Lutherans in Minnesota

Church of Norway’s presiding bishop to open Leiv Eriksson Festival

Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien, Church of Norway

Helga Haugland Byfuglien, the Church of Norway’s first permanent presiding bishop, will open the 25th Annual Leiv Eriksson International Festival (LEIF) on October 7 at 11:00 a.m. at Mindekirken, 924 East 21st Street, Minneapolis.

“It is a privilege to visit Mindekirken and participate in the 25th Leiv Eriksson International Festival,” said Bishop Byfuglien.” I look forward to learning more about the work of Mindekirken, its congregational life, and the challenges it faces.

“For generations, Norway has enjoyed a close cultural and political connection to the United States in large part due to the Norwegian immigration of the 19th Century,” continued Byfuglien. “Today we see the fruit of the immigrants as evidenced in Norwegian-American communities. For me, visiting these areas will personally bring me great moments of learning, and I hope to further encourage the bond between our two nations.”

Bishop Byfuglien’s appointment as presiding bishop by the Norwegian Ministry of Church Affairs was an historic event in Norway. Until her installation, the presiding bishop was elected, and not only oversaw the business of the Church of Norway but also served as bishop of his or her diocese. The office of permanent presiding bishop was established to eliminate the demands of the dual role.

The Leiv Eriksson International Festival was formed in 1987 under the leadership of Pastor John Mauritzen, Mindekirken (The Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church in Minneapolis), and members of the Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish communities to establish an annual festival to celebrate Nordic cultural roots in the United States. Over the years, the events have brought top-ranked Nordic talent to the festival. This helps to explore the values and goals of today’s Nordic countries and share them with other Nordic Americans. It also gives the Nordic community an opportunity to share its heritage with all citizens.

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