Danish Union of Churches Conference

By Sven Hagen Jensen

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Sven Hagen Jensen, M.Div. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA) has worked for the church for 49 years as a pastor, editor, departmental director, and church administrator in Denmark, Nigeria and the Middle East. Jensen enjoys reading, writing, nature and gardening. He is married to Ingelis and has two adult children and four grandchildren.

The Danish Union of Churches Conference (DUChC) is a unit of church organization in the Trans-European Division including the territory of Denmark, the Faeroe Islands, and Greenland. Address: Concordiavej 16, 2850 Naerum, Denmark. Churches, 38; membership, 2,434; population, 5,862,000 (September 30, 2019).1

Organizational History

This article will trace the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Denmark from its beginning to the present, covering the time of the Denmark Conference and the Danish Union of Churches Conference, but leaving out details of the period when the church had two separate conferences, East Denmark Conference and West Denmark Conference, under the West Nordic Union (1931-1992).

Beginnings2

The Seventh-day Adventist message reached Denmark from the United States in 1872 through the Danish monthly Advent Tidende,3 which John G. Matteson,4 a native son of Denmark, had started primarily for the Scandinavian people of America. During May 1872 Matteson received a letter from a man who had already begun to keep the Sabbath and was distributing the publication among his neighbors. In June Matteson sent 20 daler ($11) to another man in Denmark and asked him to publish a tract on the Sabbath. Later, Matteson learned that 1,000 copies had been printed and distributed. He also received many encouraging letters from readers of Advent Tidende in Denmark who stated that they had begun to follow the teachings of the Bible as taught in the paper.

In 1875 M. A. Sommer wrote from Denmark that he had been reading the Advent Tidende for two years. He requested and received permission to reprint articles form it in his own monthly paper, which had a monthly circulation of 4,000, When he boldly attacked the ministers of the Lutheran state church, the authorities arrested and imprisoned him for two months in 1876.

In March 1877 one of the interested readers wrote about his attempts to convert others. “I hope that the Lord in His mercy will allow His workers to visit Denmark, so that souls also may be won for the Lord.” After receiving several such letters from different parts of Denmark, Matteson wrote to James White, the president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, asking permission to go to Denmark. When church leadership granted his request, they also promised the prayers and financial support of American Seventh-day Adventists. Twenty-two years after leaving his homeland, Matteson returned on June 6, 1877, as the pioneer Seventh-day Adventist missionary to Scandinavia. J. N. Andrews, the first Seventh-day Adventist missionary sent to Europe by the General Conference, had at that time been in Switzerland for three years.

Soon after arriving, Matteson printed a hymnbook containing 70 psalms. He organized Sabbath schools wherever he found a few interested persons and began the first temperance society in Denmark. After a few months, despite great opposition and even threats on his life, he baptized nine converts. In May 1878 he organized the first Seventh-day Adventist congregation in Denmark, the Alstrup church in Vendsyssel, with 27 members. It was the first Seventh-day Adventist church in northern Europe.

In September 1878 the General Conference sent Knud Brorson from America to assist Matteson. It permitted Matteson to make frequent trips to Norway and Sweden, where he was fostering a growing work. For additional assistance, Matteson trained selected qualified laity and taught others how to be colporteurs. On July 1, 1881, he sent out the first issue of Sundhedsbladet,5 an eight-page monthly health journal that continued until 1993. By that time, he had prepared 30 different pamphlets and tracts that were being distributed all over Scandinavia.

By the time of its business session in June 1906, the Denmark Conference had 18 churches with 746 members. Although the membership and resources in Denmark were small, they joined other Scandinavian countries in opening mission work in Ethiopia. Seven years later Denmark sent two licensed ministers to the Faroe Islands as literature evangelists. However, Adventists did not enter Greenland until 1953.6

The first church school in Denmark opened in Dronninglund in 1883. Seven years later, another school started at Hellum, which functioned for many years under the name of Jerslev Friskole. In 1964 it mergedd with another school to form the Jerslev-Oestervraa Friskole. By 1898 Denmark had six church schools, one in Copenhagen, the others in Jutland.7

In 1887 M. M. Olsen arrived from America and started a mission school in 1890 that eventually became Vejlefjordskolen (Danish Junior College), which still remains in operation.

In September 1897 a small sanitorium opened in Frederikshavn in north Jutland. Later, the conference sold the institution to a private church member, who for years continued the medical work that the denomination had begun. A second medical institution opened in 1898 at Skodsborg, 16 kilometers (10 miles) north of Copenhagen, in two small buildings that had once belonged to the royal family. Through the years Skodsborg Badesanatorium (see Skodsborg Sanitorium), grew to be one of the largest operated by Seventh-day Adventists anywhere in the world. Over time physiotherapists trained at Skodsborg opened more than 60 private clinics scattered throughout Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

A short time after founding the sanitorium, Adventists established a food factory in Copenhagen and that later moved to Bjaeverskov near Ringsted, where it registered under the name Nutana. A publishing house organized in Copenhagen in 1905 to distribute material printed in Norway, a function previously handled by a private firm since 1893 (see Danish Publishing House). Those institutions have all played a significant role in the life and growth of the Danish Adventist church.

Organization and Mission

Less than three years after his arrival in Denmark, Matteson organized on May 30, 1880, the first conference outside North America, the Denmark Conference, with seven churches and 120 believers, of whom 91 were baptized members. Initially the conference was directly attached to the General Conference.

From 1902 to 1931 the Denmark Conference was part of the Scandinavian Union Conference, made up of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Greenland. All through those years a close working relationship existed between the various countries. Their languages are closely related, and publications could often be shared and read by people in different countries. Only Finland had its own unique language, but many understood and read Swedish.

For a short period (1917-1920) the Denmark Conference was divided into the East Denmark Conference and the West Denmark Conference.8 Beginning in 1920 the two rejoined as one conference, again known as the Denmark Conference, and remained so until a reorganization in 1931.

Those years were a period of active public evangelism, Bible studies, and church planting. According to archival statistics, Seventh-day Adventists and their friends met for Sabbath School and worship services at more than 80 locations9 across the country. By 1930, 51 of those places had organized churches.10 They existed in cities, towns, villages, and even in some of the very small islands with few inhabitants. Where public meetings did not take place, literature evangelists would reach the tiniest hamlets with Adventist publications. The leadership, pastors, and members truly believed in the MV motto: The Advent message to all the world in this generation.

At the thirtieth anniversary meeting for the Scandinavian Union Conference held in Skodsborg March 18-22, 1931, church leaders reorganized the union to form the East Nordic and the West Nordic Union conferences. The latter comprised Denmark and Norway: “For the West Nordic Union … lay also a proposal, that Denmark be divided into two conferences.” 11

A session for the Denmark Conference subsequently convened in Haandvaerkerforeningens Festsal in Vejle June 16-20, 1931. It presented the recommendation from the Scandinavian Union to the delegates.12 The European Division president, L.H. Christian, spoke to the proposal and gave his reasons for supporting it. First, he emphasized that it was according to the principles of the church built on the word of God, and continued, “The experience in our denomination has also been this, that it always has proved successful for the progress of the work, the well-being of the churches and the proclamation of the gospel, when the conferences were not too big–and you will find, that the average membership in our conferences and missions worldwide is about 800, and this conference has a membership of 2,731.” He went on to explain that a small conference would allow its president more time to participate in evangelistic activities, and it also would give more church employees opportunity to develop and improve their skills. Again, he referred to 1916-1920, when the country had two conferences, and how the statistics clearly showed that membership growth had improved considerably during that time compared with the following 10 years.13 In the resulting discussion some of the delegates expressed their concern regarding the financial challenges of having two conferences. However, the delegates accepted the proposal with only a few votes against it. The decision was effective July 1, 1931, and the East Denmark and the West Denmark Conferences of the West Nordic Union had their headquarters at Suomisvej 5, Copenhagen V, and Norre Allé 30, Aarhus, respectively.14

The West Nordic Union Conference remained in place for the next 60 years. During the Great Depression, World War II, and the following years Danish society had a great interest in end-time prophecies and spiritual topics. Many religious books from the Danish Publishing House sold, and public evangelistic meetings were popular. However, after World War II, as society became more affluent and people more secular, interest in the spiritual declined.

With improved national infrastructure and general mobility, once again the question of restructuring surfaced. Was it necessary to have two administrations to oversee the work of the church in a rather small country with a limited membership? Could some resources be put to better use by consolidating administration in one place?15

In 1990 the East Denmark Conference Session voted to work toward merging the two conferences. Although a majority did not support the idea at the West Denmark Conference Session, it did decide to allow the question to be reconsidered in 1992 and organized a committee to study the matter.16

In the meantime, a financial crisis began developing in some of the Danish and Norwegian institutions, which put the church under pressure. The Nutana Health Food Factory and Skodsborg Badesanatorium, together with Skodsborg Fysioterapi Skole, were part of an association called Nordisk Filantropisk Selskab (NFS-Nordic Philanthropic Association), in which they were jointly and severally liable for loans and liabilities. While it worked well in good times, it proved to be a disaster when the financial situation turned against them.

A tremendous expansion of the Nutana Health Food Factory based on large loans backfired when sales did not measure up to the optimistic forecasts. Nutana was unable to repay its loans and the other partners of NFS had to step in to cover the losses. In the end the liabilities were too heavy and the NFS was declared bankrupt.17 The West Nordic Union tried to provide financial support to maintain the institutions. However, at the same time they were struggling to save some of their Norwegian institutions from financial ruin. A commission composed of the officers of the Trans-European Division and a group of experts from the United States18 visited the West Nordic Union January 20-23, 1992, to study the situation and offer recommendations.19 In the end, the church lost both Nutana 20 and Skodsborg Sanitarium, 21 negatively affecting the image of the West Nordic Union.

An extraordinary session of the West Nordic Union Conference convened in Himmerlandsgaarden, Denmark, on February 16-17, 1992, to explain the financial situation to the delegates and decide on the union’s future. Rolf Kvinge, the union president, began his report stating: “When you call an extraordinary session it is usually done because of an acute crisis. The West Nordic Union is in such a crisis. Fortunately, it is not about faith or fundamental theological problems, but it is about finances and the question of the future operation of the West Nordic Union.” He went on to explain what had happened, reported on the status of the union finances, and suggested a solution. During the session, however, it became clear, that the delegates wanted new leadership, and the question of dividing the West Nordic Union into two entities surfaced again.22

The Trans-European Division president, Dr. Jan Paulsen, who chaired the nominating committee, commented afterward that: “The churches of the Adventist denomination in Denmark and Norway have existed well together for more than 60 years. The blessings of this community and the joint planning has been many, but unfortunately the membership has been decreasing over several years. Much time has been spent on administering the institutions, which has resulted in too little time with other aspects of our mission. The question was therefore asked: Is there a better way? Can we find a more effective structure? This is what most of the delegates at Himmerlandsgaarden meant … This should not be seen as a divorce in a spiritual family, where the partners have become disillusioned and tired of each other. This is more a need, in order that the leadership in the two countries can find time for laying plans for evangelism and more closely follow the spiritual needs in the churches.”23

The meeting elected the ADRA director for Denmark and Norway, Helge Andersen,24 as union president, and Johann E Johannsson continued as secretary-treasurer. 25 They were to be an interim administration with the mandate to liquidate debts and investigate possibilities of saving money through reorganization. As the new administration studied the assets in the various conferences and institutions in the union, the seriousness of the situation became plain. As Andersen expressed it: “To liquidate debts it is necessary to sell the assets and cut down on the operations …When it comes to savings on the operations, it will take several years to pay our debts.” He further emphasized the importance of repaying the union’s debt to the division, so that “we shall not be a hindering to the work of the church in other countries.” At a committee meeting on April 5-7, 1992, the union voted to sell some of their buildings and houses.26

The structure committee for Denmark met in Aarhus March 31, 1992, and made the following recommendations to the new union administration: “Suggested: (1) that we aim at gathering the leadership in Denmark in one national office with status as Conference to the churches, and as Union Conference to the Division. (2) Because there will be fewer institutions we suggest two officers in the new Danish Union Conference … a president and a secretary-treasurer. Routine work can be attended to by office personnel. (3) Since the functions of the West Nordic Union will be taken over by the Danish Union, we suggest the possibility of employing 3-5 departmental secretaries, and that they be assisted by chosen lay people on a voluntary basis. (4) The Union executive committee should have 15-17 members chosen with due consideration to geographical distribution, among them 8-9 lay people. (5) Regarding the placement of the office: The headquarters with the administration will be in Naerum. Part of the departmental work should be placed in Aarhus with 2-3 departmental secretaries. The department of media and communication and the correspondence school should be placed in Odense together with the Danish Publishing House. (6) All Seventh-day Adventist institutions in Denmark are directly responsible to the Union executive committee. (7) Annual camp meetings will be held in East as well as West Denmark. (8) We suggest that an extraordinary general meeting will be held at Himmerlandsgaarden on July1-4, 1992. (9) The appointed Constitution and Bylaws committee starts to work immediately, so that their proposals can be completed to be submitted at the general meeting.” 27

The extraordinary general meeting took place July 1-5, 1992, at Vejlefjordskolen, Daugaard. It elected a new president and secretary-treasurer and asked Helge Andersen to chair the new union executive committee. The reason for electing a committee chairman should be seen in the light of the church’s precarious situation in Denmark. Division president Jan Paulsen said: “We need to find a sure direction for our institutions, wherefore I think it is reassuring with an extended participation in the administration. I am sure that this leadership model will serve the Adventist church in Denmark well in the coming years.” 28 The meeting voted a new constitution for the Danish Union of Churches with its legal title as “Syvende Dags Adventistsamfundet, Danmark” (The Seventh-day Adventist Denomination, Denmark). Sessions would meet every three years, with annual meetings between sessions to present financial reports for the union and its institutions, together with reports from the officers and departmental directors.

Approved by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, the dissolution of the West Nordic Union Conference and the establishment of the Danish Union of Churches became effective October 1, 1992.29

The effects of the financial crisis dominated events for the next few years. The new administration tried to deal constructively with the situation. At the end of the first three-year term, Gunnar Pedersen, the union president, reported: “The reorganization has been carried out, buildings are sold, personnel reduced, savings effected, income increased, new workflows introduced, rearrangements have been made and new activities started … It means that the Adventist economy has been stabilized, the operation is in balance, and the reserves are slowly being rebuilt.” 30 However, the retirement benefit obligations 31 would continue to be a financial challenge until 2018.32

The Danish church also needed to address a generational shift in the workforce. Many elderly pastors who had served the church well for years were retiring. The union had to find a new generation of pastors who could meet the changing needs of the church and proclaim the Advent message in ways appropriate for the new technological age. “We need to invest in new workers rather than bricks, otherwise we shall end up without having anything to use the bricks for,” Pedersen said. 33

As recommended by the structure committee, the union opened a branch office in Aarhus in the facilities of the former West Denmark Conference. It would house the media and communication department, the Bible Correspondence School, and the lay ministries department. Also the union established an archive of books and periodicals in the Aarhus office, and initially rented out the buildings in Odense used by the former publishing house, then eventually sold them in 1998.34 The same year missionary-minded individuals formed a committee to inspire and coordinate the local churches for evangelism. The office in Aarhus went by the name Seventh-day Adventist Information Center and became a dynamic center reviving and strengthening the mission of the church and producing new evangelistic materials for pastors and church members.

The restructuring of the finances absorbed much of the time and attention of the union president, the chairman of the board, and the secretary-treasurer. Recognizing that the church had reached an all-time low in membership growth, administration issued a plea to the delegates at the 1995 session to have three administrative officers (president, secretary, and treasurer). In this way the president would have more time to be the spiritual leader of the church and direct evangelism. The change was approved, and since 1995 three officers have been elected.

With the passing years the financial obligations of the retirement benefits and increasing need for repairs on properties owned by union compelled the Danish Union Conference to pass on responsibility for all the maintenance of church buildings to the local churches. Unable to continue funding staff for the mission in Greenland, the union sold its property in Nuuk, Greenland, in 1998.35 The General Conference and the division decided to phase out the financial support they had given to the NFS retirement scheme over a period of three years, beginning in 1998. It meant that retirement benefits would absorb almost 24 percent of the operating budget,36 leaving very little money to replace retiring workers and start new evangelistic programs.

Despite that, the union set a number of new initiatives in motion during the following years, some of them with financial support from lay individuals as well as from a foundation.37 The TED ministerial department promoted an emphasis on new evangelistic experiments and church planting and followed it up with training events and visits to sites where such attempts had succeeded.38 The Denmark administration initiated the café church idea,39 tried a project to reach teenagers in the northwestern part of Copenhagen,40 conducted street mission 41 in several towns, and went door to door with a new magazine.42 In addition, it experimented with small group ministries, health expos, TV broadcasts,43 Happy Hand secondhand shops,44 various efforts to revitalize small churches, and many more concepts.45 Also, the ongoing ministry to the youth at Vejlefjordskolen, many of whom come from a non-Adventist background, has through the years continued to bring new additions to the church and inspired many to lives of service.

For a number of years the official name of the church was “Syvende Dags Adventistsamfundet” (The Seventh-day Adventist Denomination). The term “samfundet” (denomination), however, had dropped out of use among other church organizations in Denmark, such as the Baptist Church, the Pentecostal Church, etc. The world headquarters had also changed its name from the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Denomination to General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Church.46 To be in step with the rest of the Christian world, the 2001 union session voted to change the official name of the union to “Syvende Dags Adventistkirken, Danmark” (The Seventh-day Adventist Church, Denmark). 47

In April 2004 the union decided to close the office at Aarhus and move the communication and media department and the Bible Correspondence School to its headquarters in Naerum.48 It was done partly to save on expenses and partly to streamline operations by having all the staff in one location. With further development of the media department, information technology became an important part of church life. A recording studio in the basement of the church school next door opened in 2010 and video recording started.

The question of the outreach in Greenland again came to the forefront, and the new union administration felt that it needed to do something to reopen evangelism there. A Greenland committee held meetings in the fall of 2005 that explored a number of proposals.49 Among them was the suggestion that the union president and secretary make a trip to Greenland to look for possibilities to open a new mission station. The union executive committee approved it,50 and Ole Kendel and Sven H. Jensen visited Nuuk, Sisimiut, and Ilulissat in Greenland in April 2006 and brought back a report and ideas on how to begin a mission project. Ole Kendel continued to work on the project by contacting interested partners and looking for funding. However, the idea got shelved in 2007 after the voting in of a new administration.

Shifts in society, resulting in increasing numbers of families with both parents working, led to changes in how the church provided support for its children, youth, and families. Over time the union increased the number departmental directors to include those for children, teens, Pathfinders, youth, and family ministries, many of whom had a part-time responsibility. The union also added women’s and media ministries.

Recent church growth reflects numbers of Seventh-day Adventists arriving in Denmark as refugees. In 2010 the Copenhagen International Church organized51 to cater for people of foreign origin in the capital and conducted its services in English. Also, in many of the other churches in the country non-indigenous people attend and contribute to church life and its mission. They often provide translation services, primarily in English.

Membership records reveal that the average age of Adventists has been increasing. As a side effect it makes it more difficult to find qualified leadership in the local churches. In the past the local elder would be the one to visit his church members and care for their spiritual needs, giving the pastor more time to do evangelism. Today the increasing pressures of daily life allow local elders less time for such activities. The union leadership has arranged courses, together with the mission department, to train elders and lay preachers to help strengthen spiritual life in the congregations.

In the past decade or so the gender and equality issue has become more prominent in the union and has occupied an increasing portion of the time of union administration. At the same time, it has become a dividing factor that has taken much of the focus away from the mission of the church. Together with theological deviations in some quarters and the secular environment in which the church exists, it has created major challenges that need to be solved, if they are not to hinder the progress of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Denmark. The union session in 2016 decided to extend the term of office from three to four years in order to give administration more time to implement the plans and strategies it has developed.52

Summary and Conclusion

By 2020 the Seventh-day Adventist Church will have existed as an organized entity in Denmark for 140 years. The Danish Conference first organized (May 30, 1880) with seven churches and 91 members and reached a peak of 64 churches and 4,062 members in 1968, including the Greenland Mission, at the time when the church had two conferences under the West Nordic Union Conference.53 Beginning in 1992, the Danish Union of Churches struggled with the burden of heavy financial obligations that limited its resources for outreach. Now that having been solved, the church needs to return to its focus on mission even in a post-Christian environment.

Executive Officers of Danish Conference (1880-1931)

Presidents: J. G. Matteson (1880-1886); O. A. Olsen (1886-1888); L. Johnson (1889-1899); M. M. Olsen (1899-1901); P. A. Hansen (1901-1906); J. C. Raft (1906-1908); C. C. Jensen (1908-1914); A. G. Christiansen (1914-1920); Chr. Resen (1920-1928); L. Muderspach (1928-1931).

Secretaries: C. C. Hansen (1882); J. C. Ottosen (1888-?); C. C. Hansen (1890-93); M. M. Olsen (1893-?); Jens Olsen (1903-1907); L. Muderspach (1907-1909); A. Andersen (1909-1910); N. P. Nelsen (1910-1911); A. Andersen (1911-1912); P. N. Norren (1912-1914); Chr. Pedersen (1914-1917); H. L. Henriksen (1917-1918); K. Schmidt (1918-1920); H. L. Henriksen (1920-21); Balle Nielsen (1921-1925); R. F. Jensen (1925-31).

Treasurers: D. Gjerild (1882); C. C. Hansen (1888-93); M. M. Olsen (1893- ?); Jens Olsen (1903-1910); Ch, Hedebaek (1910-1914); Chr. Pedersen (1914-1917); H. L. Henriksen (1917-18); K. Schmidt (1918-1920); H. L. Henriksen (1920-1921); Balle Nielsen (1921-1925); R. F. Jensen (1925-1931).

Executive Officers of Danish Union of Churches (1992- )

Presidents: Gunnar Pedersen (1992-1995); Carl-David Andreasen (1995-1998); Paul Birch Petersen (1998-2000); Carl-David Andreasen (2000-2004); Ole Kendel (2004-2007); Bjorn Ottesen (2007-2012); Thomas Müller (2012- ).

Secretary-Treasurers: Philip Philipsen (1992-1995, 2001-2004)

Secretaries: Richard Müller (1995-1998); John Pedersen (1998-2001); Sven Hagen Jensen (2004-2007); Thomas Müller (2007-2012); Line Nielsen (2012-2013); Henrik K. Jorgensen (2013-2016); Marianne Dyrud (2016- )

Treasurers: Ph. Philipsen (1995-2005); D. Birch (2006-2011); Bjorgvin Ibsen (2011-2016); J. Nielsen (2016-2019); Kristinn Odinsson (2020- ).

Sources

Andersen, Helge. “Den sidste svaere tider og hvorfor?” (The Last Difficult Time and Why?). Skodsborgersamfundet (1991-1992), Ultimo Versio.

Andersen, Helge. “Unionsformanden informerer” (The Union President Informs). Adventnyt, May 1992.

“Den Skandinaviske Unions 30-aars Jubilaeum og Deling” (The Thirtieth Anniversary of the Scandinavian Union and Its Division). Missionsefterretninger, June, 1931.

“Fremtidsplaner” (Plans for the Future). Skodsborgersamfundet (1991-1992).

Hartmann, Walder. “Indtryk fra Adventistsamfundets foerste landsmoede” (Impressions from the first general meeting of the church in Denmark). Tillaeg til Adventnyt, August 1992, VIII.

Hartmann, Walder. “Ny ledelse i VNU” (New Leadership in WNU). Adventnyt, March 1992.

Kvinge, Rolf. “Hektisk aktivitet i VNU” (Hectic Activity in the WNU). Adventnyt, March 1992.

Kvinge, Rolf. “Nutana er solgt” (Nutana has been sold). Adventnyt, January 1992.

Matteson’s Liv og Adventbevaegelsens Begyndelse blandt Skandinaverne. College View, NE: International Publishing Association, 1908.

Paulsen, Jan, “Hvad nu?” (What Now?). Tillaeg til Adventnyt, April 1992.

Pedersen, Gunnar. “Formandens Rapport 1992-1995” (The President’s Report 1992-1995). Adventnyt, July-August 1995.

“Rapport fra strukturudvalgets moede i Aarhus 31. marts 1992” (A Report from the Meeting of the Structure Committee in Aarhus, March 31, 1992), Adventnyt, May 1992.

“Rapport over ekstraordinær generalforsamling i VNU afholdt på Himmerlandsgaarden 16.-17. februar 1992” (Report from Extraordinary Session for WNU, held at Himmerlandsgaarden, February 16-17, 1992). Tillaeg til Adventnyt, May 1992, I-IV.

“Rapport over S.D.A. Danske Konferenses 50. Aarsmoede.” Konferensforhandlinger 1931 (Session Discussions 1931), third meeting.

“Report from the Danish Conference for the 4th Quarter 1927.” Missionsefterretninger, March 1928.

Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Second revised edition. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1996. S.v. “Denmark.”

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1931, 1932.

“The Providence of God in Events Connected with the Life of John G. Matteson.” Oakland, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Company, 1980.

Trans-European Division Minutes, December 11, 1991 and November 17, 1992. Trans-European Division archives, St. Albans, England.

Notes

  1. Copy of membership statistics for third. quarter 2019 received by mail from Marianne Dyrud, union secretary, on November 4, 2019.

  2. Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, second rev. ed. (1996), s.v. “Denmark.”

  3. Published at Battle Creek, Michigan, United States, 1872-1881.

  4. See, for example, “Matteson, John Gottlieb” in this encyclopedia. For more details see John G. Matteson. The Providence of God in Events Connected with the Life of John G. Matteson (Oakland, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Company, 1980). Published in Danish more than 10 years after his death as Matteson’s Liv og Adventbevaegelsens Begyndelse blandt Skandinaverne (College View, NE: International Publishing Association, 1908).

  5. By 1901 the Danish church published both a semimonthly religious and a monthly health journal. See “Danish-Norwegian papers,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1905), 102.

  6. Confirmed by interview with missionary to Greenland, John Pedersen, November 6, 2019.

  7. Dronninglund, Jerslev, Frederikshavn, Oestervraa, and Koelkaer.

  8. “East Denmark Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1917), 123. Under the heading “East Denmark Conference” is added: “Organization effective Jan. 1, 1917. (Formerly Scandinavian Union District)”. It seems by comparison, that for four years the administrations for the Scandinavian Union and the East Denmark Conference were more or less the same, whereas the administration for the West Denmark Conference was different. They were, however, all housed in the same building, “Ebenezer,” at Suomisvej 5, Copenhagen V.

  9. “Report from the Danish Conference for the 4th Quarter 1927,” Missionsefterretninger, March 1928.

  10. Yearbook of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination (Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1931), 227.

  11. “Den Skandinaviske Unions 30-aars Jubilaeum og Deling” (The Thirtieth Anniversary of the Scandinavian Union and Its Division), Missionsefterretninger, June 1931, 42.

  12. “Rapport over S.D.A. Danske Konferenses 50. Aarsmoede” (Report from the SDA Danish Conference’s Fiftieth Annual Meeting), Konferensforhandlinger 1931 (Session Discussions 1931), Third Meeting, 3.

  13. Ibid., 4.

  14. “West Nordic Union,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1932), 203-206.

  15. The arguments on the side of financial management seem to weigh heavier than on soulwinning and church growth as compared with 1931, when leadership divided the conference.

  16. Helge Andersen, “Unionsformanden informerer” (The Union President Informs), Adventnyt, May, 1992, 16.

  17. Helge Andersen, “Den sidste svaere tider og hvorfor?” (The Last Difficult Time and Why?), Skodsborgersamfundet (1991-1992) Ultimo Versio, 73, 74.

  18. Trans-European Division Minutes, December 11, 1991, 435, copy received by mail October 24, 2019.

  19. Rolf Kvinge, “Hektisk aktivitet i VNU” (Hectic Activity in the WNU), Adventnyt, March, 1992, 11.

  20. Sold December 1, 1991, to a marketing manager I Denmark. See Rolf Kvinge, “Nutana er solgt” (Nutana has been sold), Adventnyt, January 1992, 7.

  21. A consortium of investors takes over Skodsborg Sanitarium September 1, 1992. See “Fremtidsplaner” (Plans for the Future), Skodsborgersamfundet (1991-1992) Ultimo Versio, 76.

  22. “Rapport over ekstraordinær generalforsamling i VNU afholdt på Himmerlandsgaarden 16.-17. februar 1992” (Report from Extraordinary Session for WNU, held at Himmerlandsgaarden 16-17. February 1992), Tillaeg til Adventnyt, May 1992, I-IV.

  23. Jan Paulsen, “Hvad nu?” (What Now?), Tillaeg til Adventnyt, April, 1992, III.

  24. Helge Andersen had a wide experience in administration as conference president (West Denmark 1968-1078), union president (Nigeria 1978-1984), and founder and director of ADRA Denmark and ADRA Norway since 1988.

  25. Walder Hartmann, “Ny ledelse i VNU” (New Leadership in WNU), Adventnyt, March 1992, 11.

  26. Helge Andersen, “Unionsformanden informerer” (The Union President Informs), Adventnyt, May, 1992, 16.

  27. “Rapport fra strukturudvalgets moede i Aarhus 31. marts 1992” (A Report from the Meeting of the Structure Committee in Aarhus 31. March 1992), Adventnyt, May, 1992, 16.

  28. Walder Hartmann, “Indtryk fra Adventistsamfundets foerste landsmoede” (Impressions from the first general meeting of the church in Denmark), Tillaeg til Adventnyt, August 1992, VIII.

  29. Trans-European Division Minutes, November 17, 1992, 292, copy received by mail October 24, 2019.

  30. Gunnar Pedersen, “Formandens Rapport 1992-1995” (The President’s Report 1992-1995), Adventnyt, July-August 1995, 8.

  31. When the West Nordic Union Conference dissolved, it was decided that the Danish Union of Churches and the Norwegian Union Conference would take over the retirement benefit obligations for the church and institutional staff in each of their unions. With Skodsborg Sanitarium especially and the Nutana Food Factory in Denmark with many retirees, it was an unusually heavy load to carry for a small union with limited sources of income.

  32. A sizable donation from private church members helped relieve the financial squeeze on the church.

  33. Gunnar Pedersen, “Formandens Rapport 1992-1995” (The President’s Report 1992-1995), Adventnyt, July-August,1995, 10.

  34. Carl-David Andreasen, “Formandens rapport 1995-1998” (The President’s Report 1995-1998), Adventnyt, June 1998, 14.

  35. Ibid.

  36. Philip Philipsen, “Oekonomichefens rapport 1995-1998” (The Treasurer’s Report 1995-1998), Adventnyt, June 1998, 19.

  37. The KEHAP Foundation has supported many evangelistic projects from its initiation in 2009.

  38. The ministerial secretary, Peter Roennfeldt, took groups of young pastors from the TED to Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne in Australia to visit some of the new church planting sites run by different denominations.

  39. The Café Church in Copenhagen started in the early to mid-1990’s in order to reach a younger age group with the gospel. The meetings took place in an informal setting around tables with drinks and snacks. Placing much emphasis on more contemporary music and praise singing, they have been a model for other Adventist café churches in Denmark as well as elsewhere.

  40. Called REMIX.

  41. It would typically be on a busy pedestrian street, where Adventist literature on a small table will be on display and offered to people passing by. The concept has proven to be an effective contact point for conversation.

  42. The mission magazine Nyt Fokus (New Focus) had a monthly print run of 2.500 and was used in a visitation program for three years.

  43. Through Life StyleTV in Sweden.

  44. Shops with secondhand clothing, furniture, and other items are very popular in Denmark and visited especially by younger people and foreigners. The Happy Hand shops have taken it a step further by offering free Adventist literature and time for conversation and prayer in addition to the income that is then used to help the needy.

  45. See Björn Ottesen, Reaching Post-Christian Europeans (Bracknell, United Kingdom: Newbold Academic Press, 2015), 105-107,153-161, for a more detailed description.

  46. Yearbook of Seventh-day Adventist Denomination 1965-1966 and Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook 1967 (Washington C.C.: Review and Herald Publishing House, 1965-1966 and 1967), 1 (title page).

  47. “Rapport fra den 7. generalforsamling for Syvende Dags Adventistsamfundet, Danmark…” (Report from the Seventh. Session of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination, Denmark…), Adventnyt, August 2001, 14.

  48. Recorded in Danish Union of Churches Minutes, December 5-6, 2004, 135/2004. Copy received by mail October 30, 2019.

  49. Groenlandskomitéen (The Greenland Committee) September 4 and November 22, 2005. DUCH Archives.

  50. DUCH Minutes, April 3, 2006, DDU36/2006, Planer for Groenland (Plans for Greenland).

  51. Thomas Müller, “Orientering fra Unionsbestyrelsen” (Information from the Union Committee), Adventnyt, July-August 2010, 13.

  52. “Beslutningsreferat fra generalforsamlingen 2016” (Minutes from the Session 2016), Adventnyt, June 2016, 14.

  53. “West Nordic Union Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1969), 195-197.

×

Jensen, Sven Hagen. "Danish Union of Churches Conference." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 09, 2021. Accessed January 15, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=2CSY.

Jensen, Sven Hagen. "Danish Union of Churches Conference." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 09, 2021. Date of access January 15, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=2CSY.

Jensen, Sven Hagen (2021, January 09). Danish Union of Churches Conference. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved January 15, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=2CSY.