I don’t know what you think of the Vancouver Canucks letting Jannik Hansen go, but I am fine with it. First off, they have actually won a few of their games lately; secondly, I have written to him twice to ask for a jersey for one of our auctions and Jannik Hansen has never even had the courtesy to reply.
Then there are the Sedin’s. I am beginning to wonder if they have been on for too long and should be replaced, or they are the glue that keeps things together, or at least the attraction that keeps good young players coming.
And what does that all have to do with our church? Well, not much since they have had nothing to do with it, but at the same time a whole lot because there is a sense of winning to growth, and we all enjoy that feeling.
A lot of good things have happened over the past year, but like the Canucks we have also been under-scoring. Last year I asked you to all help us get more members and we have become fewer over that year, and that is under-scoring big-time.
But we have also had a fastelavn that was almost bursting at the seams—the barrel took its time but there was such a joyful noise from all the young families—and we have many other things going on that are enjoyed by a few or by many.
This year is special because we are preparing for celebrating the quincentennial of the Reformation—500 years since Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg in Germany thereby got part of Christianity out of a web of politics misunderstandings. Next Wednesday we get together in the church to sing Danish Luther hymns and on Wednesday the 29th we have a very lively history professor from SFU come and tell us about how the Catholics have seen and in the current order of things see the Reformation. If you sometimes think the pope is right about a thing or two you may want to come and listen to Hilmar Pabel.
Something else that will be new this year is that by the second half of September a new pastor should be installed and there is a lot to do in that regard.
I was talking to some of our ladies a few days ago, and one said, “It is so sad to care about somebody and then see them leave. But we also know that after a while we get to know the new one.” You see, when I came in 2012 I got a wonderful reception and people were as open and welcoming as we at all time should be to anyone who walks through these doors, and I hope and trust that you will welcome the new pastor and get to know him or her really quickly.
One way to do it fast is to begin coming to Bible Study. We talk about the texts for the previous Sunday as well as about the pastor’s sermon: What was the thought behind this and that, and what is the cultural explanation for things that happen in the Bible stories? We laugh a lot on those Thursday mornings, and even when the service was in Danish somebody will translate it into English which can also lead us to discuss what you can say in one language that you cannot say in another. Thursday mornings in the library, Ladies and Gentlemen, from 9.30 to around 11.00, and you are welcome to bring a friend; we usually break for the summer and from mid-December to sometime in January.
The Danish Kom-Sammen is another good way to get to know the pastor and to meet with old and new friends. We sing from Højskolesangbogen and the pastor may have chosen a subject for the day that we may or may not stay with until we talk and sing some more. This season’s subjects have been as diverse as Peter Freuchen, a film about Denmark in the fourties and fifties Hvor mindets blomster gror,, Tycho Brahe, Kongernes Jelling and Svend Asmussen—and as I was writing this I realized that there were really no women in this (but there certainly has been in other years), and so I have decided that in May we will hear about Queen Margrethe (her birthday is on Easter Sunday when we also have confirmation, btw.).
In the fifties, sixties and seventies the Open House evenings were a chance to get to meet new people and have a lot of fun, but it is as if modern day Danes hear the word as a trap, a way of getting people through the door in order to never let them go again. And so, we no longer have Open House every month but we do love the Frikadelle Competition which still falls on a Friday and draws people of all ages, though the weather this year was a bit of a challenge. And we also have movie nights that draws anywhere from six to 26 people, depending on the subject. However, we may need to rethink the Open House and what draws people to the church.
So, what is going on at the church?
The statistics for baptisms last year looked like we don’t need a new bowl, but little Jacob’s baptism was the sixth this year and we will have three more before Easter so that should (statistically) make up for last year’s slump. Anything above and beyond are just added blessings, if I may say so.
I am sure that each and every one who is here today is here because of love for this church and what is going on in it. We have to spread that love!
Last year I challenged you to get more members, and I know I have been doing a bit to make that happen but still our numbers have declined.
There are some young families who are very steady at events for children, but even if we make more of those events we still need those of you who have adult children and grandchildren to talk to them about membership and about being a little more active. And when you meet young Danes out and about, let them know that this is a Danish church that is different from a Danish church—that even if they have their hesitations it is still worth supporting the culture and maybe contributing with ideas to how the church may be more relevant for them. No pastor can do that alone—it takes all of us.
As a congregation we should always be friendly & involving. I know, some are more shy than others and some really need to talk to a particular person on a particular day, but let us remember to say hello to those whose faces we don’t recognize and maybe ask them what we may do for them. We are a team and it takes each and every one to make the church flourish.
In order to grow a beautiful garden you need a lot of hard work that doesn’t look too hard to the one who first sees the garden when it is in full bloom. And we need to do all that labour-intensive stuff right now so that here will still be a church for the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
So, let’s roll up our sleeves!
Birgitte Saltorp, Pastor.