Cross on Norwegian church irritates neighbours


Northern Europe


The opening of the news church in Skien this summer. Photo DELK Telemark, Kristelig Pressekontor

The cross on the tower at a newly built church in Skien provokes neighbours. They think it is annoying and dominant.

The so-called Skauen church was opened this summer. The new building is right next to a residential area. But now, a neighbour has complained to the local authorities about the glowing cross in the tower.

"I find the huge luminous cross on the new church building of the Evangelical Lutheran church community at Skauen very annoying", it is said in a letter to the building unit in Skien municipality.

The cross has a light in it as well, so that it is visible 24 hours during the whole year.

Skien is a district on the south-eastern coast of Norway, between Kristiansand and Oslo. The church building was opened this summer and had cost about 80 million Kroner (8 million euros), as the Christian Press Office (KPK) reported.

Area is known for diversity

According to Vart Land, the complaining citizen thinks the residential area is known for a diversity of religious views. "And it seems provocative because it is dominant and lights up 24 hours a day", says the resident in the vicinity of the new church.

He emphasises that it is not the troublesome light itself but the symbolism that radiates from the cross. "The congregation may have a cross on the outside of the building, but it may not be necessary to have light in it or to place it so high up on the tower", the neighbour says.

The cross is not on the façade of the building but on top. According to pastor Fred Arve Fahre is the church tower about 10 meters high. The cross itself is about two meters high. He says they will listen to both positive and negative feedback.

"We are proud of our cross. It is part of our culture; we see it when the Norwegian flag is waving. And for us, it is the whole symbol of our hope and our faith. That is why we want to highlight it", the pastor is quoted in the local newspaper Telemark.

DELK free church

The congregation in Skauen church belongs to The Evangelical Lutheran Church Society (DELK). It is a Lutheran free church that does not belong to the Church of Norway but split off in 1872. The denomination has about 3000 members in 12 congregations, mostly in the southeast of Norway, as the Norwegian Christian Press Office (KPK) summarises.



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.