Stave Churches in Norway (June 2009)

Fantoft stave church, a reconstructed stave church in Fana, Bergen, Norway

Our June program is going to be an interesting talk about the Stave Churches in Norway. (A stave church is a medieval wooden church with a post and beam construction. All surviving stave churches except one are found in Norway.)

Dr. Verlyn Anderson is Professor Emeritus of Scandinavian Studies and History at Concordia College, in Moorhead, Minn. He is also Cultural Director at the second largest lodge (with 1400 members!) in Sons of Norway. Dr. Anderson is a veteran of some 40 trips to Norway, mostly as a tour guide for groups from USA.

His presentation will include his own photos of all 29 surviving (originally, there were more than 1,000) stave churches built between 1050 and 1300, along with the churches’ histories.

The event chair is Vice-President, Kristin Oen Stone.

About Verlyn Anderson

Introducing our June 19 Program Speaker

Dr. Verlyn Anderson, from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. has taken pictures of all 29 of the surviving stave churches in Norway during his more than 40 trips, and he will show them and speak of their history at our regular monthly lodge program at 7:45 PM on June 19.

Dr. Anderson was born in Rothsay, Minnesota, 35 miles from Fargo, N.D., the son of Arthur and Cora (Hovland) Anderson, and graduated from Rothsay High School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and English at Concordia College, graduating in 1956. He furthered his education at the University of Minnesota by earning a Master of Arts degree in English (1962), a Master of Arts degree in library science (1965), and a Ph.D. degree in American Studies (1972).

His career started when he accepted a position as a teacher in an elementary school in 1954, and then, as teacher of English and Latin, in high school from 1957-1962. He became College Librarian at Concordia College in 1962 and served until 1968. He served as Director of the Concordia College Library from 1968-1998, during which period he also held the position of Professor of Scandinavian Studies and History.

In Norway he served as Visiting Professor of Scandinavian Studies at Hedmark College in Hamar, Feb.- April 1983 and Jan.- March 1996, and held the same position at Oppland College in LIllehammer, Jan.- May 1999. Dr. Anderson was awarded the St. Olav Medal in 2008 at Nikolai Church in Hadeland, Norway, "in recognition of exemplary services to Norway, in particular for the recipient's active work to promote knowledge and appreciation of Norwegian culture, language and history in the United States," as quoted from the award announcement letter Dr. Anderson received from the Norwegian Consul General of Minneapolis, Minn.

On many of his more than 40 trips to Scandinavia and other parts of Europe, he and his wife, Evonne (Beastrom) Anderson, directed study-travel seminars for Concordia College students and alumni, for the Red River Heritage Society, and for Skogfjorden, which is the Norwegian Language Village of Bemidji, Minn. Dr. Anderson also served as study leader for 15 study tours of the Smithsonian Institution and the National Trust for Historical Preservation.

In conclusion the Lodge extends a warm welcome to Dr. and Mrs. Anderson with thanks for accepting our invitation. The Lodge also is grateful to Vice-President Kristen Oen Stone, for recommending him to lead this program, after she heard him speak at the Norwegian Language Village in 2008, and for hosting the Andersons in her home during their visit.

Stave church photo credit: Agtfjott via Creative Commons