History of the Church

The Danish Lutheran Church, which today is located on 10th Ave NE, is the result of an amalgamation of the two Danish churches in Calgary, which took place in September-October 2010.

For many years before that each church had their own story.

The Danish church in Calgary goes back to 1913.
On New Years Day in 1913, as a group of Danish immigrants celebrated their new year with a layman’s church service, they decided that while they enjoyed their weekly prayer meetings and Sunday layman’s services, they really needed a church and a pastor. They decided to form a congregation and then proceeded to elect a board from their group.

At their first congregational meeting they decided to name their church Sharon, Danish Evangelical Lutheran Congregation.
In need of a pastor they were helped by the pastor from Dickson or Standard, (it is uncertain which one).

Not until ten and a half years later did the hope and prayers for a pastor of their own finally materialize.

June 20th 1923, Pastor M. Christensen arrived.

He too had a good influence on the congregation and made it realize its obligation to the church, so slowly a financial surplus started to accumulate when he resigned only 3 years later.
He also arranged it so that the congregation could hold its services and meetings at the Norwegian church.

Pastor Knudsen from Brooklyn, New York, became his successor and while he was leading the congregation the dreams of having their own church building gained speed.

In December 1928, the congregation had raised enough money to buy 4 lots on 10th Avenue.
A little less than 2 years later, on November 3rd 1930, it was decided to build a church in the Danish style on two of the lots.
In order to keep the cost low, the congregation took upon itself to help out as much possible.
On February 7th 1931, the church was externally completed and many basics such as the altar, pews, and pulpit were ready to be installed.

As time went by and the war brought disruptions, the Danish language slowly disappeared from Sharon’s services and activities.
Therefore, when a new wave of Danish immigrants came to Calgary in the 50’s, Sharon church tried to embrace them, but their wish for having their services in Danish were finally so strong, so they too wanted to form their own congregation with their own pastor and their own church!

A retired Danish pastor from Dalum helped the Danish-speaking congregation in its early beginning where they had services in different private homes, and with his help the congregation asked DKU (Dansk Kirke i Udlandet – Danish Church Abroad) for help. The DKU is an organization in Denmark which through private funds supports Danish congregations abroad and helps them to call a Danish pastor.

In 1964 pastor Charlo Staal Nielsen and his family arrived in Calgary and the Danish Lutheran Church, Calgary, began--first as a congregation renting space for worship, but soon gained its own building at 130 32 Ave NW.
Both churches had prosperous years with several pastors, flourishing Sunday schools, and lived side by side for almost 45 years.
Both had Danish roots, but they were of two different generations.
Both churches have been involved in the Calgarian community by supporting the building of several new Lutheran churches in Calgary, and by helping establish the retirement home Dana Village on Simcoe Blvd SW and the care center Bethany on 18A Str NW.

One morning in December 2009, the treasurer of The Danish Church on 32th Ave. was contacted by the chairman of the board at Sharon Lutheran church asking if the church would consider buying Sharon Lutheran Church for one dollar and move the congregation and the services to Sharon.
Sharon congregation was aging and did not want the church to die.

At that time, the Danish Lutheran church was in the process of calling a new pastor from Denmark--me--and about to finish the new parsonage--suddenly there was a lot on everyone's plate.

But after many meetings and some joint services it finally was decided on August 3rd 2010 to merge.
And on October 3rd 2010 we celebrated the first Thanksgiving service as one congregation in Sharon.

It has been a few years now and lot of things have happened since then. We have finished building a narthex to the church so a lift could be installed and have renovated the hall downstairs.
Many things are on our wish list.
One thing is certain: the congregation isn’t dying anymore. But I think the amalgamation has been a boost to both congregations and now we are again trying to take up the tradition of looking outwards toward the community. We have vacation bible schools, Danish classes, and events that are open to our neighborhood such as candlelight services Christmas Eve and dessert nights.