Pastor Susanne Ivalo Rasmussen Pastor’s Report, 2019

2018 has been a wonderful year in Burnaby Church with lots of high lights such as: Royal Guards from Denmark, Youth choir from Copenhagen and the Ambassadors visit on Constitution Day.

But most important is our daily life at the church.

During the year people came in every Sunday morning and we have married people, baptized children and celebrated lives and scattered ashes at our Dolmen Rock. We have had our weekly and monthly events, meetings, choir, knit2gether, auxiliaries planning everything and organizing funeral coffee, making Christmas and bazaar knickknacks and nisser etc. etc.

This is only possible because of a lot of volunteers!

The deacons and those who come in early to raise the flags. Those who pour coffee, tidy up and do the dishes, those who shovel in the Winter and water the plants during the Summer. The volunteers who work hard fixing everything outside and inside people are knitting, sowing, baking, sorting, vacuuming etc. and all these hands are really the backbone in our church. Thanks for all your dedicated work!

We dedicated 2018 to outreach and therefore we tried a few new things.

One of my priorities were Facebook and Instagram and a lot of communication with families and people far and near are on social medias. We get prayer requests, questions and comments and I get more messages from people on messenger than I do on email. Posting on the Facebook page: Danes in Vancouver seems to be important. This year´s Christmas workshop was a great success attended by a lot of new families who knew about us from Facebook.

But I try to get out and connect with people in real life too!

To reach out to new families we launched an Easter family service combined with an Easter Workshop. When the youth choir from Denmark was here, we invited people to join us at a family service and a workshop too.

We will continue having family services during the year at Fastelavn, Easter and Christmas.

To reach out to students in Vancouver I cooperate with the Danish Teacher Kim West at UBC.

To reach out to others I schedule visits at people’s homes, at hospitals and care homes twice a week. Obviously, I can not visit everybody personally, but so many people help out and visit the sick and the lonely and even drive people to church when they cannot come here by themselves. Please consider if we want to organize all this…

At Christmas time, instead of having just the board visiting the parsonage, we hosted a 365 party, an open house for everybody at the parsonage in September. We will go for it again this year, everybody´s welcome.

Something fairly new I have enjoyed this year is to MC for the Tivoli-Runeberg Choir. Especially our Christmas concert was really special and thanks Janet, for including not only my husband, but also the dog! And I got to say a little something about my favorite topic: God and Jesus.

A tiny but important example of something new in 2018 is the Viking hats! Knit2gether is working hard knitting Viking tuques to sell at the Bazaar, Spring Tea and Bake Sale, Midsummer Festival etc. and they are so successful that the hats have sold out immediately at every occasion.

Finally, I want to thank our board and president Jørgen Rohweder. Jørgen has done a wonderful job trying not just to organize, but also to bring people in. He brought in Mr. Rnold Smith to coach the board giving us ideas how to handle reaching out to new people. And Jørgen has worked hard to build up a new website that will be launched this year. He has put in a lot of effort and worked late hours with the board, and he has been shoveling snow and washed dishes as well.

But, behind every important man is woman. Both Jørgen and all of us are so lucky to have Jeanne too! Almost two years ago she most kindly opened her home to my husband and I when we first came here for the interview. We had some wonderful days and we are very grateful for your hospitality and your big support! I see how Jeanne has been working hard here in our church too and I hope you will both stick around even though Jørgen retires from being president, we really like having you around and enjoy your good company.

In my work I have dedicated 2019 to strengthen our old traditions and to remember our Danish Viking heritage. We all live our lives here in Canada, so we already know about the present, but we might learn something from honoring and remembering our traditions and the past too.

Thank you all for a good and successful year 2018, I am sure the Lord’s year 2019 will bring us new inspiring moments, a sense of belonging and great fellowship too.

We can only do so much, the rest the Lord will provide!

God bless

Susanne Ivalo Rasmussen, Pastor.

Some of our events

Kom Sammen

Once a month we meet in the library for a Danish afternoon. We get together and sing Danish songs and talk about Danish events and Danish books and share stories about Danish traditions and Danish heritage. This group is getting smaller and smaller and you can not bring a Canadian friend because we all speak Danish.

It is a wonderful little group, but I am not really a great entertainer; so maybe it is time to try something new? Any ideas? Do you dream of going to lecture evenings or joining a new book club?

On our annual outing we went Downtown and enjoyed a fancy dinner and a spectacular view at the revolving restaurant at the Top of Vancouver. So much has happened in Vancouver over the last few decades so I learned a lot about the old buildings and how things where then compared to now. Thank you to our chauffeurs Ebba and Knud.

We enjoy an annual Christmas celebration, in December Erik Hougaard joined us and he played all our well-known Christmas songs and helped us get into the right Christmas spirit.

Movie matinee

We mostly watch Scandinavian movies with English subtitles.

At Christmas we invited the Danish students at UBC to join us, they cooked us æbleskiver and we watched the old traditional Christmas movie: Lille Per til julebal i nisseland.

Bible studies

Every Thursday morning in the Library. Our weekly bible study group is getting bigger and bigger. We start the morning with a prayer and read a reflection that follows the season and talk about the following Sunday’s bible readings.

This is an inspiring, interesting morning full of good debate and humor and reflection and I am personally looking forward to this every week.

Care homes

The Danish church has a monthly service at Swedish Assisted Living, at Dania Home and Dania Manor. Services are in English. These services are well attended, especially at Dania Home where about 30 people of different nationalities join the service. In addition, the pastor is a board member at Dania.

This year we had a visit from the Danish Royal Guards and from a Danish youth choir, they joined us for services at Dania Home. At Remembrance Day and at Christmas we have special services at Dania Home. Thank you, Lily Yen, for playing at the Dania service on Christmas Eve.

Vancouver Island

Three times a year Danish church has a service in Nanaimo; at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Thanks to Vibeke Sandberg from Nanaimo we can borrow a Lutheran church and the pastor’s ferry ticket is paid by donations at the service and Burnaby church chips in if we are short on money.

Currently no services in Victoria. Traditionally the Granly pastor went to Victoria, but there is currently not a group in Victoria who organizes a church service. I visited Victoria once this summer for Pub Night bringing a visiting pastor from Denmark and Grethe and Tom Russel most kindly opened their home to us.

Christmas in Victoria was cancelled this year due to weather conditions and no ferries.

I encourage the good people in Victoria to get a group together who can make arrangements for a church service.

The States

Christmas service was celebrated in Danish in both Portland and Seattle.

Portland has a retired Danish pastor, but Pastor Jørn was in Denmark this year, so they asked us for help.

Eugene, Oregon requested a Christmas service too, but that did not work out with our own busy Christmas schedule.

Portland service in Hope Lutheran Church, two organists, a Danish clarinet and a Lucia group joined us at the service. Lili and Alf Gregersen most kindly opened their home, so that we could spend the night.

I visited Danes in Seattle this summer and joined their Danish Pub Night.

At Christmas we borrowed St. John United Lutheran Church in Seattle and local pastor Anna welcomed us and helped out, as well as the local organist and a numerous volunteer Danish choir had rehearsed all the Danish Christmas hymns, Jessica and Cirke sang solos. Thank you to Line L. Larsen, NDA for making the arrangements.

Grundlovsdag, Constitution Day at Scandinavian Centre

Thanks to Margit Hansson and DCCC we celebrated Danish Constitution Day at the Centre, due to weather conditions we were inside for the service.

Service was well attended, and music at the service was provided by Janet Mowatt and Erik Hougaard and his daughter Liva on violin. Vancouver Consul attended and Danish Ambassador Niels Boel Abrahamsen came in from Ottawa and gave us a Grundlovstale after the service.

New pastor in Granly Ruth Wegeberg just arrived from Denmark and we were all able to get introduced and welcome her on Grundlovsdag.

Installation in Granly

Pastor Ruth Wegeberg was installed in Granly Church in June by Pastor Susanne and Pastor Willy, the Danish dean was not here. Granly was full of people and Danish Consul gave a speech and Pastor Ruth was welcomed at the reception afterwards in the church hall.

Danish Youth Choir

In the Fall we had a special visit from Denmark. Frederiksberg Kirkes Pigekor visited and sang a lot of concerts in the church, at Scan Centre and at the care homes.

We had a workshop at Burnaby Church and invited our Lucia group and the confirmation class to join the choir for a day. Thanks to all the volunteers who help out in those days, thanks to the music committee, the board and especially to Knud and Doris Nielsen and Susanne Chaffe who drove in and provided breakfast every morning.