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The Good Samaritans of London - Harry Finnis
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By Mike Toth





Matthew 6:2-6: 2 “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

5 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.


Recently my son Benjamin and I slipped quietly into the back of the small chapel at St Paul’s Cathedral. In the chapel Harry Finnis was leading morning prayers, as he does 4 days a week, with one other participant. In this hidden place, unbeknownst to the rest of the world, two people were engaged in scripture reading and prayer with the God of the universe. It was intensely intimate.

Harry Finnis was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1963
This quiet intimacy with God has been the hallmark of Harry Finnis’ remarkable life. Finnis served in the British Army in the post war occupation of Germany, as an administrator in the Nanisivik mines in the Northwest Territories (also running the local church), Sergeant at Arms for the Legislature of the Northwest Territories, and has officiated services at St Georges Chapel at Windsor Castle with Queen Elizabeth II attending. Finnis has held 34 jobs over his extensive career, yet never applied for a job. He states that each and every opportunity was brought to him by God.

Finnis’ steadfast faith has been expressed in part by his 32 years volunteering for Compassion International. Finnis started while still living in the United Kingdom by sponsoring a child in Equador, who he was able to visit. He currently sponsors two children who he tries to visit once a year.

In addition to his child sponsorship he volunteers nearly every weekday at Compassion Canada headquarters here in London. He and several other volunteers scan all sponsor letters into a computer that preserves all correspondence that comes through, and routes them to the proper country. With his years of faithfulness it is fair to wonder when he’ll retire.

“The Lord doesn’t want me to stop,” laughs Finnis. “My life has been very exciting. I’ve never made a decision on my own (career-wise). I’ve always been guided by Christ.” The secret to Finnis’ steadfast service to the children Compassion Canada serves and the God he loves serves as an admonition to the rest of us.

“Try not to be influenced or blinded by the things of this world. The things of this world are the greatest deterrence to understanding Christianity and Christ.”

Finnis will be returning to the UK in October where he will continue to serve Compassion International.