Pastor Saltorp Pastor’s Report, 2016

This is a mad-house! Well, there are so many activities going on in and around this building that it at times feels that way.

It is a beautiful time of year now that the trees are budding and blooming and everything around us seems to get new life. We often talk about being trees, reaching your branches into the air, spreading in the wind and the sun, but trees don’t just need branches—they need roots.

Many a young person has left Denmark to spread their branches over foreign soil and some of them turn their backs on what they came from—the new is often more exciting than the old.

We are the roots. We are church and we are cultural centre.

As a church we are for everybody, not just Danes, because God did not send Jesus to the Danes alone… in case you didn’t know! ;-) Anyone who wants to join in our celebration of faith is of course welcome, we are all God’s children, in different levels of brokenness, and we should aim to never let someone down who comes through the doors.

Some years we have a lot of church things going on, in others less, and it depends on a lot of things. These are the statistics for 2015: …

You should have been here on Thursday morning! Due to the storm the electricity was out and our Bible Study met in candle light. I think it is fair to say that our Bible Study is the place in this church where there is most laughter, bar maybe Hawaiian Dancing—in Bible Study we debate the past Sunday’s texts and sermon and all sorts of interesting tidbits we may come across in the Bible or in our daily lives, and we pray for people. If you don’t have plans for your Thursday mornings you may want to be part of this interesting journey!

In the monthly pulse in this building is also our Danish KomSammen. It is open to everybody but the language is Danish. We usually begin with a song or two, and then I tell about something or someone Danish—in the past year I have covered actor Poul Reichardt, artist Asger Jorn and a whole lot of others—we have coffee and talk and sing some more. Last year we also sang along to The Four Jacks, a DVD with popular songs from the fifties and sixties. And then, of course, there is the annual field trip and I don’t think we will be able to top the one in 2015: In the bright June sunshine we drove up the Sea-to-Sky to the gondola south of Squamish and had the most magnificent ride to the top. After taking in the view, enjoying coffee or ice-cream or walking the trails we continued up to Thor Frøslev in Brackendale Art Gallery, to soup, coffee and Dorthe’s homemade kringle. And drove back down through an every bit as beautiful scenery.

The Open House evenings have been on the back burner this past season. Even though we had some really interesting topics it would be a shame to say that we had to find extra chairs, so some of the regulars decided to play it down a bit unless we had something special. One of the special Open Houses is of course the Frikadelle Competition that our sister DSUK churches around the world feel inspired to copy—and as if that wasn’t a great enough success in itself, this is where the second and third generation turn up and volunteer to be judges! Then, this April we have another Open House, but not quite as edible, treat for you because Angelique and Mike Rasmussen are coming to talk about the work they do among orphaned children in Central and South America—Mike’s parents Hans and Oda Rasmussen were known to many of you, and I know that he and Angelique have some interesting stories to tell.

Another kind of Open House was when we in August had the conference of the Danish churches in the Americas. Bishop Steen Skovsgaard was here and lead the service that concluded the seminar. So many people did all those behind the scenes things that made it a great success—thank you to you all!

Movie Nights continue with primarily Danish movies with English subtitles, and we try to make a mix of the more serious ones that Danish filmmakers are known for and the funnier genre as well as the occasional sports-movie.

On the concert front, other than the Tivoli Singers participating in the Easter service, singing at church dinners and giving their Christmas concert the Youth Choir had a fundraiser concert and dinner where the Yen Hansen thrilled us with some humorous pieces.

The Youth Choir continues and Helen Ward is doing an impressive job with them. If you have children, grandchildren or know of others who might be interested we hope to expand the choir so don’t hesitate to bring your young ones an hour before the service to join in the fun. In 2015 Lily Yen and Mogens Hansen took the Youth Choir to Denmark—it was a huge undertaking to travel around, both sight-seeing, giving concerts and going to the Cirkus Flik-Flak summer camp and it is easy to see how the young ones grow from the experience. A big thank you to Lily and Mogens for giving them that opportunity!

Another thank you goes to Ebba Grey for taking care of the Sunday School. We don’t have a lot of children at the services so we have decided to leave the Sunday School dormant for a while. If someone would like to give it a new twist, just let me know and we will figure something out! We are, however, talking about doing something for children this summer. Some of our greatest successes in numbers are our Christmas and Fastelavn workshops where we help families keep traditions alive, and both the Lucia Fest and the Fastelavn are a joy to behold, each in their manner.

New to the pot is The Knitting Club. These industrious ladies make all kinds of items that will be for sale at different events during the year, and you are very welcome to join them. If you are more into nisse-making I am sure that the New Auxiliary would be happy for extra hands for both woodworking, assembly and other hyggelige jobs.

In the season 2014–15 past year we had some very intense debates on God, the universe and everything while using the Pearls of Life, and the season 2013–14 some of us worked together on the texts for the following Sunday and had some really interesting discussions. This winter we have talked about God’s many faces and faith’s many forms. The participants have not been many but the quality of the conversations has been a real thrill. Which brings me to something that is still in the making.

On October 31st 2017 it is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and we are a group who are working on a program for the upcoming season. Who were all those people back then, and why was a Reformation necessary? Those are some of the many questions we seek to answer through music, games and talks, things for the young and the more mature—so you may want to plan to spend a lot of time here to get to know our faith roots.

This is a good house. We have many reasons to be here, and we want to be open and welcoming to all who would like to be part of it.

This is a God house. And so we know that we belong together with people we don’t even know, all the other children of God. And we welcome them here.

This is a God house and that is what anchors us in whatever else may be going on, among ourselves or in the world at large.

Birgitte Saltorp, Pastor.