Tragedy in Norway: Memorial Service

August 6, 2011
The memorial service on Saturday, August 6th, for those who died in the terrorist actions in Oslo and Utoya Island on July 22nd was arranged by the Norwegian Church in Washington.

This very moving service, held at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Bethesda, was arranged by the head of the Norwegian Church in Washington, Lasse Syversen. The Pastor of the Norwegian Seamen's Church, Hilde Barsnes, presided over the service.  Following an opening prayer, spoken both in Norwegian
and English, Sissel Bakken sang beautifully Edvard Grieg's "Stambogsrim", accompanied by Gillian Cookson.

Following a scripture reading and the singing of the hymn, "Vi Rekker Vaare Hender Frem, Som Tommer Skaaler," Ambassador Wegger Christian Strommen rose to welcome those in attendance, and to voice his own reflections on the sad and tragic event. The ambassador mentioned that he knew many of the families who were affected by the tragedy.
Next was a reading of the names of those who lost their lives in Oslo and at Utøya. Their names, their ages, and where they were from in Norway were read aloud. For each name, a group of young people in attendance placed a white rose on the altar of the church. This was the saddest and most moving part of the service. 
Next was a beautiful rendering of Mozart's "Adagio", for clarinet and piano, rendered by clarinetist Peter Mika and pianist Antoinette Velikina. Then Pastor Hilde Barsnes delivered a short sermon of remembrance in
both Norwegian and English, followed by another hymn, "Jeg er i Herrens Hender Naar Dagen Gryr i Ost."
Closing prayers were followed by another song, "En Svane," by Grieg, again sung by Sissel Bakken and accompanied by Gillian Cookson. 
A book to record condolence messages was available during the fellowship hour following the service. Everyone agreed the service was meaningful and moving. A few members of Washington Lodge attended.

Notes from Washington Lodge

We are deeply saddened by the loss of so many innocent lives in Norway on July 22nd. These terrible tragedies are a sad reminder that even the most peace loving nations can experience terrorism on their soil.

We are heartened, however, by the outpouring of condolences from lodge members and non-members alike. We intend to share this love for Norway and its people with the Norwegian embassy here in DC.

To that end, we have established a page on the lodge website where these messages can be posted for sharing.