Chapel of Silence in Helsinki’s Kamppi Center is an adventure
Everyone can spend time in the chapel in their own way
By Noora Penttinen
There is an expectant hush in the wooden chapel entitled Hiljaisuuden kappeli (”Chapel of Silence”).
The hustle and bustle of the city remain outside the chapel walls. There are no windows, but light reaches the hall through the skylight above.
Hiljaisuuden kappeli, which has gone up on the Narinkkatori Square next to the Kamppi Center in downtown Helsinki, now needs only a few finishing touches.
The Kamppi Chapel of Silence is a part of the 2012 World Design Capital programme. The chapel will offer a place for quiet meditation and occasionally for conversation with personnel from Helsinki’s congregations and the Social Services Department. Six employees from both will be available for a chat.
The chapel will be opened to the public in connection with a community singing event to be arranged on May 30th. At the same time, the chapel will also be consecrated.
Tarja Jalli, Executive Manager of the Kamppi Chapel of Silence, describes the activities of the chapel as an adventure.
”There will be no routines here, nor any accomplishments to be set and achieved. Our work is based on customers’ own needs and questions as they come up.”
Policies have not taken shape yet. ”In the chapel practically everything is allowed that does not disturb other visitors’ moments of silence”, notes Taija Elste, a youth work supervisor at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.
It is perfectly alright to come in with a mug of coffee, while sleeping visitors will not be woken up, either.
Meetings with staff will take place in the common space of the chapel. There will be no private premises for conversations, but customers will be directed to discuss with other employees of the church and the city as the need arises.
”My own scope of work is not confined to the walls of the chapel, but I will move around in the shopping centre and at the square”, Elste reports.
There will always be at least two employees in attendance in the chapel.
The staff will also move outside of the chapel. Even if a given employee the customer is looking for is not present, it is possible to reach them.
In addition to Finnish and Swedish, it is possible to get service in the chapel at least in English and German.
In an emergency, tourists will also be given assistance, too.
The Chapel of Silence will be open from the beginning of June on weekdays from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm, and at weekends from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.