Religion beat: Minneapolis church honors victims in Norway

  • Article by: ROSE FRENCH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 20, 2012 - 5:50 PM

Just days after the terrorist attacks in Norway last year, Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church in Minneapolis held a service to remember the fallen.

The church overflowed with hundreds of people who showed up to pay their respects and mourn the 77 people killed and the more than 300 injured.

"That was a sign of how much impact that event had on these Norwegian-Americans living in the metro area. In fact, some drove a long way [to attend]," said Orlyn Kringstad, president of the congregation. The church, also called Mindekirken, is considered one of the last Lutheran churches in America to still hold regular services in Norwegian.

Minnesota has some 900,000 citizens of Norwegian descent -- among the largest and most active such populations in the United States. So the attacks last July 22 held great resonance and meaning for them, Kringstad notes.

This Sunday marks the first anniversary of the attacks, and the church again plans to hold a memorial service to commemorate those who died or suffered.

"It's showing respect for Norway ... and how Norway has handled this situation," said Kringstad.

The trial for far-right fanatic Anders Behring Breivik, the admitted gunman, ended last month in Norway. His sentencing is set for August.

Kringstad said he expects many of the same people who attended last year's memorial at the church to make it for Sunday's 11 a.m. service, which will be held in conjunction with countless other memorials planned in Norway. The church welcomes all Minnesotans to join in remembering and supporting Norway's victims and their families and friends.

Norway's Honorary Consul General in Minnesota, Gary Gandrud, is also expected to offer some remarks at the event, Kringstad said.

"It brings a form of closure to it one year later. I think that's what we'd look for people [to take away] out of the church."

Rose French • 612-673-4352

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