The history of the Seamen’s Church in the US began with the establishment of a Ministry in the Port of Pensacola, Florida in 1876. Its mission was to minister Norwegian sailors, and the Norwegian Seamen’s Church soon had established twelve churches in ports around the US. There are currently six Seamen’s Churches in the US, and although the Seamen’s Church has strong connections to the Church of Norway, it is a separate organization. The Seamen’s Churches serve an important role in the life of many Norwegian expats and is indeed a home away from home for many Scandinavians across the globe.
The former Seamen’s Church in Miami, established in 1981, was located in the Leiv Eriksson Center, a small and modest building at the Port of Miami. Nowadays, the church does not only minister to Norwegian sailors in the US, but to all Norwegian expatriates, many of them located in Southern Florida. Thus, the location of the new church in Davie, west of Fort Lauderdale, reflects the needs of today’s congregation more so than the former church.
The grand opening of the a new Seamen’s Church took place Sunday November 20th and the Crown Princess of Norway, Mette-Marit, was an honored guest of the event and officially opened the church by cutting the ribbon during the Church Concentration on Sunday.
Consul General Jostein Mykletun also took part in the grand opening and was very pleased to see a brand new Seamen’s Church being opened in his area of jurisdiction. Celebrations of the new Scandinavian Center started already on Saturday the 19th of November at 11am with a flag raising ceremony. Following this ceremony was an opening of each of the rooms, including a conference room, a reading room and a café, officially opened with their individual sponsors. Bishop Nordhaug was accompanied by the Swedish Bishop for the opening, illustrating the close friendship between Scandinavians in the US.