More churches in Greenland

I love churches in liminal places, so when I was fixing corrupted links in past blog posts, I found that the Greenland diocese of the (Lutheran) Church of Denmark has its own site:

There are few (in theory) resources in English, but the site reads in Greenlandic (Kalaallisut) or Danish. I thought “who do I know that knows Danish?” — I know nobody who reads Greenlandic — and realized the only one I know is (or was) Tim Jensen. This made me sad. So I muddled through using Germanic cognates.

The pictures of the Greenlandic kirker help. Exterior elevations and interior shots of little churches — some traditional and no bigger than sheds, but others 60s-modern and large — suggesting a familiar part of a public life otherwise wholly unknown to me.

I love that most have baptismal fonts front and center, topped not with a lid but a ewer. I love that many have seven-branched candelabra on their altars. I love how there could be a Celtic cross, Latin cross, Latin crucifix or even a picture of Christ behind the altar, suggesting different kinds of churchmanship.

Oh, and that would make Juaanna Platou the most northerly parish pastor in the world.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. If Greenland finally splits from Denmark and becomes independent (as they seem to be moving to in a few years), would the Greenland Lutheran Church also split? Now that’s what I would call church-state “separation”!

  2. @Ole. I’m sorry to have forgotten you. Perhaps I misremembered you as Norwegian, since the only Oles I’ve ever met are of Norwegian extraction. (Or does that make things worse?)

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