About 1400 of the members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark come from farsi speaking countries, and an increasing amount of farsi speaking migrants from Iran and Afghanistan are seeking the church. In order to strengthen the church’s outreach to the farsi speaking community the church has recently employed a farsi coordinator. The new position is a result of a collaboration between 8 deaneries and the coordinator will assist farsi speaking groups in across the country.
58 year old Naser Rezaeih will be leading the church's outreach programme for the farsi speaking community, primarily immigrants and descendants from Iran and Afghanistan. With several years of experience as a Christian leader, teacher and preacher Naser already has an extensive network as well as valuable skills that are needed to carry out the programme. Rezaeih has already worked for the Interchurch Council as a consultant, and the transition is therefore a smooth process.
Naser arranges weekly online meetings including Christian education and community building and is planning large events together with different parishes once it is possible to meet physically again. A large priority in Rezaeih’s work will be to support the local work in the parishes and deaneries.
Why farsi speaking?
Many of those who came to Denmark during the refugee crisis in 2015 and converted to Christianity, have a farsi background with roots in Iran and Afghanistan. They have indicated that what they need is first and foremost a community, Christian education, and a church leader with whom they can identify, a person who understands their language and culture.
Why a bilingual church?
14% of Denmark’s population consists of immigrants and descendants and they have a different mother tongue than Danish. Most of the farsispeaking speak Danish fluently but they most personal and intimate can be hard to translate. Christian faith is, according to Grundtvig, a “heart language”, the mother tongue that you use in your own spiritual life. With a bilingual approach, such as the farsi community outreach, the Evangelical Lutheran Church can assist in the difficult translation and also be enriched by new ways of meeting Christianity and the church – through the church of the Danish newcomers. The objective is not to create linguistic divisions, rather to strengthen the church’s work in other languages and thus strengthen the bonds between newcomers and the church and Danish society.
The outreach programme is a co-operation between the following deaneries:
Vor Frue-Vesterbro Deanery, Diocese of Copenhagen (host deanery)
Haderslev Deanery, Diocese of Haderslev
Fredericia Deanery, Diocese of Haderslev
Sønderborg Deanery, Diocese of Haderslev
Slagelse Deanery, Diocese of Roskilde
Greve-Solrød Deanery, Diocese of Roskilde
Lejre Deanery, Diocese of Roskilde
Frederikssund Deanery, Diocese of Elsinore
For more information, contact The Interchurch Council, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: +45 33 11 44 88.