A year ago, I had just spent time with Joy Ibsen and Don Lenef to learn the ropes of editing Church and Life. Since then, I have experienced the pleasure of becoming familiar with an interesting assortment of people, just as Joy predicted.
Vera Rahbæk, the artist of the cover artwork, is part of an artist community in the Stevns region of Eastern Zealand (https://aabneatelierdoere.dk) and is the partner of Uffe Jonas, who has published and performed works related to Grundtvig’s hymns.
The opening poem “The Sun Rises Anyway” and the accompanying photo are by Melanie Phoenix, the daughter of Rev. W. Clayton Nielsen who died earlier this year. The song “A Rainy Day in November” bears a similar message of looking to nature to lift our spirits. Its inclusion in this issue is a nod to Johanne Hansen, whose life also ended this year. In the folder that Joy had given me of miscellaneous content from which I might draw, I found a note from Johanne to include one of Fylla Kildegaard’s song translations.
Erik Hansen’s introductory remarks and “Notes of a Parish Sexton” about his brief stint as the bellringer at Danebod opened this year’s Virtual Danebod Folk Meeting, Actually, he followed.an introductory video tour of the campus, which included reenactments of dancing, coffee time, etc. and ended with the tolling of the church bell, a fitting lead-in to his presentation. The Christmas issue will contain the remaining part of his “Notes."
Shifting from this light mood to heavier theologizing, Gene Marshall highlights equanimity and compassion as marks of good religion in “The Role of Religion in Human Affairs.” As a founder of the Realistic Living nonprofit organization (www.realisticliving.org), he has authored several works to bring about a new Christian language and practice. His latest book is The Thinking Christian: Twenty-Three Pathways of Awareness.
In “Three Encounters with Jacob Riis,” Thomas Blom Chittick describes the various times he has come across Riis, a Danish American whose compassion drove his life’s work. In a previous article this year, Hanna Broadbridge shared that Danes are developing an interest in Riis and in this issue, she shares in “Identity and Community Spirit” how Danes are attending to issues of social welfare and belonging for people of various ethnic backgrounds. She concludes by emphasizing that our identity as global citizens should move us to embrace and promote the seventeen United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
In a memorial tribute to Riemert Thorolf Ravenholt, we learn how he worked toward the goal of ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services. He was also a tremendous supporter of many Danish American institutions.