Churches call again!

A song of ascents. Of David. “I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”” Psalm 122:1

David called on going up to Jerusalem, but first it may be worthwhile to visit the houses of the Lord in Estonia to learn (more) of the faith of our forebears and familiarise ourselves with the sanctuaries they have built.

A sanctuary (church, prayerhouse, abbey) is a place that may be entered by any wayfarer regardless of whether he/she is its member or is or is not interested in religion or in researching its origin. One may step into sanctuaries to just take a rest, but also to calm down and contemplate on one’s life. One may also take time for prayer or for communion with the Creator of the heavens and the earth. After all, churches have been erected for the worship of God, for an individual to come and offer to God his/her thanks as well as prayers, to be encouraged and then to resume his/her journey.

Having been in quite a few countries where I could notice the sign “Wayfarers’ Church” on my way, I have decelerated and driven in the direction pointed. It is a joy to see a church with doors open, where you are literally awaited. You find a booklet on the table, sometimes even a guide/minister/volunteer willing to fill you in on the church particulars. On occasion, the door has been furnished with a notice reading “Please give a call, and it will be opened on you.”

Here in Estonia such roadsigns are not yet common. But we have a great aid on hand, the guidebook “Wayfarers’ Churches”. Its purpose is to introduce both the domestic and foreign tourists to Estonia’s beautiful and, in many respects, unique houses of worship: churches, chapels, prayerhouses and abbeys. First, find on the guidebook’s regional map the place with a sanctuary you are interested in, and its number refers you to the required details. You will learn the name of the sanctuary in both English and Estonian, along with its construction date and location, and the required phone number. Added is a brief bilingual overview, the date and time of worship services and the denominational affiliation.

Throughout its long history, Estonia has seen the erection of a host of churches and prayerhouses on its soil. The guidebook presents more than 400 of them, and they constitute a major part of our cultural heritage. The Estonian Council of Churches is delighted to call you over to revisit the already familiar sanctuaries as well as discover new ones.

Ruudi Leinus
Executive Secretary,
Estonian Council of Churches

A.D. 2021