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Christ Church Lutheran to host Finnish Christmas Carol event

The Christmas carols echoing in the sanctuary of Christ Church Lutheran in mid-December won’t be the ones usually heard there, but will be songs heard at the popular annual sing-along in Finland called “Kauneimmat Joululaulut,” or the “Most Beautiful Christmas Carols.”

The Twin Cities Finnish community, in partnership with Christ Church Lutheran, will host Kauneimmat Joululaulut December 15 at 2 p.m. Pastor Kristine Carlson will participate in the service, and music will be provided by the Minnesota Finnish Language School children and the Finnish brass septet, Ameriikan Poijat.

This year’s program will commemorate the lives of Rev. Antti Lepistö and Rev. Melvin Johnson, Lutheran pastors who were early leaders in developing Kauneimmat Joululaulut in the Twin Cities.

For Kauneimmat Joululaulut in Finland, nearly a million families will gather in churches around the country to enjoy their favorite carols sung either in Finnish, Swedish, or, for the first time this year, in Saami. The tradition was started 40 years ago by the Finnish Mission Society, which dedicates the offering to programs for children in Asia.

The fellowship hall of Christ Church Lutheran

“Joulu” coordinator Elina Ruppert looks forward to Kauneimmat Joululaulut every year. “It’s a time for all Finns to come together and sing the most beloved Finnish carols, and I hope this year we can share it with many new faces. These songs are so full of memories for many of us, these melodies that sound a little sad, yet are full of Christmas cheer and hope.”

A magical Christmastime

The Twin Cities sing-along will be part of “Joulu — Magical Finnish Christmas,” a new celebration of Finnish Christmas traditions, taking place from noon to 5 p.m. at Christ Church Lutheran, the church designed by Finnish architects Eliel and Eero Saarinen and now a National Historic Landmark.

For Kauneimmat Joululaulut in Finland, nearly a million families will gather in churches around the country to enjoy their favorite carols sung either in Finnish, Swedish, or, for the first time this year, in Saami.

This architectural heritage has brought the congregation and the Finnish community together for recent events, programs, and classes relating to Finland. In January 2012, approximately 1,000 people came to “Good Design is Forever,” the day-long event celebrating Finnish design, held at the church in conjunction with Helsinki World Design Capital 2012.

Christ Church Lutheran volunteer Mary Bode has been part of the planning committee for the Joulu event. “We appreciate being able to make connections with the Finnish community through this event,” she said, “because Finnish heritage is an important part of our church’s story.”

Other events of “Joulu — Magical Finnish Christmas” include an elegant Christmas Buffet by Finnish chef Soile Anderson, the “Tiernapojat (Starboys)” musical play, a wreath design contest, Finnish Christmas films, Christmas Marketplace, kids’ activities, and a Finnish café. While tickets must be purchased for the Christmas buffet, other activities are free, and the public is cordially invited.

For information and details on “Joulu—Magical Finnish Christmas,” go to www.gooddesignisforever.org or call 612/756-9050.

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