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Partly state-funded new church in Jõgeva also to serve as community center

Jõgeva's new church.
Jõgeva's new church. Source: ERR

While its official opening as a church and first service yet lie ahead at the end of December, the concert hall at Jõgeva's new church is slated to start serving as a venue to various cultural events already beforehand.

Over the weekend, hundreds of schoolchildren gathered at the new building, built around one of the railroad city's old water towers. This Friday marks the first concert to be held here as well. The only clues currently indicating its status as a place of worship include a cross shining at the top of the tower and the sounds of an organ being tuned echoing from the main hall.

Located on Turu tänav, the building has largely been built with support from the state, including so-called protection money but also funding allocated from Estonia's state budget, to the tune of a combined nearly €1.5 million. Some 40 supporters also donated to the cause, each of which had a step dedicated to their name on the stairs of the church tower.

Isamaa MP and former longtime Jõgeva municipal mayor Aivar Kokk stressed that taxpayer money went toward the construction of not just a church, but also a community center.

"There are weddings, concerts, funerals, and we're already seeing that the building has already been rented out for almost all weekday evenings for the next year – so this building has been awaited," Kokk said. "I believe the city of Jõgeva has gained a very beautiful building and large square."

"It's architecturally a bit strange, I suppose, but what's important is what's going to start taking place inside," said Janek, a local. "But I have so much to do that I don't plan on visiting there myself."

"I like all of it – already the very fact that Jõgeva didn't have a real church before," said Vello, another local. "Another thing is that there are those concert halls there – I really like those."

"It's a beautiful place and a beautiful church," Pjotr acknowledged. "The view is lovely; you can see the cross from afar already."

According to its pastor, the EELK's Jõgeva congregation has 54 members. Also set to use the new facilities, however, are a local school theater as well as several folk dance ensembles, which is why the building has been named not a church, but the Home of Fine Arts (Kaunite Kunstide Kodu) as well as a family center.

"It was with this intention that it was [built] after all – for the community and more broadly," Glaase highlighted. "Various activities, various age groups, various interest groups."

The stained glass window and other yet missing details should be in place by December 30, when Archbishop of the EELK Urmas Viilma is slated to visit Jõgeva to consecrate the new church.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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