Artwork at St. Peders
Artwork at St. Peders
On the outside front doors:
The sculpture “Evangelical,” by sculptor Nick Legeros was installed in 1992. The birds represent our spirits leaving the church to go out and teach the word of God. It was given in memory of Thomas Juhl.
In the entryway:
The sculpture “Christ and St. Peter,” commissioned for the congregation’s 100th anniversary, was created by sculptor Nick Legeros. It represents Peter’s doubt and fear during the storm and his plea to Christ for help. “It is easy to relate our own personal difficulties to Peter’s,” writes Legeros. “We see ourselves sinking with him into waves of guilt, fear or sin, only to cry out to the only One who can possibly save us.”
The stained glass window adjacent to the door, installed in 1974, was designed by artist Arensa Aaberg Thomsen in memory of her father, Pastor J. C. Aaberg, who served St. Peder’s from 1926-1946. The design was inspired by the Danish hymn, “Our Father Has A Light in His Window.”
In the sanctuary:
The sculpture is a replica of “Christus” by the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. It has had an honored place in each of St. Peder’s three churches. The original is in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The stained-glass windows, dedicated in December 1979, are by artist Richard Van Heule (Van Heule Studios, Frederic, Wisconsin). The theme of the windows is the glory of God as revealed throughout the world of nature. Laced through the windows are symbols suggesting creation, travel through life and life after death with God. In the first window at the back of the church are the words Gloria Dei (glory to God). Succeeding windows include symbols of the universe (the sun, moon and stars, suggesting the presence of the Holy Spirit) and the natural world (the seed and the seasons, suggesting the miracle and cycle of earthly life), the nativity star, the seashell, cross and water (as symbols of the living water and baptism of Christ and beginning of another life), the flame (meaning inspiration and youthful fervor), musical instruments, the quill and scroll representing poetry and the Danish flag representing the people of the early church. Closer to the altar are sacramental symbols: the candle (the light of the world), the cross and alpha-omega with crown (Christ as the beginning and end of all things), the pointed cross and red cross (death and sacrifice), the butterfly (life after death) and the cross and orb (Christ’s triumph over the world).
Pulpit, baptismal font, chancel chairs and other woodwork:
The pulpit was designed and built for the second church by Jes Schmidt, a Danish farmer and woodcarver from Luck, Wisconsin. The hand-carved images of the apostles embellishing the pulpit typify his work, which was much in demand by Danish churches of the Upper Midwest.
The pulpit and font were moved to the present location, along with two of the three carved chairs in the chancel and portions of the present communion rail and altar, all of which he also carved. The third chair in the chancel was carved to match the first two by Schmidt’s grandson, Ed Petersen, in 1996. The advent wreath/flower stand, by Pohlmann Design and crafted by long-time member Laurie Austin, was added in 1987.
The ship hanging in the nave, a gift from Lis and Iver Jorgensen, is a traditional symbol of the church in seafaring nations: “Bless those in peril on the sea.” There is written evidence of such ships in both Danish and Swedish churches as far back as the Reformation. More than 1300 churches in Denmark today still have such ships, the earliest dating from 1710. The symbolism of the ship depends on who’s telling the story. Scandinavians were often seafarers or fisherman, and the ship was a gift of thanksgiving after a particularly long or difficult journey or a prayer of blessing for a safe journey. The ship is also said to represent the church that carries us over life’s calm and stormy waters, or a symbol of life as a journey.
In the lounge:
The tapestry mural depicts the history of St. Peder’s in three panels. Panel 1 represents early immigration from Denmark, including a Viking ship, buildings, costumes and fishing vessels indicating life in Denmark, the rural life in America early immigrants found and the first St. Peder’s church, which burned to the ground in 1920. Panel 2 depicts the establishment of the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Grand View College (the focal point for the Danish Lutheran Church in America) and the second St. Peder’s church. Panel 3 depicts the current St. Peder’s as a community church in the heterogeneous urban environment of Minneapolis. The mural was designed by fiber artist Marjorie Pohlmann (who also designed many of the church paraments) for the church’s 90th anniversary in 1974 and lovingly embroidered by 19 women members.
In the courtyard:
The sculpture “Sovereign Son,” by Nick Legeros, was commissioned by the congregation and installed in the courtyard in 2000. The birds represent the presence of our community as they uplift our children toward the heavenly Father.