Just a week after the Danish Seamen’s Church in Singapore welcomed its first female priest, its Norwegian counterpart did the same.
Reverend Eva Marie Jansvik was inaugurated into the Norwegian Seamen’s Church on February 20, replacing the outgoing Reverend Jan Tommy Fosse, 37, who has been promoted to the church’s director of overseas operations for Asia, Australia and Africa, for which he will be based in Bergen.
Reverend Jansvik’s husband will stay in Singapore as well and will act as the church’s general manager, overseasing administrative work. The couple have a three-year-old daughter and are expecting a second child in May.
Reverend Jansvik, 27, never thought she would become a priest, and had initially thought of being a nurse or a physiotherapist.
However, at the tender age of 18, she felt God was leading her towards becoming a priest and she decided to heed the call.
Reverend Jansvik, who was ordained in May last year, decided to apply for the Singapore posting because she felt it would be easiest to assimilate here.
“This is a fascinating city. I get to experience Asia, it’s exciting yet a safe destination to come with family. Also, people speak English here and I don’t have to learn a different language. With a community here as well, it’s easy for us Norwegians to settle here,” she said, adding that she will be committing at least three years to this posting.
The Norwegian community in Singapore is about 1,500 strong, with several hundreds more if you include the undergraduates studying at the various varsities here.
Reverend Fosse, who flew to Singapore to attend his successor’s inauguration, said he and his family had a “wonderful time in Singapore”. “We really miss it here,” he said.
When asked if he had any advice for Reverend Jansvik, Reverend Fosse quipped: “Be yourself, use your skills and gifts. And take care of yourself, create people around you to lean on for support.”
Of her plans for the coming years, Reverend Jansvik said: “I hope to continue to be part of making this the place where people feel welcome and where they can get to know God.”