The Priesthood Board

Three days a week I sit in the 16th century porch that adorns the round medieval church of Østerlars. The porch, known as the våbenhuset, the armoury, leads up to South door where the men would enter after having deposited their arms and headwear in order to be in the presence of God naked and defenceless, therefore humble in their vulnerability. Women would enter through the North door, separation of women and men being an important feature of Christian traditions throughout the times.

During the summer season, the våbenhuset becomes the ticket office for visitors eager to discover one of the gems of Denmark’s classified historical buildings. I am one of the two tourist guides who ushers the tourists in and provides them with further information relating to the history and architecture of the church. I then lovingly clean the church when they have left and prepare it for worship and services, carefully casting aside all traces of the commercial activity. I feel very blessed to be able to spend so much time in such a powerful place.

My work in the church has impacted my writing, in a meaningful way. For instance, it was during the quieter shifts in June that I was able to complete work on the companion volume of the Guidance for Life on Earth series, The World You Wish To Bring Into Being [1]. Now that the tourist season is at its peak with more than a thousand visitors daily, I am fully engaged in greeting the visitors and practicing my fumbling Danish. There is not much space, nor time for writing, either during my shifts or on my days off when I attend to the needs of the guest lodge back home. Clearly, I need to take a break from the inquiries I have been committing to this blog.

Nonetheless, my urge to write remains and, despite time constrictions, it appears to be flourishing pursuing new stimulating venues. I am currently working, for instance, on the structuring of my books, a trilogy, exploring the virtues of sacred geometry for providing frames conducive to alignment with and embodiment of higher frequencies of consciousness. In place of the in-depth inquiries of the blog, I have been guided on the inner to write short pieces, small nuggets of some of those golden moments I encounter during my shifts. I am to revive an old summer tradition, one that dates back to other forms of communication, writing postcards.

This is my first postcard from the church.

Postcard N° 1 – The Priesthood Board

To the left of the desk where I sit, there is wooden board listing the names of the church’s priests from the Reformation up to present times. The woodwork previously served as a door to the confessional when the church was Catholic and features a scene from Luke’s gospel, the good Samaritan.

Last Sunday, a delightful old lady, accompanied by her son, came up to tell me, in Danish, that she had been confirmed in the church 75 years ago. She and her son were visiting Bornholm on a pilgrimage going down memory lane. I directed her to the priesthood board and asked her, in English, to show us the priest who had confirmed her. Her eyes lit up when she saw the names and she immediately pointed her finger at Poul Lange, priest from 1936 to 1945. She remembered the priest before him, Rohde, and added that Poul Lange had been the priest who had married her in Gudhjem church the neighbouring parish twinned to Østerlars. In rural communities, priests often serve two parishes and it was interesting to learn that the current situation, Gudhjem and Østerlars, has been operating for several decades.

Steen, the old lady’s son, was sorry that he did not have his phone to take a picture of the priesthood board. I suggested he gave me his email address and I promised to send him a picture. Later that day, after rummaging in the archives, I found a good picture of the board and sent it to the address Steen had given me. His reply warms my heart.

Hi Nicola, thx for your mail.

My mom and me loved your great engagement

Kind regards, Steen

[1] Stephen Busby (2021). Guidance for Life on Earth. Teachings and Practices from Inner Guides. The World You Wish To Bring Into Being. Self-published.