Stein Vangen, the Norwegian pastor at the Norwegian Seamen’s Mission in Singapore since October 2002, will this autumn start in a full time job visiting the Norwegian communities in South East Asia.
Stein Vangen’s immediate territory will include Malaysia, Brunei, East Timor, the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan. Possibly also Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, which have previously been “covered” by the Norwegian pastor in Bangkok. In these countries he will be visiting the Norwegians on a more regular schedule than has previously been possible. Eventually, his services will likely also be extended to include India and Sri Lanka.
“A new pastor to take over my current duties at the Church here in Singapore will be appointed as soon as possible – probably by August or September this year,” Stein Vangen says.
When Mr. Vangen took up his post in Singapore in October 2002, maintaining some travelling service in Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia was part of his job. But his job at the Church in Singapore did not leave him much time for these visits..
“When Secretary General Kjell Bert Nyland of the Norwegian Seamen’s Mission visited Singapore during the “Norway in Asia” conference in March, I made this point clear to him,” says Stein Vangen.
The Norwegian Church has because of economic restraints not maintained its mobile pastoral services since Oystein Halling left this special position by the end of 2000. Instead, regional responsibilities were passed on to the Church in Singapore.
”The new setup improves greatly our capabilities of visiting and assisting Norwegian companies and individuals in the region than what has been possible during the past three years. This service is an open offer – it is up to the Norwegians in each destination to make use of the option,” Stein Vangen says.
“Until I am fully relieved from my duties here in Singapore I will maintain my current level of travelling. The staff here fully accepts that during these periods away from the Church they will have to take some extra responsibilities.”
The mobile pastoral service of the Norwegian Church abroad was first tested in Africa in 1995. The year after, the service was extended to South East Asia. The travelling pastors are in charge of serving the resident Norwegian businessmen with regular sermons, baptising Norwegian children, confirmation of Norwegian teenagers and performing of marriages of Norwegian couples living in or visiting these countries.
The assigned pastor will also constantly stand by in case of major disasters or accidents. The terror bomb in Bali is an example of how such a need may completely unexpectedly arise.
Click here to read a presentation of Stein Vangen in Norwegian: