As I wrote earlier I am playing catchup to my travels. Here is the next part of our trip to South Dakota.
This is "The Chapel in the Hills". It was a gift - built in 1969 as a testament to the Evangilical Lutheran Church in America. It is an exact replica of the famous Borgund Stavkirke Church in Laerdal, Norway. It was built in Norway to specifications then deconstructed - shipped to Rapid City and reconstructed. Worship services are held each evening all summer at 7:30 PM by itinerant ministers. They spend a week there - with housing and conduct services.
My great-grandfather was an itinerant Lutheran minister in MN. He traveled the countryside but was - according to my Uncle - a bit of a maverick. He served five churches in the region and would pronounce that Sunday's were the Lord's Day.....and they should go to church.,...even if the only church that was available was Catholic. My Uncle John said that browsing through his room one day long after he died...he found a well-used microscope and two worn books........The Bible and Darwin's "Origin of the Species". A rare combination.....except when you believe that the gift of god is the insatiable curiosity and discovery of the mind.
The Church and grounds are beautiful. Tucked into a local neighborhood you would be hard pressed to find it unless you were looking for it. The grounds are open to picnics and playing amongst the trees. There is a gift shop and cabin that have been created to replicate typical Norwegian housing.
The interior of the church is traditional among Norwegian - Lutheran architecture. It is simple but beautiful in its simplicity. Like a cathedral there is meaning behind the design.
The three arches at the alter as well as in the ceiling structure represent the Trinity. The faces sculpted into the pillars - the four gospels. Outside at the top of the structure - dragon like structures to ward away evil spirits....likened to the ends of the Viking Norwegians boats.....how did Christianity became the religion of the people...by including ancient beliefs with new ones.
In addition to the church there is a small meditation path that leads up the side of the hill. It is for contemplation - reflection and reverence. A merging of nature - mankind and the divine. We were there on a beautiful day...........it was .....peaceful.
Our trip to Mt Rushmore was enhanced by this surprise. Coming from a Norwegian heritage.....and visiting Norway a couple of years ago...in this quiet little neighborhood......it was pure joy to visit and partake in this little slice of Norway in Rapid City, South Dakota !
BK Travel Tips
To enjoy travel and see the world and often yourself as if for the first time and with with the eyes of a young child.