When the construction in Tapanila, the blue-collar area of wooden houses better known as Mosabacka, started in the early 1900s, the closest church was the current St. Lawrence's church in the Helsinki parish. To revive spiritual life, theology students started to also organise services in those districts which did not have a church. The first service was given at the Tapanila elementary school in October 1923.
In 1924, the sewing circle of the small church association started its operations, which increased the assets for obtaining a plot for the church. According to the spirit of the time, the intention was to also build a work centre.
Led by Pastor F.E. Lilja, the Tapanila church support association was founded in September 1929. In 1932, Mrs. Wilhelmiina Nikander offered 3,000 square metres at the price of 45,000 marks to serve as a plot for the church. Summer parties, jumble sales and spiritual events were organised on the site to raise money for the church fund. Wilhelmiina Nikander later returned 5,000 marks of the money she had received, in memory of her daughter.
In 1947, the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare proposed to the parish that the church should be built by both organisations together. Two different sets of drawings were even made of the common building, but finally the project fell through because of lack of money. The same happened in 1950, when the drawings and cost estimate were made at the urging of the chair of the support association, teacher, K.J. Läntinen.
At the beginning of 1953, two new parishes were formed out of the so-called incorporated area, which belonged to the City of Helsinki: a Finnish parish and the Swedish Malmi parish. The following year, a of Malmi parish construction committee was set up and tasked to plan the construction of an ecclesiastical work centre, led by Huugo Vasara. The hope for its own church flared up again in Tapanila, and the church support association donated the plot to the Helsinki parishes at the end of January 1955.
The architect of the oldest church of the Malmi parish was Per Björkvall and the master builder was Felix Heikkilä, both from Tapanila. Excavation work started on 21 November; on 20 January 1957 the foundation stone was laid, and on 8 April the topping out celebrations took place.
When the Tapanila church was dedicated on 22 September 1957, President of the Republic, Urho Kekkonen and his wife were present. The church support association donated a church bell. The 11-stop organ by Gebrüder Jehmlich Orgelbau was completed in 1958.
In addition to church services, lively activity went on at the church: a Bible circle, men's circle, mothers’ club, circle for the elderly, Japan mission group, seamen's mission, church social work and Kauhala work circles, church choir, Sunday schools, youth and preteen clubs, hobby and gymnastics groups, and a day club led by Lilli Suopohja, which later became Daycare Tuikku. The Tapanila settlement also organised many types of programme.
During the parish division of 1961, Herttoniemi and Pakile were separated from Malmi as individual parishes.
The church was completely renovated in 1995 and almost all of the furnishings were replaced. The ground floor of the church was renovated again in 2009, when Daycare Tuikku moved elsewhere. The ground floor was given facilities for day clubs and clubs for schoolchildren. The scout troop, Koudat, was given its own meeting place.
On the church hall wall is hung a four-part textile artwork, Tapanilan vainiot (Tapanila fields), depicting the four seasons, by textile artist, Ritva Puotila. The parish meeting hall has a drawing by artist, Kylli Koski, known as Aunt Kylli, from 1995. On the 50th anniversary of the church in 2007, liturgical textiles made by the caretaker of the church, Maria Laakso, were put into use.
The Tapanila church is used by the Malmi parish.
Celebrations at the church
Members of the church can organise a baptism, a wedding or a funeral free of charge in the church.
The church seats 200, or 500 including the gym. The parish meeting hall seats 30 at tables. A service for 80 people can be arranged in the gym.