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THE NEWS FROM BRUNER’S BROOD - Thursday, May 23, 2024 1000 YEAR ANNIVERSARY - HAMRE LUTHERAN CHURCH

Hi, everyone! I trust that all is well with you and yours and that music continues to fill an important role in your community and family. For those of you who have recently liked my artist page, thank you so much for your interest and kind support. Updates continue to be made on my website, including the article I’m presenting in this post. This for a special local anniversary with my principal employer, the Norwegian Lutheran Church. My family’s home congregation in Norway is celebrating 1000 years of existence in 2024. As an employee, I have both a musical and technical role in this special celebration. Personally, this is where Christian faith, music, family and work combine in a public context. This latest article is written for both my Facebook pages and my website at www.trentbruner.com. The majority of historical information available is in Norwegian, so I will present condensed historical and personal account of this church at this hamlet on the Island of Osterøy.


I visited Hamre Lutheran Church in June 2002 for the first time after my wife Hilde and I began a long distance courtship. Kristoffer Foldøy, the local church historian, gave us a tour of the church and an extensive background of its historical, cultural and missions history. It was founded in 1024 by Norway’s first king, Olav Haraldsson (known as Olav, The Holy) as the central Christian church for North Hordland under the Roman Catholic Church at the time. Hamre was selected because of its central location for boats and waterways north of what would later become the present day City of Bergen. I remember Kristoffer saying to Hilde and me that there are many other stories and accounts of Hamre’s church history that have not yet been documented, but that some of its earlier artifacts are housed in various museums in Bergen. This is a fact that Kristoffer often states to many who take his tours of the church by appointment. For those who have cell phones and can use QR codes, small placards placed around the church give visitors a chance to learn more about this history of this building and this congregation gathered to date.


Two buildings have been in place where the present church building stands. The present church building was built in 1622 around a stone altar from that year, which is encased inside the present wood and glass altar. Once you enter the present church building, before the invention of the printing press, pictures of the Twelve Disciples and artwork describing biblical stories would be painted on its inner walls. This was to help the congregation know what the minister/priest would be talking about in his sermons, as well as give a pictorial and artistic presentation of the Gospel and Biblical Accounts. The baptismal font is carved of stone and has been in the church since 1250, making it the oldest artifact from its earlier centuries, and having a four point direction like a compass engraved on the font, showing everyone where east, west, north and south is. The present artwork of the altar showing pictures of Christ’s crucifixion, His rising from the dead and ascension into Heaven exists from 1480. When the Reformation was spreading throughout Europe, and since Norway was colonialized by both Denmark and Sweden over some centuries, the respective monarchs of Norway, Denmark and Sweden distanced themselves from the Roman Catholic denomination and became affiliated with the Lutheran Church, established under German theologian and priest Martin Luther in the 1500s. Very few Roman Catholic congregations remained inside the Catholic Church in the Scandinavian countries after this change, with some continuing in the present Catholic Church to this day. When Norway gained independence in 1905, all Lutheran churches in Norway became affiliated with The Church of Norway, the official name of the Norwegian Lutheran Church.


Little did I know that in later years, Hamre Lutheran Church would become my home church on the Island of Osterøy, as Hilde and I would have our wedding there. Our two daughters, Hannah Moira and Ingrid Sofie would be baptized and confirmed there. Our grandsons, Olai and Magnus Vevle Jackobsen would also be baptized there, and I would be also playing for their baptisms there. Although I played and sang often in church throughout my life since age 15, I had no idea that I would become a church musician in Norway.


In November 2006, I would be asked by our church organist at the time, Liv Skoglund, to become a substitute organist for the Osterøy Lutheran Parish. Although I started in the Village of Hosanger with this paid task, I would be later spending time in later years in Gjerstad, Bruvik, Haus and Hamre as well for various church services, baptisms, weddings, funerals, and other church gatherings. It has often happened as a substitute organist on call, holding two temporary positions as an organist in this parish from August-2012-July 2013, February-June 2015, and from September 2017-June 2020. Since September 1, 2017, I have held a 70% permanent position with the Osterøy Lutheran Parish as an organist and have been on call for church functions inside and outside Bergen as well. I work with a church warden (my boss), an office secretary, a religious education coordinator, a confirmation teacher, two ministers and a second organist/cantor. The church’s role in Norwegian society is established by law of the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget), ensuring that money towards annual operating budgets come from Federal taxes so its employees can be paid in various work percentages and positions ranging from part time to full time.


For me, the best part of this work is to see Christian faith, music, family and work combine in a public context for the public good. To see people’s burdens lifted, give hope to those who have had none and support those in their walks of Christian faith is a responsibility to be taken seriously by those who work in it. With The Lord’s help, I’m glad to share my talents in this way to make a positive difference with everyone.

In closing, the theme of “Past, Present, Future and Celebration” is being presented from May 23-26. I will have the Alvidt Manger Singers as a part of the Thursday night evening vespers and evening song, as well as being part of a concert by Bergen Baroque (Barokk) and a presentation on the first centuries of Norwegian church history. Friday is another presentation on Norwegian church history and a concert with the Osterøy Community Choir (Jon Flydal Blichfeldt, conductor). Saturday is Childrens Day with Christian childrens artist Bjarte Leithaug, the Valestrand Childrens Choir (Miriam Mjelstad, leader) and local band, along with a mini concert with the Osterøy School Brass Band and other children’s activities. Sunday is the main church service with Bishop Ragnhild Jensen and the local Dean of the Diocease, Leif Endre Grutle. Ivar Mæland, my fellow cantor, will play organ and lead the musical arrangements for this service while I serve as the sound man.


A wrapup article will be posted after the celebration in the coming days. Until next time, see you somewhere down the musical trail!


Musically Yours, Trent



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