Sámi Church days on Holy ground

 Sámi Church days on  Holy ground

- We hope that close to 1,000 participants from Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia gather for Sami Church Days 9-11 August in Mo i Rana, Northern Norway. “Holy ground! Holy Word” is the main theme of the event. In the program we intend to highlight that our bond to creation goes hand in hand with respect for the Creator, says chair of the Sami Church Council, Anne Dalheim.

Sami Church Days is hosted for the third time and for the first time in Norway and in the South Sami region. The event gathers Sami church life from all over “The North Calotte”. Key words are climate change, indigenous natural spirituality and the biblical message of creation.

Opens at UN Indigenous Peoples’ Day

At the opening day 9 August the UN Indigenous Peoples’ Day will be celebrated.

- This has influenced our profiling of the church days. The main theme, “Holy ground! Holy Word”, is inspired by the biblical word “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground!” (Exod 3:5), and it resonates at with how indigenous traditions relate to nature, says Dalheim.

She believes the opening day will be the biggest celebration of the UN Indigenous Peoples’ Day throughout Sápmi.

The Church Days begins with common worship in the big lávvu (sami teepee) which accommodates nearly 800 people. Then follows the main seminar with former head of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Ole Henrik Magga (Sápmi / Norway), the bishop of Greenland Sofie Petersen (Inuit), and the Alaskan Native Norma Kassie (Gwitch’in). The topic is “For the place where you stand is holy ground! Indigenous peoples, climate and nature spirituality. ”

3 years of planning

- We have been planning this for almost 3 years and are very proud of the program and location to which we can invite, says Sami Church Council chair Anne Dalheim.

Sami Church Council of Church of Norway is the main organizer, and Dalheim is chairing the program committee where the Sami Council of Church of Sweden, Diocese of Oulu (Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland) and the Cooperation Council of Christian Churches in the Barents Region are represented as co-organizers.

Premiere of Frode Fjellheim

The South Sami musician Frode Fjellheim provide an artistic peak of the opening day with the premiere of the commissioned work “Holy ground! Holy Word.”

- We encourage individuals and congregations to start planning their trip to Mo i Rana in August, says Dalheim. We offer a rich and exciting program for all ages, she emphasizes.

Registration for the 2013 Sami Church Days is starting 22 March.

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