The Corona crisis has once again cancelled church services during the Easter holidays and now some pastors in the Norwegian Church are questioning the government’s priorities. They think Norwegians’ tradition of spending Easter holidays at their hytter (holiday homes) has been given far more attention than the church.
“I think the government could have said a bit more about the church,” Pastor Vidar Bjotveit in Gloppen complained on social media. He understood the need to clarify rules for hytte visits and even shopping guidelines, but thinks the former state church could have had at least a mention.
“It would have been natural for a government minister to say, for example, that they realize many would have liked to celebrate Easter inside a church or other house of worship,” Bjotveit wrote. That, he thinks, would have acknowledged the loss of Easter services for the second year in a row.
“Only the closure of some ski slopes and the ban on serving alcohol is being discussed, along with how many guests you can invite to your hytte,” Marius Timmann Mjaaland, a professor of religious philosphy at the University of Oslo lamented as well.
Other theologians and the archbishop of The Norwegian Church have questioned all the emphasis on hytte visits, while pastors around the country have stressed that many churches are open at least for visits and conversations with clergy for those seeking some company or consolation.