The Church Sanctuary
Our sanctuary is an airy and light-filled room during the day and in the evening the two stained glass windows are beautifully reflected over the Christ statue and towards the front of the altar area and over the side pews respectively. The sanctuary décor is a harmonious combination of traditional and contemporary Christian religious art and Danish church traditions.
The Danish Church has been given two very unique, handmade altar cloths. One was made in commemoration of Her Majesty Queen Louise’s marriage to His Majesty Christian IX on May 26, 1842 and donated by their great grandson Christian Castenskiold and his wife Cecily.
The second altar cloth was donated by Mary Lou Chaney whose mother made the piece in Paris in the 1930s with the Danish congregation there in mind but never materialized. After many decades the altar cloth has found its home in a Danish congregation outside Denmark.
A Brief History
The Danish Lutheran Church was established in 1906. The first two churches were in Los Angeles. From 1936-1986 the congregation worshipped in the beautiful church on 3rd Ave and 43rd Street. To better serve the widely dispersed congregation the church decided to relocate in the late 1980's. After an impressive, dedicated effort, the Danish Lutheran Church was successfully relocated to Yorba Linda, Orange County. The new church was inaugurated in March 1995. It proved to be a very wise decision indeed to settle in Orange County as the congregation increased and now has over 750 members.
The Church Ships
According to Danish tradition, a sailor would carve a replica of his ship or boat as a way to give thanks for his safe return following a difficult voyage. In our sanctuary we have two ship replicas.
The first is a scale model (56 inches/140 cm) of the Danish battleship Fregatten Jyllan suspended above the nave in the sanctuary. It was a gift from Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Hansen, who commissioned it in Denmark in 1966.
The second ship rests on the platform beneath the tower cross in the choir area. This ship was discovered in a Hollywood pawn shop in 1962 by Winstrup Oleson who purchased it with support from his wife Helen and fellow Danes Svend Wickman, Anna Agergaard, Kai Drengler, Ruth Veigel and Ruth Fischer. The pawnbroker told the group that the ship had come from the Danish Church in Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas. With the sale of the Virgin Islands to the United States in 1918 the church closed and the Danish pastor took along the ship with the Danish flag “Dannebrog” flying from its mast. It is our hope that, some day, we will be able to fill in the gap of the story.
Stained Glass Windows
The sanctuary features two distinct stained glass windows with modern, fluid lines and semi-abstract form designed by artist Mitsuki Kondo. The windows were a gift from Gudrun and Jens Edvardsen. The window above the altar depicts the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descending into tongues of yellow and orange hued flames on a field of green. The window in the side ship shows the angel Gabriel surrounded by clouds and blue skies.
The two silver candelabras were designed and made by Danish silversmith Philip Paval and donated by Svend Olsen in 1937.
Christ Statues on altar and in narthex
The Christ statues in our church are replicas of the world famous, larger than life sized Bertel Thorvaldsen statue in Vor Frue Kirke, Copenhagen. The altar version is 4 ft. tall, of marble from the Carrera quarry, Italy that also supplied the marble for the original.
The smaller Christ statue is a handmade, matte glazed porcelain reproduction by the Spanish Lladro company. It rests in the entry to the church welcoming worshippers and guests as they enter.
Baptismal Basin, font, and pitcher
The silver baptismal basin was a gift to the church from Danish silversmith Philip Paval and the silver plate pitcher was donated by The Friendship Circle in 1967.
The moveable, wooden baptismal font was designed by Danish architect Miss Edith Northmann in 1937 for the church then located at 3rd Ave and 42nd St in Los Angeles. It was built by Niels Peter Nielsen.
Communion Rail, Hymnal Boards and Altar
Made by Niels Peter Nielsen for the church at its 3rd Ave. and 42nd St. location in the late 1930s.
The wood pulpit was made in the United States in the 1930s destined for a church in Denmark but was never shipped. It was purchased for the 3rd Ave. and 42nd St. church prior to its inauguration in 1937. The wood statues were carved by Fred Clark in 1938-39.
A two hundred pound brass bell hangs above the choir loft and tolls at the beginning of each service. The bell is a replica of the ship bell on the Danish battleship “Fregatten Jylland”. It was cast at Slagelse Metal and Stålstøberi in 2001 as were the plaques listing the pastors and council presidents who served up to that time. All were donated by Karl and Ruth Olsen.
The Pastor’s robe and chasubles
Our pastor proudly wears the traditional Danish pastor’s gown and a piped, starched ruff for the entire service. The pastor typically adds a chasuble for Communion. The Danish tradition with the black gown and the white ruff dates to the 17th century and was originally the formal wear of academically trained men.
To enhance our services and emphasize each liturgical season our pastor wears chasubles following the sermon until the end of the service. The chasubles were made specifically for our church by artist Vibeke Alnor Fong, a member of the congregation.
The five chasubles correspond with the colors used in the liturgical seasons (white, green, purple, blue and red). Each chasuble incorporates a variation of the cross. Except for the purple/violet chasuble all colors used in the chasubles closely mirror those present in our sanctuary’s stained glass windows or other interior.