The Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Denmark (ELCD) is trying in different ways to include migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in the congregations. And it seems to be bearing fruit. A growing number of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers are joining ELCD.
This is due to an increased strategic focus on mission and intercultural work in the church.
A network of 14 pastors from across the country has been established to coordinate and develop the work amongst asylum seekers and refugees, and many parishes focus on intercultural work to open the doors to people with other ethnic backgrounds.
More than 40 pastors have been specially designated to work with refugees and asylum seekers in different ways. Some churches, such as Apostelkirken in Copenhagen, Gronnevang Kirke and Karlslunde Strandkirke outside Copenhagen, and Norrelandskirken in Holstebro in West Jutland have great success in attracting more and more refugees and migrants.
In addition, there are 30 employees in churches and church organizations coordinating intercultural work, as well as a multitude of volunteers. The work consists of many different activities, such as language learning cafés, legal counseling, dinner events, baptism preparation etc.
ELCD is working with refugees and migrants from different religious backgrounds, who often express that an important incentive to join ELCD is to feel part of the social and national community.
Last year around 500 muslims converted to Christianity […], and there is currently a continuous flow of muslims contacting parishes in ELCD because they wish to be baptized. It is thus a significant new phenomenon that pastors can form baptism classes with 30-35 persons, often consisting of Iranian asylum seekers.