The new Norwegian priest in Pattaya, Ragnvald Seierstad, has been flown in directly from the airport in Oslo in more than one sense. For the last 15 years he worked as airport priest in Oslo, but now he is ready to take over the job to serve the Norwegian community in Pattaya in Thailand.
“I am very excited about this job. It is a huge responsibility to lead a big church like this and it has a lot of activities going on. And of course also we as a community should get along with each other very well,” Ragnvald Seierstad told ScandAsia on his second day at work in the new surroundings in Pattaya.
After 15 years of working solo in the airport in Oslo, the big team behind the Seamen’s Church in Pattaya is one of the things that he is looking forward to work with, he said.
In the airport in Norway he served the 15,000 employees and if some of the 22 million travelers, would need to talk to a priest. That part of the priest’s tasks will he be bringing with him in his daily work in Pattaya.
“The church is a place for people to come and meet. We are the human contact, and that is an important responsibility and part of the Christian faith. We are here to make life better for the Norwegians who live here,” he said and added, that the priest’s job also covers the Norwegians who might be hospitalized, jailed or need help to live their life in another way.
Ragnvald Seierstad already knows a little about the Church in Pattaya, from a summer vacancy a couple of years ago. He has also traveled in Thailand as a tourist, and finds the country very exotic. The new Norwegian priest is 61 years old and has previously worked in the Seamen’s Churches in Miami and Copenhagen in a total of eight years.
His wife and grown-up children decided to stay in Norway, but with his wife he made a commute arrangement so that they will both visit each other twice a year.
On Wednesday January 8 Ragnvald Seierstad was introduced to the community he is going to serve, when the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Pattaya hosted an evening get-together.
Fore more information about the Norwegian Seamen’s Church’s activities, please follow this link.
Photo credit: Boarding.no