Pilgrimage of trust in Norway

“Dreaming” together what the September meeting might be like

Starting to prepare a stage on the pilgrimage of trust is perhaps first of all taking time to “dream”. Two of the brothers visited Norway in March to “dream” together with young Norwegians what the September meeting in Oslo/Trondheim might be like.

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The dream of the city coming together

Like so many cities, Oslo has an east side and west side, divided by the river. The two very rarely come together, and both have prejudices about the other. How could we have a real “meeting” of people from “Grønland”, an area of high immigration, and those from the area around the King’s castle?

Dreams that during the meeting Norwegians from the West Coast could be hosted by Filipino families in Oslo, and thus experience the life of “guest workers” in Norway.

There could be a workshop during the meeting where young Muslims and Young Christians simply meet together and ask each other questions. No specialists, simply sitting down and talking, and discovering what we have in common.

The dream of a living “Church”

In Norway, for many people being part of the state church is important for their national identity: with the rites of passage of baptism, confirmation, marriage and funerals.
Though about 75% of Norwegian youth participate in confirmation, for some the ceremony itself has lost many of its religious connotations. The decision to participate has become for some a matter of "habit” - what everyone does.
Very few Norwegians attend church on Sundays. Only 2-3 percent regularly attend services, putting Norway at the bottom of the church attendance rankings in Europe.
Perhaps also the “Northern temperament” can make it seem that believing in God is a task or a labour or a hard work.
Historical divisions within the church have not helped; for over a century Oslo has had two rival theology faculties. (During the meeting they will hold a joint symposium)
How can the September meeting be a sign of the joy of being together, singing, solidarity, community, even for those for whom “a chain of circumstances which relegates faith to the bottom of the ladder of priorities”’ (Letter from China)

The dream of Norway and Taizé together

The pilgrimage of trust is not a question of just arriving in a city with icons and songs from Taizé.
How for these days can we really share together. In the prayers and songs, Norwegian and Sami will be used. For the workshops and night café, music will also be an important element. But how will visitors discover the Norwegian “soul” - so linked to the vast landscape and the out-door life?
How will they understand the sense of “justice” which over the years has worked to help this country resolve conflicts in various parts of the world?
Norwegian life and government is based on trust, (almost unimaginable in many countries of the world). How can we nurture this trust which allows society to be built up?

Last updated: 19 March 2010