Alarmed that some of Norway’s historic stave churches may be sold or closed, a Member of Parliament for the Labour Party says his colleagues agree that they need to shore up state and local support for the churches, while also exploring how private local business can take some responsibility as well.
Arild Grande, Labour’s spokesman on cultural issues, said the politicians will first challenge the government over what it intends to do, after news last week that the association now responsible for eight of Norway’s 28 remaining stave churches lacked the financial resources to care for them. “We expect that we can get an assessment of the situation within the year,” Grande told newspaper Aftenposten.
Anders Tyvand, an MP from the Christian Democrats party, stressed that the stave churches are an important part of Norwegian culture. “The most important thing is that we manage to preserve them for the future,” Tyvand told Aftenposten. “It’s also important that they’re made accessible to the public.” He said there “should be no doubt” that the state has a responsibility to take care of the churches, many of which extend back to Viking times and when Christianity first began to replace worship of old Norse gods.