Pastor Saltorp Pastor’s Report, 2014

Three weeks ago the pastor lost her voice. That would be utterly relevant if not for the fact that Torsten Kehler and Mogens Hansen took over the readings and part of the liturgy at the Sunday service, so that the pastor would have enough voice for the two baptisms and the sermon. And the entire congregation that morning pitched in with love, laughter and encouragement

That is how we need to go about things here!

We are a community, in both spiritual and cultural food, and as such we belong together and have to work things out together, not always getting our own way but looking for the common good.

So many good things have happened this past year that I am sure I will forget half if I begin to mention some; so if I don’t mention something that is important to you, please know that it is not out of ill will, but rather an early senior’s moment!

This past year we have taken leave of Dorrit Larsen as our Deacon Coordinator, and Margaret Chester has been kind enough to take that task upon her busy self, but if someone would like to take over you are very welcome to contact Margaret or me. We have also added new deacons to our group, and it is such a cheerful thing for me to see you prepare the church for the service, and if more would like to join the group you that would be great – there is also a special task that needs a few more hands, namely the ringing of the bell, an art-form in itself.

Our Youth Choir lifts the services with their sometimes meek, sometimes strong voices and open up both the music and the Biblical texts to us, and a great thank you goes to our choir director Helen Ward. The choir is of course open to all young people who would like to join.

We have Ebba Grey doing a great effort with the Sunday School. And as for young people we have a great group of confirmands this year—I think you may all enjoy getting to know them better! Torsten and Paivi Kehler also put our young well to work at Men’s Dinner and the Frikadelle Competition and we appreciate all the work of teaching our young to be part of a congregation in the practical manner.

We have a lot of music at our church with Janet Mowatt on most Sundays, and Lily Yen when Janet is off, and between them and Elisabeth Sivertsen and the Tivoli Singers we see a lot of great music on Sundays and weekdays.

As a church we reach out far and wide. Not only are we on Facebook and as such connected to the Danish churches around the world, a lot of good people here on our home turf and quite a big group of supporters in Denmark—as the church’s representative the Granly pastor and I celebrate services with the Danes on the Island, and I help the Danes in Seattle have a Danish Christmas celebration. This year we have also added to the services so that we celebrate monthly services on Dania Home, Dania Manor as well as Swedish Assisted Living.

When it comes to food for the body so many people serve us at breakfasts and lunches, and the auxiliaries make bazaars and dinners and all kinds of good things happen to our double benefit. Others show up, not only for the food but to give a hand, Bente with polishing the pieces for the altar and Flemming with all kinds of practical little things, and many others for the hyggelige work-parties in the fall and the spring. Linda, Jack, Tage, Knud and Poul Erik are the ones we lean on for maintenance and construction of all sorts, and we are blessed with our very own organ maintenance-man Steen Larsen, and Rob Taylor has recently helped rewire our sound-system in the hall. But more than anyone, of course, we should remember Bodil Nielsen who keeps track of almost everything.

The Tivoli Singers are entering into a new era as Elisabeth and Morten go home, and we are all excited to see what the future will bring. Our Hawaiian Dancers still having a hoot and thrilling us all with their festive mood, and if you are looking for exercise I can tell you that this is one of the few places I know where you also exercise your laughter muscles!

We have had many interesting Open Houses in the past year, including the fifth annual Frikadelle Competition and the Gule Ærter.

Our Komsammen-eftermiddage bring Danes among us together to keep up the language, be reminded of Danish culture and of course sing Danish songs. The Movie Nights have brought us both old and new Danish films and lately also some interesting talks about how we choose to live our lives—thank you, Jakob, for pushing us to do that.

Barry Pointon initiated evenings with Serious Answers to Hard Questions where we get into some very interesting discussions about all kinds of things that have to do with Christian faith. If you have questions of your own you will love coming!

Another thing many people enjoy is to get together downtown for a beer, a piece of bread and a talk in the Danish Network. It makes a few more Danes aware of the church’s existence, but since it is not really generating a greater interest in faith and church I am in the process of deciding if we could make it a “church family” night where we could cook together, play games, talk about faith and subjects of the day and whatever else we would like.

We have a lot of things we do for love (statistics).

I have saved a very special thing for last; are you aware that we have a group of people who pray for our church and for the people in it? And then they read the Bible and discuss the pastor’s sermons. That is of course our Thursday morning Bible Study, and it is a great way of working on our faith and sharing our thoughts and experiences, and if you hesitate outside the Library door you will hear lots of laughter and teasing going on. We always have room for more people!

So many people do so much to keep both the faith side and the social side of our church running (not that you can always distinguish one from the other), so on the last day of this month, Sunday March 30th, we celebrate you all, first with a service where we pray for the many who spend their time and energy here, next with a potluck supper so “the usual suspects” won’t have to spend the afternoon in the kitchen.

Even if we don’t always think of it like that, we are family, we belong together, and we all need to pass that on so there will always be others to do what the pastor cannot do all alone! Voice or no voice.

Birgitte Saltorp, Pastor.