Pastor’s Report, 2001

Pastor Glud Congratulations! You can consider yourself a member of a maturing congregation!

I am not only thinking of the many bald men and the many beautiful looking white haired ladies. Neither am I only thinking of the fact that our Newsletter now has been published for 66 years, telling us that our church, years back, reached the age of retirement.

The many years and the white hair are facts that we all know, but what made me start out by giving you my congratulations is that a wonderful thing has happened during the past year. Our church has started to look out beyond the tip of it’s own nose.

We have engaged ourselves in several activities, one being the Lutheran Urban Mission Society that is working among the many unfortunate people downtown Eastside Vancouver. An Open House was held where people from LUMS came and told us about the work being done by a Lutheran pastor in cooperation with the United Church. We had a breakfast and more are planned, raising funds for this purpose.

We have also been able to support the little Evangelical Lutheran Church of Albania by donating a hymnal and buying and sending copies of Luther’s little catechism in English to them. A Danish pastor and other Danish people are helping this Church which was started in the only country in Europe where religion has been forbidden by law since the end of World War 2. We are hoping to be able to assist more in the future. By involving ourselves as a congregation in things like these, we are not only giving new hope to people in different and difficult situations, we.are also giving new hope to our own church, because “A church without mission, is a church without vision!”

In our old age we have now got a very nice Web site giving a lot of information about what is going on in our Church, how to find the Church, the history of the church, pictures and much more. Thank you to our Vice-President for this terrific job, “well done.”

At a recent meeting at Nyborg Strand for all the volunteers of DKU in Denmark, the President of DKU, Jens Arendt, started his speech by asking, “What is special about the Danish church? The answer given at one of our churches web sites may clarify this. The Danish Church in Vancouver’s Web site says:

“No, the Danish Lutheran Church of Vancouver, B.C., does not have a snazzy statement of faith; we are Lutherans. Through Dansk Kirke i Udlandet we have placed ourselves under a bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark. That makes us conservative in form and liberal in contents: our church service is old fashioned and our hymns are at least 150 years old (and don’t even ask about the tunes).

“As Lutherans we value our connection with a structure that keeps our church on the straight and narrow rather than letting it float with the times as an independent church. As Danes, we value the connection to the mother church in Denmark. DKU pays our pastor’s salary. Being a wealthy church we ought to give DKU what they have given us—and we do.” Unquote.

We are in this difficult transition time from being an immigrant church catering to 1st generation immigrants to becoming an ethnic church serving 2nd and 3rd generation Danish-Canadians, younger people at short term stays in Vancouver, and people of a pure Canadian background. Expressions like “We are used to this…” or “We have always been able to do it this way before…” are often heard in the different board, committee and auxiliary meetings.

The value of experience is greatly appreciated, but it should not prevent us from trying new ways and new initiatives. We cannot be happy with just maintaining the status quo; we don’t want our church to become a museum of customs and ways to do things of the past.

We want changes, but we want the right changes, let me just add to this, no changes can be made without running the risk, that you might have to change again. An old Danish saying says that the one who wears both a belt and suspenders is a pessimist.

We want to be optimists, we want to have visions, and we want our church to be a living and life giving church.

Let me share some of my visions with you:

  1. We must continue to preserve our Danish heritage. We already have some activities in place like: Open House, Movie Nights, Kom-Sammen-Eftermiddage and more. The Danish heritage is an import part of our identity, and quite often the only reason that many people drive past several Lutheran churches to come here. There are several other organisations in this big city with the same purpose; I would like us to work together from time to time. There is a limitation to how much time, energy and money we as a church can invest in these events. If we shared the responsibility and the work load with e.g. The Danish-Canadian Community Centre, Dania Society, The Danish House Society, Granly and others, it might not only ease the work a little for us, it might even mean that we would be able to have bigger and better events.
  2. We must continue to do fund raising. I am impressed and very happy that now for the 4th year in a row we have been able to pay DKU back everything they have paid us.

    That is only due to a lot of hard work. It is easy for me to stand here and say that must continue but that is the truth of the matter. It is wonderful to experience how our auxiliaries and other groups and committees are committed to making sure that the frame work for our church’s activities upstairs and downstairs is O.K.

    We may be able to develop new ideas, new activities, and new ways of raising funds.

    In this connection I would like to mention our Newsletter, which is our connection to hundreds of people all over the Province, many of which have never been to our church, but they support our church generously. The better and the more interesting and informative our Newsletter is, the more it is appreciated, and as a plus the more money will be donated. I am very happy that Sharole Tylor has involved herself heavily in the production of the newsletter.

  3. We must open up more towards other churches. First and foremost we must expand the cooperation with Granly. We are here as twins. This is the only place in the entire world outside Denmark, that two Danish churches are located within a 20 minute drive between them. Our purpose and commitment is exactly the same. The people in Granly are not only acquaintances, they are our closets relatives and friends, with whom we should be able to share everything. We should realise that we are members of a greater fellowship than lust ourselves. Why not invite the Finnish Church from Sperling Avenue around the corner to visit us so that we might share joys and worries with each other, and why not invite the other Lutheran Churches in Burnaby one at a time to a similar evening?

    They are all part of the Canadian Lutheran Church; it might be useful for us to familiarise ourselves with the Canadian Lutheran Church.

  4. Volunteers have always been the backbone of our church and will continue to be in the future, without volunteers, no church. I have been here almost 10 years now, and I need to tell you that the number of volunteers have gone down quite a bit during these years. We are approaching the situation where the fewer volunteers are not only getting older but they have to do more jobs than before.

    That certainly makes you appreciate our remaining volunteers more than ever.

    It is a great help to have volunteer groups like the auxiliaries, committees etc. but there are other groups like the 3 to 6 people coming every Tuesday and Thursday morning to do all the odd jobs. There are the deacons, who meet and welcome people. Another absolutely unorganised group is the many who go to visit the shut-ins. Many more people could be mentioned. We need to get more people involved, we should not only be friendly and say just call me if you need me, no, we need people to commit themselves, to take upon themselves a responsibility.

    As far as I know we have never done anything to train or educate our volunteers. Don’t take me wrong, I am not thinking of a course on how to make coffee.

    But none of us can keep on giving and giving without receiving. I would like to see some kind of appreciation events for some of the groups. I would like to see e.g. an evening or two of training for our deacons. I would like to see a group studying material and books etc. which could be useful for childcare and Sunday school. I would like to see people from the different auxiliaries attend joint meetings for volunteers from all the Lutheran Churches in the Lower Mainland for inspiration and new ideas. There are so many options and possibilities to explore and experience which might help us to be what we would like to be, “a living church,” where the inspiration and joy we receive upstairs may be transformed into our acts and doings downstairs and elsewhere.

    A Christ inspired church is a living organism, proclaiming Christ to our fellowman in what ever activity we put on, by being what we are, Christians.

Before I close I want to thank the Church board for your cooperation and engagement. That is another volunteer group who’s only bonus is an annual change of board dinner immediately after the AGM. Until now that has been inspiration enough for a whole-hearted commitment to a very responsible job.

I would like to thank Bodil, who started out being my secretary, coming in every Tuesday and Thursday morning. I am not saying that she ever sat with two pieces of paper and moved them around to look busy, but the work load was not that busy 5 years or so ago. Now Bodil is not only my secretary without whom I would be completely lost, she is now the whole church’s secretary. You have no idea what ends up on her desk. Bodil is a volunteer who works full time as a volunteer and when that is not enough she just adds overtime on top. Thank you so much for your many smiles in spite of the many things you take care of. I would also like to thank my dear wife Dee. At our fridge at home a little sign tells you: “Behind every working woman there is sink full of dirty dishes.” That is very true, but behind me there is a wife, who helps and assist me in so many ways, making it possible for me to devote so much more time to my job as your pastor. Thank you, Dee!

I hope that you will consider and talk about the visions I mentioned, in short form they were

  1. Preservation of Danish heritage through more cooperation with other Danish organisations.
  2. Fund raising, new ideas, new income sources. Improving our newsletter.
  3. More openness towards other churches, Granly and other Lutheran churches, exchange and sharing.
  4. Improving the number and the commitment of our volunteers. Give our volunteers a possibility for education and growth.
Let us be happy for our church, but let us not only lean back and enjoy, let us get up from our chairs and pews and start showing our appreciation by getting involved more. Thank you.

Kai Glud, Pastor.