We at the Danish Lutheran Church of Vancouver, B.C., do so like visitors who can tell us a bit of news from Denmark.
As part of our celebrations in 2017 of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation we invited Dr. Hilmar Pabel of Simon Fraser University to tell us a bit about the Catholic response to the Reformation—then and now. We had a delightful evening and learned so much that the coffee grew cold.
His Excellency the Danish ambassador to Canada Niels Boel Abrahamsen visited our church on the morning of May 14th, 2014. We told the Ambassador a bit of our history, how we have always worked on the balance between Danish and English, and how we continue to adapt ourselves to the Danes (etc) who live here now.
The Ambassador told us that he after his previous assignment in Afghanistan enjoys peaceful Canada—despite the border dispute over Hans Island. We were also told that though all the major political parties in the Danish parliament are in support of allowing dual citizenship, technical complications have delayed this actually becoming law. Finally we also learned that though Canada and the European Union have agreed on a very comprehensive free-trade agreement, dairy products are excepted, so we should not get our hopes up for inexpensive Danish cheese.
Enten var der rock i synagogen, eller også har vi fået Habadekuk i Burnaby. Med mindre end 30 timers varsel fik vi samlet 90 mennesker til en fed koncert med dans mellem kirkebænkene—og så var der kaffe og kvalitetsis i lokalbagte “danske” isvafler i undersalen bagefter.
There was dancing between the pews as Danish band Habadekuk put smiles on our faces last night. With less than 30 hours’ head-up 90 people showed up for the concert, and there was coffee and ice cream in Danish style cones afterwards. Don’t you just wish you were here?
Bishop Steen Skovsgaard visited our church for the installation of Birgitte Saltorp as our new pastor on September 16th, 2012.
Our former pastor, Cathedral Dean Jens Arendt paid us a visit on occasion of our church’s 75th anniversary. We held a big party: catered dinner, even the volunteers got to sit down.
On Mothers’ Day 2012, Bruce Sagan visited our church. He and our own Lily Yen played Beethoven’s Spring Sonata for us.
The Danish ambassador to Canada, His Excellency Erik Vilstrup Lorenzen, and his wife, Mrs. Lise Brandi Hansen visited our church on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012.
We took the opportunity to tell the ambassador about Danish art in Vancouver and its influence on The Group of Seven, about Danish furniture in Vancouver, and about the failed Danish settlement on Cape Scott and “Professor” C.B. Christensen. Then we played a movement from Niels W. Gade’s piano trio opus 42.
The ambassador told us that now that we can no longer apply for Danish passports at the consulate in Vancouver, the embassy plans to send a travelling passport office to Vancouver in October. We hope that this will be enough of a success to become a recurring event.
October 18th, 2011, saw a concert with the Danish National Youth Brass Band, Dansk Amatør Orkesters Ungdoms Brass Band featuring soloist Allen Vizzutti playing in our church. This concert was funded in part by the Danish Canadian Community Centre of British Columbia.
Nicoline Jørgensen and Mikkel Kejser played for us at the service on Sunday, April 10th, 2011. Nicoline and Mikkel were in town on occasion of the Pacific Northwest Garderforening’s birthday bash for H.M. Queen Margrethe of Denmark.
After the service on the last Sunday during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics we rather spontaneously decided to watch the gold medal ice hockey game together. Canada won—of course.
On Sunday January 24th, 2010, Cynthia Chidley visited our church and told us a bit about her great grandfather, Professor C.B. Christensen, who was instrumental in establishing our church back in the 1930’ies.
On July 12th, 2009, we enjoyed a concert with organist organist Anne Sørensen from Næsby Church in Odense and her daughter, Ida, who plays the cello.
The FlikFlak Children’s Circus performed at a street party at the parsonage and at a service in our church as part of their 2009 tour to Canada.
We enjoyed our more than fifty visitors, managed organising the events, and got a sermon on keeping balance and several balls in the air.
The Hauka Men’s Choir from Sør-Trønderlag in Norway gave a very nice concert on June 21st, 2009, as part of their North American tour. We enjoyed the singing, of course, as well as fiddle playing and some very exciting piano.
Morten Larsen and Claes Jensen played for us at the service on Sunday, April 19th, 2009. Morten and Claes were in town on occasion of the Pacific Northwest Garderforening’s birthday bash for H.M. Queen Margrethe of Denmark.
The gymnasts from Gymnastikhøjskolen i Ollerup included us in their North American tour. After their impressive performance—pictures, unfortunately, do not do justice to this very dynamic art form—four members of the audience introduced themselves as former students at Ollerup, spanning more than half a century.
The Danish painter Rita Lund visited our church with a small exhibition of her work on September 13th (Men’s Dinner) and 14th, 2008. She told us about working on Ærø, about transporting an art exhibition in a suitcase, and about the insanity of artists in general.
The Camerata Choir and their conductor, Martin Nagashima Toft, gave an outstanding concert on July 6th as part of their cross Canada tour.
Bishop Steen Skovsgaard and his wife, Susanne, visited our church for a pot-luck lunch on Victoria Day 2007. The bishop talked to us about living for a couple of years as an outsider on the Faroe Islands, about coming back to Denmark and feeling like an outsider in his old parish that through immigration suddenly had more Muslims than Christians, about being elected bishop, and about transplanting a yucca palm to Lolland.
Pastor Bodil Toftdahl was installed on August 20th, 2006, by Pastor Anne-Sophie Christiansen of Granly.
The Secretary General of DSUK, Pastor Margith Pedersen, installed our new pastor, Søren Kristoffersen, on Sunday June 27th, 2004.
The Danish ambassador to Canada, His Excellency Svend Roed Nielsen, and his wife, Mrs. Anne-Marie Overbye visited our church on Thursday, October 18th, 2001.
The ambassador told us about his job. Being new in Ottawa, he talked about his previous post in Estonia. The Danes back home seem to have taken the three Baltic republics to heart in a way that is new to many of us over here, so that was nice to hear.
We learned that there is no hope for those of us over here who would like to have dual Canadian-Danish citizenship. Only children born of Danish citizens in Canada have (and can often keep) dual citizenship.
Mrs. Overbye talked about her work on the cultural side, both in Estonia and here. We learned that the embassy’s cultural budget is miniscule, but they are happy to lend a hand if we have a project, and we are always happy to host the embassy’s cultural events as they make their way through Canada.
…and what they all really come for…
The president of Dansk Kirke i Udlandet, Bishop Søren Lodberg Hvas and his wife, Alice, visited our church in June 2001.
The bishop told us about the ongoing negotiations about the merger of DKU and the Danish Seamen’s Church in Foreign Ports. From our point of view, maybe the most important result of there negotiations is that DKU has re-thought it’s many-sided structure and has confirmed its support for the immigrant churches like ours.