More and more people are migrating to Denmark. Of these, about 40% are Christians and many of these Christian immigrants do not seek the traditional Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Denmark but instead various other denominations and congregations. In all of Denmark there are about 250 so-called migrant congregations.
Migrant congregations often start out as small household congregations, where workers, students or refugees from the same ethnic group come together for Christian fellowship in their own language. Many of these migrants were already part of churches in Africa, Europe, Latin America and Asia before coming to Denmark. Others become Christians in Europe because they meet fellow nationals here who are Christians.
Where are the migrant churches in Denmark?
They are spread throughout the country so we have created an interactive and searchable map. That way you can find the migrant church closest to you at:
What is a migrant churches/congregation?
Migrant churches and congregations in Denmark are very diverse. They represent virtually the whole world and meet in very different places. From private apartments to basements and hotels, factory buildings, mission houses as well as owned, rented and borrowed Danish churches.
The priests each have their own unique story. Some are sent here as missionaries, others called by an existing church here in Denmark. Some have come as refugees or workers and subsequently been appointed pastors.
Practice and theology are very different from church to church, with everything from christenings to adult baptism, from organ music to electric guitar riffs, from incense and procession to children running around the chairs, from spoken prayer to tongues and from seated hymns to dancing praises.
It can be a culture shock to encounter the Danish Church for immigrants, particularly from non-Western countries who come from a conservative society. There is therefore a very understandable need to find one’s own faith identity in a different Christian community. Most immigrants have learned Danish and are active citizens but will not give up their religion because it is the foundation of their identity. There is a tendency for the role of religion to be strengthened. This helps us understand why both the Christian and Muslim faith means a lot to new Danes.
Why do we use the term "migrant churches/congregations"?
"Migrant churches/congregations" are used as a collective term for both the historical, international and ethnic congregations. It is to be understood positively in the sense that these congregations are here to serve a group of immigrants and descendants who cannot find themselves represented in the already established Danish churches.
"Migrant" used in this context does not mean that the person or the church in question is not Danish. Many migrant communities consist mainly of immigrants and descendants with Danish citizenship or permanent residency. The word "migrant" is thus not used to create distance, but to indicate that the congregation is primarily established for and by new Danes. Unfortunately the word does not reflect the nuances and diversity of these churches, cultures and traditions, but for lack of a better word this is the way we define these congregations.
Migrant congregations represent a diverse wealth of different cultural, linguistic and theological communities, and they bring with them a new and important experiences of Christianity, to the great benefit of the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church where there is cooperation and mutual respect.