Official visit to the United States: Mindekirken
Dear Friends of Mindekirken,
Let me start by thanking you all for such a warm welcome.
Tusen takk alle sammen!
I have had some wonderful days in Minnesota, and ending my visit here at Mindekirken is truly special. The King and I have been here as you know several times before. Through generations, the church has represented a home for lots of people with Norwegian roots.
I wish to congratulate all friends of the church on its first century!
As one of only two American churches that primarily uses the Norwegian language for its liturgy, Mindekirken stands out as an important Norwegian cultural center in the U.S.A.
When it was established a century ago, a Norwegian-speaking church would help build community, maintain cultural traditions and keep the commitment to the Norwegian language.
It’s extraordinary to realize that, a hundred years after, Mindekirken is still fulfilling that purpose. It remains a gathering place for everyone who wishes to engage with Norwegian culture in a Lutheran church environment.
We celebrated the opening of the new Norway House yesterday, and now we celebrate the first century of Mindekirken. Thereby we recognizing both the past and the future as important for who we are as Norwegians, Americans, and Norwegian-Americans.
The extraordinary concert I attended last night, Kim Andre Arnesen’s musical work “The Stranger”, also reminded us about everything we have in common as human beings in a global community.
The concert made a deep impression on me. And I hope that we all will keep this in our hearts: That there is more to connect us than to divide us as human beings – no matter where we live and who we are.
Institutions like Mindekirken is totally dependent on people volunteering, giving their time and hard work. I would like to recognize the invaluable volunteers of the church and thank you for your efforts!
In 2025, we will look back on 200 years since the first Norwegian immigration to the United States. Mindekirken is an important thread in the Norwegian-American tapestry we call “Det norske Amerika” that has been woven since then.
I am certain that Mindekirken in it’s next century will continue to bring together people who are passionate about preserving our traditions. I wish you a wonderful continued anniversary.
Allow me to conclude with some words from Psalm 90, verse 12, that I ended my speech with in this church 44 years ago on the 5th of October 1978.
“So teach us to number our days that we may present to Thee a heart of Wisdom.”
Gratulerer med de første hundre år!