Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What is a Stavkirke?

Although we “did” most of the Rapid City area two years ago, one thing we missed was the Stavkirke. So on Monday we drove the Suzuki 25 miles to the Stavkirke in Rapid City. Then we drove 25 miles back home in time for a planned phone call from our Financial Wizard.

The Stavkirke, officially called the Chapel in the Hills, is an exact replica of the Borgund Stavkirke located near Lærdal, Norway (about 100 miles from Oslo, for those of us unfamiliar with rural Norway).

Here in Rapid City, it is a Lutheran chapel, a church without a congregation, operated solely on the basis of donations from visitors and friends.

The wood carvings on the roof line depict dragons, remnants of pagan days, but they are outnumbered by the carved crosses on the roof. We were told there are about 60,000 of the shaped wooden tiles on the roof and sides of the structure.

This is a replica of an 850 year-old Norwegian Stave Church, built in 1969 by volunteers, on land donated by one individual.

Behind the chapel runs a path lined with statuary.

We're not sure who Suzy's friend is, but if he's a saint, we'll thankful for him!

Nearby is a “Stabbur” with a sod roof. It was actually built in Norway and imported to be a reception center and gift shop. The Stabbur would be a family dwelling, with food and other goods stored in the lower level, with the family living above. The sod roof served as insulation from summer heat and winter cold.
There is also a log cabin built by a Norwegian miner before 1900. When its owner, who had become prosperous, died, the cabin was bought at auction and moved to the Stavkirke grounds as a museum, displaying typical Scandinavian furniture and household furnishings.

We had to get pictures of Ole and Lena outside their home.

While the Stavkirke was not as conducive to a feeling of peace as the three chapels in Arkansas we recently reported on, it did add to our understanding of the faith development in this wonderful land of ours.

While we were at the Stavkirke grounds, we met a young lady (late pre-teen, early teenager?) who was in town to compete in the Unicycle competition. She and her mother and grandmother described in some detail the types of competitive events she would participate in, as well as some of the more advanced events. When we told them we were full-time RVers, the young lady nearly swooned, saying that was her dream, to get in a motorhome and just travel around. Her mother reminded her that she had just a few years to get her driver license before making that large a step.

Back at the motorhome, the 4:00 call from our Financial Wizard was very positive. Under her guidance, our investments are earning more than we are taking out for our retirement! How great is that? It means we will be able to keep on living, and sharing with you … Our Life on Wheels.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jerry & Suzy,

    Looks like you are really busy seeing our beautiful South Dakota (and Wyoming) sights. We hope you can make it to Custer while you are here. We would love to have you see our "beautiful" summer home in the hills.

    Hugs.......Pat and Mike


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