As all the other Scandinavian churches, the Danish Church in Regent’s Park, London, has a very busy agenda. Activities range from literature and needlework groups to kids and film clubs, and around Christmas it gets even busier! The church also has its own much loved shop stocked with popular groceries and specialities from Denmark and, of course, there is the YWCA’s annual Christmas Bazaar – a must for all Danes.

One of the popular events around Christmas is the Lucia celebration on December 13. But the most popular services are on Christmas Eve when many homesick Danes come together for support and celebration. “Loneliness is a difficult thing,” remarks Dorte Jensen, who co-manages the church with Poul Jensen. “We are helping people to get through the day in the nicest possible way. Sometimes you need a place where you feel you belong and are understood.”

History and mission

Although the Danish church did not move into its current location in the neo-gothic St Katharine’s Church until 1950, it has a long history; the congregation was founded in 1692. But what is themission of today’s church? When asked, the church’s two pastors, Else Hviid and Henrik Olsen fall silent for a moment before Else Hviid answers: “The Danish Church doesn’t have a vision like the Swedish and Norwegian.We are a Christian church and our main objective is to spread ‘the good news’. At the same time we aim to be both a serious and a modern church.”

By Emily Krugly, published in SCAN Magazine issue 13 – November 2009 | Photos: Emma Wieslander

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