Highlights for February/March 2021 Issue
I offer apologies for the delay of this double-month issue. Finalizing it became challenging as a deep freeze hit Texas in the midst of already demanding personal circumstances. This situation seems apt for this issue in which a theme of struggle seems to have emerged, struggle in confronting internal and external difficulties as well as between opposing or at least contrasting views.
The year of COVID has been a struggle, but vaccines are bringing hope. The snowdrop flower on the cover, having worked its way through the snow to blossom, is a reminder to hold onto hope in seasons of darkness.
In place of a song or poem that often starts off an issue, we have Hanna Broadbridge introduce us to the prolific modern Danish hymn writer Lisbeth Smedegaard Andersen, whose texts often help people face the trials of life. A translation of one of her hymns by Edward Broadbridge is included.
Differences of thought can lead to ugly verbal sparring, but Grundtvig scholar Uffe Jonas and Roman Catholic convert Roger Buck give us a cordial debate over the concept of the Fall. The dialogue may reveal why Danes who sing “julen varer ved til påske,” but omit the “Nej det er ikke sandt” verse may think the Lenten emphasis on repentance d is a bit much.
In an encore of his long-running “Life in the Rear View Mirror” column, Dick Juhl shares his efforts to remain relevant as he has aged and his congregation’s efforts to keep members engaged during the pandemic. He also shares his concerns for the future both for himself and the church.
The poem “OPEN” and its brief explanation by David R. Weiss reveal the beauty that exists in vulnerably expressing our anxieties with one another. He reminds us that when empathy is sparked, the way forward is lit.
Pete Hansen takes up the theme of looking forward in “Through My Windshield” and asks readers for your thoughts on what you see will improve the future for you as individuals as well as for humankind. He uses the metaphor of sight in a clever way with a story about an interaction with Buckminster Fuller.
Marilyn Gift suggests reading books by her Grand View classmate Dick Klein. The wide variety of subjects demonstrates the breadth of Dick’s interests as a lifelong learner, including his dive into and fueling of controversy.
With the year anniversary of the pandemic, we can appreciate the observations and personal reflections that Erik S. Hansen recorded in his journal at this time last year. Though his experience was beside a Minnesota Lake and his struggle with choices about the future are unique to his life, we can recognize the universal challenges posed by the pandemic and by life in general. Part 1 of Erik’s “The Slow Spring of the Reaaranged Rest of Our Lives” ends with his appreciation of each moment, which sets up the poem that follows: “A Taste of Eternity” by Gene Wesley Marshall.
Finally, you can read the Minutes of the 2019/2020 Meeting of the Board of Directors.of the Danish Interest Conference. The meeting was held, as usual, at the time of the Danebod Fall Folk Meeting, but by telephone conference since there was no in-person gathering.
Once again, I apologize for the late issue, but I know the readers of Church and Life are supportive and forgiving folk. Thankfully, the personal challenges are resolving similar to the positive turn in the pandemic with vaccinations.
Save the Date
The seventy-fifth jubilee celebration of the founding of the Danebod Folk Meeting will be August 18-20, 2021. The committee has announced with reluctance and sadness that this will be a second virtual gathering. Tentative speaker topics include: current events of 1946, the history of the Danebod Fall Meeting, climate change, Danish literature, how to diminish the gap of racism; and politics of healing. Of course there will be singing, stories, and opportunities to be in community. Registration materials are at danebodfolkmeeting.org. For more information, email danebod.Folk.Meeting123@gmail.com or call (507) 247-3000.
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Bridget Lois Jensen