Norsk 101: Sjømannskirken

The Norwegian Seamen’s Church

Photo: Christie Ericson
If you drop into the Norwegian Seamen’s Church somewhere in the world, you may enjoy a good cup of coffee and a round of their famous heart-shaped Norwegian waffles.

Nylig, på en tur til (On a recent trip to) San Francisco, bestemte jeg meg for å besøke (I decided to visit) Sjømannskirken—Norsk kirke i utlandet (the Seamen’s Church – the Norwegian Church Abroad). 

Sjømannskirken er en organisasjon for nordmenn i utlandet (The Seamen’s Church is an organization for Norwegians abroad). Den ble grunnlagt i 1864 i (It was founded in 1864 in) Bergen og er tilknyttet Den norske kirke (and is affiliated with the Church of Norway). Opprinnelig var sjømannskirkene for skandinaviske sjømenn i fremmede havner (Originally, the Seamen’s Churches  were for Scandinavian seamen in foreign ports), men nå finnes de over hele verden (but now they  are found all over the world). De holder gudstjenester (They perform church services) og kirkelige handlinger som (and ecclesiastical activities such as) dåp (baptism), konfirmasjon (confirmation), bryllup (weddings) og bisettelse (and funeral services). 

Sjømannskirken er også et kulturelt og sosialt møtested (The Seamen’s Church is also a cultural and social meeting place). Her kan du lese aviser og bøker fra Norge (Here you can read newspapers and books from Norway), kjøpe norsk mat (buy Norwegian food) og snakke med andre nordmenn (and speak with other Norwegians).

Jeg hadde planlagt (I had planned) å ta den ikoniske (to take the iconic) San Francisco kabelsporvognen (cable car) til Sjømannskirken (to the Seamen’s Church), men kabelsporvognene ble midlertidig avlyst (but the cable cars were temporarily canceled) på grunn av et uvær (because of a storm), en såkalt atmosfærisk elv (a so-called atmospheric river) med mye regn og sterk vind (with much rain and strong wind).

Men litt vind og regn (But a little wind and rain) kunne ikke stoppe meg (couldn’t stop me), så jeg spaserte opp og ned (so I walked up and down) de bratte bakkene (the steep hills) til Sjømannskirken (to the Seamen’s Church). Jeg var gjennomvåt (I was soaking wet) da jeg kom frem (when I arrived), men jeg ble mottatt (but I was met) med et hjertelig velkommen (with a hearty welcome) av vertene (by the hosts) Hildegunn og Trond Egil Toft og sjømannsprest (and pastor) Jon Olav Berg Hjelde.

Andre reisende slo seg sammen med oss (Other travelers joined us) og vi ble snart en stor gruppe (and we were soon a large group) av folk fra Norge, Sverige, Tyskland og USA (of people from Norway, Sweden, Germany, and the United States). Etter en fersk vaffel og en kopp kaffe (After a fresh waffle and a cup of coffee), hadde jeg blitt varm og tørr (I was warm and dry). Det var kjempekoselig! (It was very cozy!)

Hvis du er i (If you are in) San Francisco, stikk innom Sjømannskirken (stop by the Seamen’s Church) til en prat og en vaffel (for a chat and a waffle)!

Sjømannskirken i San Francisco: sjomannskirken.no/san-francisco

This article originally appeared in the February 2023 issue of The Norwegian American.

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Christie Ericson

Christie Ericson is an academic librarian living in Anchorage, Alaska. She has a background in languages and linguistics and has been fulfilling her lifelong dream of learning the Norwegian language. She also serves as the cultural director and librarian at her local Sons of Norway lodge and is completely addicted to Selbu mitten knitting.