It’s not easy starting a church up from scratch. There’s the administrative process, rooms to be
found, furniture to be installed, raising funds, creating logos, building a website and setting up
social media. People need to know you exist.
Christa Lund Herum is currently experiencing all this first hand. Since November last year she has
been the only, and also the very first, Danish pastor in Thailand.
“Before I came here there was no Danish Church in Thailand. We had to build everything from
scratch with help from the local network of Danes, such as the Church Council, who made an
enormous effort to get me here and help me get settled,” she says.
Finding their place in society
So by now the church is more or less settled, but there’s no church without visitors. Therefore a
lot of work has to be put into making the Danes aware of the presence of the church. At the same
time it is important to detect what there’s a need for – what Danes in Thailand actually wants
from a church.
As of now an intern, who arrived mid-March from Denmark, is planning on hosting a bi-weekly
youth café for Danish backpackers in Bangkok and also Christa is planning on slowly starting up
confirmation preparation classes.
“Many of the Danish kids who live here may not have much of an understanding of their cultural
background in Denmark, and that could be a role to fill for the church. We could host afternoons
where we introduce kids to the Danish culture, language and food, something the church
undeniably has been a big part of,” Christa says.
Christa does not expect the Danes to attend her church out here more than they attended the
church when living in Denmark.
“As I see it, it isn’t in the spirit of Danes to go to church every Sunday. For them, the relationship
with God is private and is something you might as well find in the forest or the beach,” she says.
However, on the special occasions, such as Easter, Christmas, confirmations etc. the Danes do
come to the church in larger numbers, proving that under the surface there is still a strong bond
between the Danes and their church.
The ups and downs of a pastor’s life
Being a pastor is not just about holding Christ services. An important part of the job is to be by
people’s side during the hard times in their life.
“When someone is very ill or has passed away, the embassy will ask if the family would like a
pastor to pay them a visit. Many say “Yes, please!” Christa Lund Herum says.
When asked whether the job is hard, she says it is balanced out with the joy of being a part of the
most important moments of a person’s life:
“I performed my first beach blessing recently and I have also been visiting a Dane in a prison here.
I can visit when someone is scared or sad or during some of the greatest moments in their lives.”
“There are many things I wish I could do for those in need, but I’m not the embassy and I can’t
help with legal matters. But I can be by their side and listen to them for a moment, and that brings
great comfort to some. I’ve recently met with a very ill man. He told me that he hadn’t spoken a
word Danish for several months. That little thing meant a whole lot to him,” she says.
From Egypt to Thailand
Christa graduated in 2003, but didn’t become a Pastor until she moved to Bangladesh in 2015.
Prior to that she had worked for Dan Mission in Egypt, but it was not until she moved to
Bangladesh with her husband and their two children that she began working as a volunteer pastor.
Meanwhile the Danish Church Council was looking for the first Danish pastor in Bangkok. When
that opportunity came up, Christa took it. Her family still lives in Cambodia, the country they
moved to prior to Christa moving to Bangkok.
She is officially employed by DSUK – Danske Sømands- og Udlandskirker – a fusion between
Danish Seamen’s Churches and Danish Churches Abroad. The Danish Church in Thailand is hosted by the international organization Church of Christ in Thailand, an umbrella organization for
protestant churches from all around the globe.
This is where she is currently setting up a small office by the entrance, the office you may from
now on meet the first Danish pastor in Thailand when she is not out and about meeting people in
Pastor Christa Lund Herum was officially installed on Sunday the 18 th of March. The church is located at The Church of Christ Thailand (CCT) between BTS stations Siam and Ratchathewi.