A Travellerspoint blog


Pulpits in a humane and progressive city

sunny 59 °F


We love Aalborg, an ancient city in Jutland, currently being transformed into a vibrant, friendly, center in northern Denmark. Our ship docked downtown, next to a cultural center whose architect, Jørn Utzon, designed the fabulous Sydney (Australia) Opera House. Nearby, the Domkirke (Cathedral of St. Botolph, patron of seafarers) has a dramatic and highly carved pulpit, the foundation of which = Moses holding the tablets of the Law.

Then on to Gug Church, founded in the 1100's, demolished in 1555, and rebuilt in 1969. This church looks nothing like the Cathedral! It was built in a developing planned community, next to a supermarket and a nursery school, and everything about this place is designed to connect sacred and secular, not diminishing the mystery of the holy nor forgetting God's incarnation in the midst of a real and tangible world. WE LOVE this church. Let's start with the bell tower: it looks like a prison watch tower at first, and then it looks like a sign of God is watching over God's people as they go about their lives. The building itself is rough concrete marked with the imprint of the wood that shaped it and pierced with stripes of glass letting light pour inside. Also inside tiny lights twinkle like stars. The odd twisted sculpture over the altar spirals beside the wall paintings in a dance that connects Word and Sacrament; it is non-representational, a strong sign that God cannot be depicted/contained in a single symbol. The altar is shaped like a table; twelve Royal Copenhagen dinner plates sit in shallow depressions around the sides - ready for any 12 apostles who might come to be fed at the Holy Communion. The Baptismal font is a concrete trough lined with metal; water slowly drips into it and then flows away into an open channel that leads outside the church. THIS pulpit bears the beginning of John's Gospel affixed to a plaque made of newspapers compressed into a panel. A good model for preachers! The rear of the church (filled with yellow chairs) can be partitioned off to be used as a gathering place for the community. All remarkable, wonderful, and surprising. Deo gratias!

Posted by HopeEakins 10:44 Archived in Denmark

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