Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja attended a student worship service in the chapel of Augsburg College today, followed by a reception hosted by the Governor of Minnesota. The evening concludes with a Grand Dinner in Minneapolis.
Pastor Anne Løyning of the Norwegian Seamens Church presided over the worship service in Augsburg Chapel today. The Augsburg Student Choir performed during the service, with Therese Borkenhagen, a student from Norway, as soloist. Other Norwegian students gave the Biblical readings and led the congregation in prayer.
The worship service was followed by a fellowship hour with coffee, Scandinavian sweets and other traditional foods.
Reception at the Governors Mansion
In the afternoon, the King and Queen were the guests of honour at a reception held at the Governors Mansion. Benson K. Whitney, the former US Ambassador to Norway, was among the some 150 guests, which included representatives of the local government, business sector and cultural sphere.
In the evening, King Harald and Queen Sonja attended a Grand Dinner given in their honour and hosted by Norways Ambassador to the United States, Mr Wegger Christian Strømmen, and his wife, Rev Dr Cecilie Strømmen.
In his remarks during dinner, King Harald spoke of the success achieved by the Norwegian immigrants and their descendants, and of their tremendous efforts to maintain their ties to Norway. The King also expressed his gratitude to a special guest – former Vice President of the United States Walter Mondale – for his particular endeavours in this regard:
Present here tonight are many people and organisations that continue to strengthen the bonds with the past and keep our common traditions and cultural heritage alive. I am deeply impressed by the achievements of the Norwegian immigrants and their descendants.
I am particularly grateful to you, Vice President Mondale, for all that you have done to maintain the bonds between our countries, both as a devoted politician and as Norwegian Consul General here in Minneapolis. We appreciate the pride you take in your Norwegian ancestry and all that you have accomplished over the years.
The King and Queen opened the new MUNCH
"I think that I speak for all of us when I say that we have been looking forward to this day! It is finally possible for us to gather together, and soon the great doors will open up a new attraction – not just for our capital city, but for Norway, and for the world," said His Majesty The King.
Congratulations from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Alar Karis, President of the Republic of Estonia.