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Norwegian primate appointed: The Church of England Newspaper, April 8, 2011 p 8. April 9, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Norway.
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Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Borg, the Rt. Rev. Helga Haugland Byfuglien, has been appointed by the Minister for Church Affairs to be the Church of Norway’s presiding bishop.  Bishop Byfuglien becomes the first permanent primate of the Church of Norway and also its first female leader.

Since the Reformation, the presiding bishop of the Church of Norway has been a one year post that passed among the church’s 11 bishops.  However, the office of primate and presiding bishop without territorial jurisdiction was created last year “to strengthen the president function” of the office.

The membership of the Bishops’ Conference of the Church of Norway will now rise to 12 members, and the new primate will be officially based in the National Offices in Oslo but with a seat in the ancient cathedral of Nidaros (Trondheim).

Born in 1950, Bishop Byfuglien has led the Diocese of Borg since 2005 and is vice president of the Lutheran World Federation.  Before her consecration she also served as General Secretary of the Norwegian YWCA-YMCA from 2001 – 2005.  Bishop Byfuglien was the only candidate for the post, and was nominated by the church’s bishops for the position.

Considered a progressive among Norwegian church circles, the new presiding bishop has sought to open the church’s doors to non-traditional forms of spirituality and healing.  “The Church needs to be open for the multitude of people who have some kind of New Age background,” Bishop Byfuglien said, according to a March 28 report in the Norwegian Christian Daily, Dagen Magazinet.

“The Established Church must listen and be open for this kind of experience. We must give space for other forms of worship, like silence and meditation.” the presiding bishop said.

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