Recently, our diocesan communications officer received a request from St Saviour’s Anglican Church in Riga, Latvia asking for a greeting by way of a postcard or electronic letter from other Anglican churches around the world for them to display in their recently renovated church. Having had a delightful visit to Riga in 2007, and seen St Saviour’s, I was very pleased to respond on behalf of HTC.
I recounted my delight when, on turning a corner as I was exploring the Old City, to come across an actual Anglican Church, where I least expected one to be.
The church is located on the aptly named Anglikanu Street, on the western edge of the Old City right beside the river.
I sent the “electronic card” which is available below with this post, and within a few days received this reply from Joe Horgan, who was coordinating the whole project. He wrote …
Thank you so much for the lovely card and for the story of your connection with Rīga! I'm so happy to hear that you had a positive experience in your time here. It is quite strange to find an Anglican church here, especially one that is technically part of the Church of England, but there has actually been quite a strong Britain-Latvia connection over the years. British sailors built our church in the 1860s due to the amount of trade that they did with the port of Rīga, and one of Rīga's most famous mayors was a British man named George Armitstead. Prince Philip also visited our church about ten years ago to unveil a plaque commemorating British soldiers who gave their lives in the Latvian war of independence.
Although I don't think I've passed through New Westminster, I did have the pleasure of driving through British Columbia as a part of a trans-Canada road trip that I did with my beat friend about ten years ago. You are lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, with lakes forests and mountains everywhere that leave you in awe of the wonders of creation.
Thanks again so much for the postcard, and have a blessed week!
Several weeks later, when the time for receiving postcards was up, a subsequent message came, outlining the results of the project.
… Dear friends around the world,
From the bottom of our hearts, we cannot thank you enough for supporting our "Baznīcu nakts" (Night of Churches) event by sending us cards for our special display. In all, we were blessed to receive cards from more than 250 churches in 36 countries throughout the world! Throughout Saturday evening, more than 500 people visited the church and were able to enjoy your cards and learn about your special churches…
I have attached a few pictures from the event so you can see how the cards were displayed. We attached them hanging on strings so that our visitors could read your lovely messages as well. This was also the very first day after we finished phase 1 of a massive ongoing ceiling renovation project, so we were blessed as well to finally have the large scaffolding down (at least for now!) and to be able to access the entire church building.
We have decided that even after the event is over, we will still continue displaying the cards as a permanent exhibition in the back of the church, and we will continue adding to it over time if anyone else continues to send us postcards. If you are ever able to make it out to Rīga one day, then perhaps you can find your card on our wall!
Thanks again for your friendship and cooperation in making this idea a reality!
Yours in Christ,
St. Saviour's Anglican Church in Riga
I was delighted to participate along with several other parishes in our diocese with this wonderful “people-to-people” project. It brought back several wonderful memories of my time in Latvia, and answered a question that had been puzzling me ever since…”Why is there an Anglican Church in such an unexpected setting?”
Top Scroll - Three photos of displays of cards from around the world sent from St. Saviour, Riga
In the body of the copy HTC interior and St. Saviour, Riga interior