michael’s is a bunch of dedicated people ready to devote their time and energy for the common good of this over 90 years old congregation.

We left Montreal the last day of June, suffering only a moment from the heatwave of all times. The “always reliable” Finnish summer saved us from the heat and has given, perhaps a bit more than needed, rain to refresh us. Being in Finland feels like home and yet at the same time there is a part longing back to Montreal, perhaps we have also become citizens of two countries like Jaakko Löytty sings in the title song “Kahden maan kansalainen”? Probably he did not think of Finland and Canada writing the song but with open mind it can be used the way we wish, I guess. In the midst of jet lag and other troubles of travelling this song brings a lot of comfort into my, apparently quite Finnish mind.

The existence of St Michael’s since 1927 is something we can look back with pride and joy. In the midst of all the challenges of the modern society the heritage can occasionally also feel a bit like a burden. How should we cherish the work of the people that came and many that have gone before us? Religious activities are not exactly blooming in today’s society, neither in Finland nor Canada. A regular monthly worship in the Estonian church does no attract too many people, maybe it is not supposed to anymore, perhaps it is time for us to evolve into something else?

The council and other “activists” of St Michael’s have worked tirelessly in an effort to provide new experiences to the Montreal Finnish community while also remembering our basic functions. I would like to invite all of you, Finns or Finn-minded people to come and join us in our various activities, perhaps even a worship service sometimes just to notice that there is joy and laughter as there is supposed to be.

Roller-skating around the home town lake in Hyvinkää the other day, all sorts of ideas passed through my mind for the fall 2018 through spring 2019. Together we can make wonders, perhaps a mighty leap similar to Finland in the Happiest Country in the World ranking, from fifth into first in 2018 ranking :)

While enjoying the Finnish summer the song Kahden maan kansalainen reminds me of the return to home in Montreal. A highlight as well as holiday in Finland.

Samuli Vuokila

Chairperson, Church Council, St Michael’s Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church Montreal

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