By Joe Pruett
Stavanger, Norway’s fourth largest city, is older than the United States. Her history dates back to 1125 when Bishop Reinald, a Roman Catholic, began the building of St. Svithun’s Cathedral. Around this Cathedral, which still stands in the center of the city and is used more now than ever, she has gradually gathered some 53,000 inhabitants. Through this long period of growth and development, deep-seated customs and traditions have placed Stavanger life, both religious and secular, in an outstanding position among Norwegian cities. Her location on Norway’s west coast places her among the nearest ports to England and America both by sea and air. To Norway itself, she is the dividing line between west and south Norway, thus giving travel access to the major part of the country. Her history, old physical appearance, customs, etc. make her a very interesting city in which to live and work.
Early in December of 1960 brother and sister Bill Pierce and my family and I began making plans to move from Bergen to Stavanger to establish the Lord’s church. We planned to move immediately and began to work toward that end. However, because of difficulties in finding living quarters we were forced to postpone our move. Late in April the Pierces returned to the states for a visit and to speak in behalf of our planned work in Stavanger. During their absence my family and I located an apartment for the summer months-and on May 31 we moved from Bergen. The Pierces returned to Stavanger in early August and in a few weeks found an apartment for-one year (as we had done for ourselves earlier in the summer). Now that the problem of moving is solved, we are concentrating on the completion of arrangements for the beginning of public meetings.
The Lord willing, we will begin public meetings about October 1. We are planning a special series of meetings for the first week in an effort to acquaint the people with our purpose for coming to Stavanger. This series of meetings will be conducted in our own meeting room.
During the month of August we were able to rent a meeting place for the church. It is located on Oscarsgate, a quiet street approximately 8 blocks from the downtown area and one, two, and three blocks from three bus lines. With the exception of one small room, we have the entire second floor of the building. This space consists of two large rooms, which are divided by a hall and two small rooms. We also have one small room on the third floor. With these roams come at least 60 chairs and possibly more. The entrance is semi-private. It is shared with a family who live on the fourth floor and who have a small practice theater on the third floor. We have agreed to rent this space for five years with the understanding that we are to be given a six months notice if the owner should desire that we move and that we are to give as much notice if we should decide to move. The rent is very reasonable, 325 kroner (approximately $45.00) per month. We are trying now to get one of the larger rooms cleaned, curtains made and hung, a pulpit built, and many other things in order before October 1.
We feel that we are very fortunate in obtaining this meeting place. It is large enough to fulfill our needs for a long time. We pray that our Heavenly Father will help us to use it to his glory in every way possible. We covet your prayers as we begin this work that it may be successful and that many souls may be brought to the Christ the Savior of man.
A few days ago a friend wrote me asking about the best form of money to send to this country if some of the families in the church where he preaches wanted to help us. We are glad to answer this question for him and for others who may be wondering. The best form of money to send to this country is a personal check. Other forms are either expensive to both sender and receiver or Norwegian banks will not accept them. The only check we have had difficulty with was one returned marked “insufficient funds.” The banks handle personal checks for us each month without any question. If any of you want to send us money to help in the work here, just write a personal check, put in a air-mail envelope, put a 15c air-mail stamp on it and send it to brother Pierce or myself at Oscar Wistingsgt 61c.
Truth Magazine VI: 2, pp. 15-16