Church and Life: A Brief History

by Thorvald Hansen

Church and Life (originally, Kirke og Folk) was begun by the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1952 as an exclusively Danish publication in line with its original purpose which was to serve the Danish readership of the church. Until the 1930s the official church paper had been Kirkelig Samler, but when this had been replaced by the English language publication, Lutheran Tidings, the Danish readers were served by a page called Kirkelig Samler in the Danish language Dannevirke, a privately owned weekly which was unofficially related to the church. When this publication ceased in1951, Danish news of the church was no longer available and this was missed, particularly by older readers. It was to fill this vacuum that the new Danish publication was begun.

The first issues were distributed gratis to some 750 individuals who might be interested, but within a short time it became a subscription paper with some 1,000 subscribers. It was a 16 page paper issued twice monthly. When the Lutheran Church in America was born in 1963 and Lutheran Tidings ceased publication, some of the readers of that paper became subscribers to Church and Life. Today it has become an exclusively English language publication of 12 to l6 pages (depending on the material available) and is issued monthly. The subscription price is $20 per year. Gifts and memorials make up the shortfall, and the paper continues to function in the black. For its content the paper depends upon the voluntary contributions of a significant number of writers. The December issue is at least twice the normal size for Christmas .

In 1983 the name was changed to Church and Life. This is not, nor was it intended to be, a translation of the Danish, but rather an indication that the church body out of which it grew was concerned also with this earthly life.

Throughout its long history the paper has had six full time editors: Holger Strandskov, Paul Wikman, Michael Mikkelsen, Johannes Knudsen, and Thorvald Hansen. The present editor, Joy Ibsen, is the daughter of a former pastor in the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Currently the paper serves some 460 subscribers as a tie that binds them, not only to one another, but to the religious and social environment with which they have been familiar. This is not an exclusive group, nor are they guided by nostalgia, but one to which any and all who share similar values are more than welcome.

Reference: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America