Love and hate – The new church

Interiør fra den nye Stjørdal kirke. Kirka er en intergrert del av kulturhuset i Stjørdal, Kimen, og er tegnet av Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter / JSTArkitekter / Lusparken Arkitekter. Vigslet 30. august 2015. Utsmykningen bak alteret er laget av billedkunstneren Edith Lundebrekke. Ellers er rommet bygd med furugulv og gran i vegger og tak. Alle møbler er laget av håndverkere og kunsthåndverkere i Trøndelag.

The new church in the small town of Stjørdal  was consecreted 10 days ago. It is a modern church, minimalistic, and decorated by local craftsmen and artists, almost all in wood. It may seem big with is lofty space inside, but it has only 250 seats. It is the first church located inside a House of Culture, together with a cinema, library and other things.

Fra åpningen av Kimen Kulturhus i Stjørdal, Nord-Trøndelag, Bygget omfatter også Stjørdals første kirke i sentrum, og kirka er landets første bygd i et kulturhus med ulike aktiviter som bibliotek og kino.

The new church is located at the back of the House of Culture, Kimen, and you can hardly see the church. Unless you know and look up to see the abstract church spire and a discreet cross.

Interiør med alter fra den nye Stjørdal kirke. Døpefonten t.v. er i størengranitt. Kirka er en intergrert del av kulturhuset i Stjørdal, Kimen, og er tegnet av Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter / JSTArkitekter / Lusparken Arkitekter. Vigslet 30. august 2015. Utsmykningen bak alteret er laget av billedkunstneren Edith Lundebrekke. Ellers er rommet bygd med furugulv og gran i vegger og tak. Alle møbler er laget av håndverkere og kunsthåndverkere i Trøndelag.

There are rarely built any new churches in Norway now. In 2014 there was only one. The congregation in Stjørdal has 11.000 members and they have waited about 100 years for the new church. Stjørdal has been the only town without a church. There is a medieaval church some kilometres outside the town, but the Directorate for Cultural Heritage have for years warned that the old church, 900 years old, can’t cope with the use needed. So the new one was much needed. But not wanted by all. The local socialist party tried to prevent it, and now when it has been built, they want to remove it. The reason: Norway have been a Christian country for 1000 years, but the last decades some more religions are represented because of immigration. But the number of Christians is overwhelming, more than 4 million, compared to 132.135 muslims, 86.400 atheists/humanists, 17.087 buddhist and 781 jews (2104). These are registered members of religious communities, and you can see more numbers on this link.. My attitude to this: I can hardly believe it. This tiny church that people have waited so long for. And the church today is really friendly and tolerant. If they need to fight religion – pick another fight. There are more pictures on this link.

Interiør fra den nye Stjørdal kirke. Kirka er en intergrert del av kulturhuset i Stjørdal, Kimen, og er tegnet av Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter / JSTArkitekter / Lusparken Arkitekter. Vigslet 30. august 2015. Utsmykningen bak alteret er laget av billedkunstneren Edith Lundebrekke. Ellers er rommet bygd med furugulv og gran i vegger og tak. Alle møbler er laget av håndverkere og kunsthåndverkere i Trøndelag.

Konfirmanter. Interiør fra den nye Stjørdal kirke. Kirka er en intergrert del av kulturhuset i Stjørdal, Kimen, og er tegnet av Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter / JSTArkitekter / Lusparken Arkitekter. Vigslet 30. august 2015.

53 thoughts on “Love and hate – The new church

    1. What they gain I can’t really understand, nor why they want this. They probably hate Christianity. We kind of learn that in school, that Christian people did all kind of wrongs in the old days, The Inquisition, hardline missionaries and such things. Some centuries ago. It is still the main thing for some people, not what is the situation today. That is my impression, I might be wrong.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. All religions are guilty of cruelty. Ironic, isn’t it, when most religions teach being good to your neighbour? It makes no sense to live in the past or to single out one religion over another.


  1. Interesting architecture.

    As for the controversy, you don’t say if the church was built with private funds or public funds. If by private funds, then I don’t understand why anyone would object.

    If it’s built by public funds, I can see the argument and probably even agree with it (depends on the details).

    Regardless, the photos are great, and like I said, interesting architecture. I do like the interior more than the exterior.


    1. It was built with public funds, of course. We had a state church untill 2012, and 75-80 % of the population is still members of Church of Norway (protestant). But the ones who have left, that is some of them, are very loud, they talk almost as if they represent everybody. Which they certainly don’t. It is common these days to talk as if Christianity has vanished from not only Scandinavia but Europe. It is wishful thinking from a not so religious elite. And it is kind of true. Norway is a secular country, but the church still means a lot to people.
      I agree with you, the interior architecture is interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That becomes a dicier issue. I guess it would depend on the law; is there a state-sponsored religion in Norway? I thought that was abolished in 2012, and last I read the numbers, the majority of the population does not believe in a personal god.

        Conversely, does the law provide equal rights to minorities?

        These may sound like argumentative questions, but they are not (I’m just presenting a different way of looking at it; ultimately, I really don’t have any personal interest in the matter).

        Civilization advances when recognition is given that just because we used to do something a certain way, it does not mean it is right. It also advances when the majority admits that being in the majority does not grant them special rights.

        I just now watched a short segment on the Kentucky county clerk (Kim Davis) who was jailed because she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples despite it now being the law.

        She claimed it was a matter of conscience. But if that was the case she should have quit her job. Instead, she chose to remain in her job and use her state-given power to force her views on others. A de facto state-sponsored persecution of a minority population, as it were, in the form of denying them rights the majority takes for granted.

        This at a time when her supporters decry the way a different religion in a different part of the world abuses its position of power to persecute people.

        Were I to reside in Norway, as an atheist I too might raise my voice against what I would see as preferential and unequal treatment. Now, were it done in the guise of a non-functional historical monument, that would be a different matter.

        Still, claiming a special right because one is in the majority smacks of Fox-news-like thinking, where Megyn Kelly said, on air, something along the lines of “they are in the minority; I don’t see why we even have to listen to them” . . . her being a lawyer and all, it seemed a strange thing to say given that our constitution provides exactly that protection.

        . . . anyway, still a nice work of art . . .

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Now you talk like the atheists in Norway, Emilio 😉 At least like members of the humanist organisastion (ab. 84.000). Or maybe slightly different. It seems their main purpose is to get rid of Christianity all together, but they never, I say never, criticize other religions, and we have a really kind and tolerant church I must say. Since 3/4 of the population are members it is important for culture and heritage, in joy and sorrow, and keeping societies together. In modern times it wasn’t the state church that influences the state, but the state (politicians) that democratiziced the church; female priests, female bishops, homosexual priests and bishops etc. There is religious freedom by law, of course. And all religions are state funded if they hav an organization. That includes the atheists! I say some of the news about that crazy woman on CNN last night. People may have their believes and principles of course, but don’ t use their job to press other people into their believes. That goes for all religious or political views. In Norway the hot potatoe is marriage for homosexuals. They could register as partners since the early 90’s, and get married since 2009, but not yet before the alter. Thanks for your opinion Emilio.


      3. Well, I am an atheist (from long before I even heard of the word) but you will be happy to know I criticize all religions.

        One thing might be different with my thinking; while I think the world would be better off without religions, it is not my intent or desire to “get rid of religion.” I fully understand some people get something from them even though to me they make no sense.

        My area of interest in religion is that while I support everyone being free to worship whatever they want, I also strongly oppose any religion or religious people claiming special privilege over others or exerting influence to force others to bend to their view of the world and the imaginary world beyond.

        I agree with you that modern liberals and progressive people seem to have a blind spot for Islam even as they criticize Christianity. My thinking on that leans toward the idea that most western societies remember and are more aware of the abuses and oppression of Christianity versus those of Islam. That will change as Islam (incredibly) makes headway into the world.

        Either way, nothing I can envision of the future has me optimistic about it. As history has repeatedly shown, while it is professed, it’s never a matter of just turning the other cheek.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Spectacular, amazing and a whole lot more

    What a stunning piece of architecture. Thanks for sharing Bente.

    Intolerance and bigotry are what wars are made of. We should all rejoice in our differences – religious or cultural. Imagine how boring life would be if we were all the same.


    1. I agree with you about the church and also your other point of views. Yes, certainly the world would be more boring if we all were the same. But we still have to learn to live with our differences it seems. Thank you very much for your comment Vicki.


    1. That is an interesting point of view, Lois. Very much so, and I think you are right about the golden light. I also believe there is a lot of love in this “picture” but maybe of another kind than i Klimts painting. Thank you very much.


  3. This is exactly so beautiful…. and hits in modern architectural world. I loved your photographs. But I can’t say understand this controversy… Even I couldn’t have thought that there wasn’t a church there… Religion is being matter in everywhere and more than in the past… You can’t believe dear Bente, in here, there are so many mosque. But churches are the old and not being build a new one… I am not sure but maybe it is not allowed… and then this is democracy and this is secular system… I think, in both sides something wrong, I mean, the approach of about religious places, in there and also in here… Should be all of them but in a conceivable way… Thank you dear Bente, love, nia


  4. A church very modern, but nice.
    Now the Catholic churches are not accepted in many places,
    and fortunately there should be freedom of religion,
    but it’s getting worse because of all because of intolerance,
    when in fact would be nice to live all in peace and serenity.


  5. I really appreciate the space aesthetically — the natural world we inhabit reflected by all the warm, welcoming wood tones, & the diversity of colors, and then the spiritual world reflected by the fragmented light shafting through in sparks and bright hard squares, then diffusing around the room, its edges softening.


  6. though i still love more old churches, this new one prove that we must move forward in architecture as well. it will be an antique too someday in 100 years from now ;p


  7. Bente, Lady, this is a interesting topic. and it is so about our time. the time that we are living our lives in. The fact that the building is kind of hidden, i find interesting, and the architecture…oh my, you do not need to be a believer to like and enjoy this architecture ( makes me also think of brazilian charges ;). but the batlle … It looks like that batte is some sort of reaction to all the wars out there today. it’s the folks who are afraid, against religion … short minded?(oeps)… In the end, it’s all about coming together, living with each other, and apreciating all that is given to us. Love really. A lot of people forget this. Feeling happy with people who share the same thoughts and ideas … In the Netherlands, you would not find a building like this …at least not a recent build one. Here the folks are , and then I mean, especially the young, aren’t that interested in religioun anymore. I still visit once in a while in my new home town. I love talking to priests and listen to there current motivations and how they see the world. we are all different. and that is the greatest part. no matter where we share those differences. we are here all together and that is the main good thing.
    life is one big exploration, you can follow this with a book/bible or use your own instinct. Bente, it’s a lovely post.
    happy thoughts,


  8. I love the church. We have the same problem in this country Bente with Christianity criticized while other religions escape the same fate. I can never understand that. If minorities move to a Christian country, surely they can’t complain and I’m sure they wouldn’t. It’s the PC politicians and liberals who cause all the trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m curious about this comment.

      Christians say the same thing here (they are a majority) . . . but forget the constant stream of criticism they originate about other religions.

      The question, then, at least from an outside observer, seems to me one of sensitivity. While perfectly natural, one often is more aware of and reacts more strongly about criticism leveled against them than that leveled at others.

      Sometimes Christians here rail against people who excuse the whole religion of Islam when some individual Muslim does something horrible. But, again, looking from the outside, they don’t see when the same applied to their religion. When individual Christians do something awful, the first defense is “they are not ‘real’ Christians” followed by “that is not what Christianity teaches”.

      No one, Christian or Muslim admits to the possibility many of their tenets can and do lead to violence, hatred, discrimination, oppression, and so on. After all, they both profess a loving and kind god.

      However, everyone does have the habit of brushing generalisms onto whole populations using wide strokes. The reality is usually not as homogeneous. There is one other thing in play. As I said, the majority of people in the US identify themselves as Christians, and by far they have a more significant negative impact on people’s lives than any other religion. That alone skews the amount of criticism levied against them. I try to be even-handed and equal-opportunity critic of religion in general, but by far I get more items crossing my path generating from Christians than any other religion, and I’m not even actively looking for them. This is a case in point.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I didn’t realize there was so much opposition to Christianity in Norway currently. I do understand the controversy on using public funds. That’s one that is very strongly opposed here in the US also. I’m a bit confused why a congregation of 11,000 would only get to have 250 seat facility. I do think it could make sense to raise private funds for a larger project as we do here. Often the people who want the new sanctuary are very willing to give to make it happen. But perhaps things work differently in Norway. Would there be a problem with gaining a permit to build it if it were a private project?
    It’s lovely, at least, and your photos are beautiful! I have no problem with it being part of a larger building multi-purpose facility. We are doing that more and more in our country too. I see no reason not to have that practicality of using the same car parking areas and developed land blocks.
    Thanks for sharing this!


  10. Hi, the poeple who want remove the church are crazy. Who imigrants people want changes law in Christian country? maybe muslims ?WHY THEY WOULD LIKE CHANGE SOMETHING? THEY COME TO NORWAY SO THEY MUST RESPECT RULES IN THIS COUNTRY, THIS CULTURE. IF NOT, NORWAY WILL BE NOT NORWAY.

    I’m an imigrant from Poland and I live in Stjordal, and I’m glad for this Church. I can’t believe that in the past in Stjordal I could not entry to any church (vearnes church is closed) when I really need it, in casual day, in Sunday, I must drive to another town.

    Look at today situation in many UE country, look at Your neighbours Sweden.

    Firefighters in Malmo can’t rescue people when they drive to accident place because they will attack by muslims in them regions. Are You want this in Norway?


  11. Europe have losing Christian roots. So we should glad from this Church. If 1000 years was good, what will be next? Situation in many countries shows effects – France, Denmark, German, Finland, Sweden. Look at independ media. Streets shows that some religions, or some peoples try dominate rest. Of course Christian had crusades, the target was money and blind fanaticism, it was horrible, but what we see today. No one religion mustn’t impose something by violence.


  12. I love your words as much as your photos! For my degree in history, I focused on religion and its influence on war throughout the centuries. I believe more people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other reason and it continues today perpetrated by radical Muslims in the Middle East. Though most of us become whatever religion we are born into, there is fundamentally nothing wrong with religion as long as our beliefs do not become obsessions that we impose on others. The evil in religion dwells in the hearts and minds of human beings. Thank you, Bente, for speaking out. Silence serves only to encourage hatred.


  13. Interesting discussion – I agree with you. And, even if we are not that religious anymore, I’m convinced that we need something/someone to believe in. And, we need places to go to be able to think and sink down in ourselves, contemplating life. This church has a great light and feeling. But I find it strange that it is hidden in another building. Then it will have no outer form – only an inner form…I wonder what that tells us about…us?
    There is much discussion in Sweden as well – but when it comes to homosexuals getting married – that is no longer an issue. They do.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Its not separated building because then it will be not exist I think, unpleasantly that it was “connected by occasion”, It show lack of proper respect, fears.

    I didn’t knew about plans to this new building in Stjordal before, don’t know Norwegian language and didn’t read a local newspapers but when I saw the crucifix on this building first time, my first think : I’m glad, but second: unpleasantly that if in the future someting will change, inside will be rebuild for something else like modern concert hall. Its exactly show weakness, loss…


  15. A beautiful space, beautifully captured. Nice light. And a curious story about how it came to be. It is odd that it is so small. I suppose that the size is a reflection of the political/social support for religion in the town, or maybe just an anticipation of what the socialists would think.

    I like the idea of a church in a civic building, along with a library and a cinema – though I’m not a believer at all.


  16. Great shots Bente, and interesting to hear the ripples of discontent upsetting the cultural norms. It is always confronting to be made aware of the “funny ways” of other religions which then turns the mirror of reflection back to our own funny ways of worship and what is believed. Oh well, peace and harmony . . .


  17. Jag gillar takhöjden, enkelheten och att den är dekorerad av lokala konstnärer! Trä är ett favoritmaterial, varmt! Sorgligt med motståndet! Mycket sorgligt. Är ju själv en person som får mycket glädje av att gå till kyrkan!
    Tusen tack för dina underbara bilder och din historia!
    Trevlig helg! Klem!


  18. Norway has so many amazing churches. I wonder, why not welcome the new architectural influence of the incoming culture? I can’t wait to take a tour of Norway once the immigration situation calms down. I’ll probably use an agency to book the best tour. Cheers!


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