Robert Olsen


language in worship, Scandinavians, Danish-language denominations


The first worship services conducted in the Danish language on American soil were conducted among the men who traveled with Jens Munk from Denmark in 1619–20 in search of a passageway to the Orient. They traveled in two small ships called the Unicorn and the Lamprey. Little did they know that in their attempt to find the Northwest Passage to the Orient they would instead journey down the St. Lawrence Seaway and settle on the banks of hudson Bay. here they would spend the long, very harsh winter. Cold and disease ultimately claimed the lives of all of the men except Munk and two others. When the ice thawed, the three miraculously managed to return home, and thus the story of their journey was documented. Included among Munk’s men was a Lutheran minister, Rasmus Jensen. Sources indicate that he conducted worship, including Christmas services, for the men before he too succumbed to illness and the harsh winter conditions. he died on February 20, 1620, and no permanent Danish settlement came of this venture.