First “Godhouse” Dedicated To Old Norse Gods Unearthed In Norway

In the village of Ose, Norway, archaeologists from the University Museum of Bergen recently uncovered the remains of an eighth-century “godhouse.” In its day, this structure was dedicated to the worship of the old Norse gods and housed ceremonies such as midsummer or midwinter solstice. This is a particularly special discovery as it is the “first temple of its kind identified in Norway,” according to Smithsonian Magazine. Through digital reconstruction, researchers were able to determine that it resembles similar temples found in southern Sweden and Denmark.

In recent excavations, archaeologists have unearthed animal bones and cooking pits; their theory is that the worshippers prepared the food in offering to Thor, Odin, and other Norse gods. These religious displays also doubled as feasts where “you would have a good mood, a lot of eating and a lot of drinking, “ archaeologist Søren Diinhoff explains. Researchers are still unclear as to what caused the demise of the godhouse, but they hope to uncover the truth as they continue their efforts.

Norwegian Language Classes

By Roger Reinhart

There are many Norwegians and other Scandinavians in our area who want to maintain connections with our cultural heritage and/or travel to Norway. One very important part of contact with our culture is the language. Back in 1996, I joined Kringen Lodge because I wanted to learn more Norwegian. My teacher was Leola Olson. Other teachers at the time were Gladys Hendrickson, Grace Onan, and Florence Anderson.

In the past twenty years, others have stepped forward to lead our language classes and have been doing a magnificent job of keeping the learning of Norwegian alive here in our lodge and have provided a great service to our cultural department.

Our current teachers are Verlyn Anderson, Evonne Anderson, Trygve Olson, Stevie Mathre, Karen Kooren, Sue Rusch, and Roger Reinhart. There is also “Lesering” (Reading), a group that meets to read Norwegian stories and articles. There are groups at all levels. We owe a great debt of gratitude to these teachers. They provide much time and effort to keep us learning and enjoying Norwegian. We have roughly between 55 and 65 students attending Norwegian classes each Monday during October & November and March & April. So our gratitude is also for encouraging new membership in our lodge. One of the greatest areas of interest (maybe the greatest) for new members is to study Norwegian. So – Thank you, Teachers!!

Last March our Norwegian Classes were discontinued in the shadow of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Again this fall we were unable to meet safely. Now the vaccinations have been started and we are thankful that we have progressed to this point. But it looks like this March and April will still be unsafe for getting our classes together. So, it is with disappointment that we, your language teachers, will not be able again to begin our classes this spring.

Wow! We are really ready to schedule our classes again. Next fall, October and November, will probably be the time for our restart. (Watch this site for announcements.) The classes have been a very important part of Kringen Lodge here in the Fargo/Moorhead area. And they will be again soon.

If you want to visit about beginning Norwegian, contact Roger at 701 371-0425.

The Election Is Over. The Results Are In.

By Kyle Handegard, Klub President

Kringen Klub board met January 11th with their first order of business to elect officers: President – Kyle Handegard, Vice-President – John Jorgensen, Secretary – Chris Carlson and Treasurer – Bill Martinson. Welcome to our new trustee, Lynne Rommesmo, who also joins directors Brenda Wassberg and Paul Vesledahl on the board.

Outgoing Klub President Doug Benson, along with his wife, Phyllis, did a commendable job leading us through the kitchen remodel, pandemic and securing support from grants. Thank you, Doug, for your leadership!

The roof project is complete and we are considering future projects for 2021. Capacity in the dining room is open for more patrons and the Troll lounge has opened for guests at a limited capacity. Check your Posten calendar for upcoming events and social nights. The weather is very cooperative making it easier for us to get around.

Come support Kringen Klub!


By John Andreasen, Lodge President

"Leif Eriksson Discovers America" painting

“Leif Eriksson Discovers America”
by Christian Krohg, 1893 “Landkjenning” – to discover the shoreline

This Norwegian painting shows Leif Eriksson, with one hand steering his sturdy Viking ship, pointing ahead to the distant shoreline – the North American continent. He is looking ahead with confidence to an unknown future.

This is a reminder of where we are this month with the Sons of Norway. We are together in a ship on a turbulent sea, with our eyes focused on the future. We will be finished with the Covid journey and soon put our feet on solid ground. Once we make landfall, I hope to build on three foundational pillars for our work together.

First, as we come out of our self-imposed isolation, we can enjoy the warmth of meeting face-to-face. Renewing acquaintances and building new relationships has been the Norwegian experience in America for almost 200 years. We share our identity, we learn about our heritage, and we develop our culture.

Second, as members of Sons of Norway, we are a caring community, protecting our-selves from loss through insurance coverage, and helping others through educational and humanitarian programs. With professional guidance, we invest for retirement and pass our values on to the next generation.

Third, along with the crew on the Viking ship, we each have an important role to play in building our community. We will work together to strengthen our Kringen Lodge and Club. We have officers, trustees, employees, volunteers and over 1100 members. Together we face exciting opportunities and heart-warming experiences.

A landing is in sight – “landkjenning!” Pray for the wind to fill the sails and the strength to pull the oars.

Kringen Club President Benson Honored

Doug Benson, outgoing Kringen Klub President, and his wife Phyllis were honored for their service to Kringen at the January 12th Tuesday Social with an evening meal in the Kringen Dining Room.

Club Secretary, Chris Carlson, read and presented a Proclamation regarding Outstanding Service to Kringen Klub and newly elected Klub President Kyle Handgard presented the King Harald V. Norges Konge Medallion for Outstanding Service to both Doug and Phyllis for their dedicated service to Kringen Klub during the past three years.

The Dark Winter in Norway

by Verlyn D. Anderson

Norway is located farther north than most Americans realize. About 1/3 of the country is located north of the Arctic Circle. I have had the experience of living in Norway during two winters – in 1983 and 1997 I spent a couple of winter months of my Concordia sabbaticals as a Visiting Professor at the Hamar College. Hamar is located a couple of hours north of Oslo. Then in 1999, after I retired, Evonne and I lived in Lillehammer during the winter. I was the director of a “Semester Abroad” program that headquartered in Lillehammer. When we arrived, the January days were very short – the sun did not rise until after 9:00 a.m. and set again before 4:00 p.m. Those were short winter days for a person from Minnesota, but that is what happened each year so for the local citizens, it was just a normal winter.

The local citizens have adjusted well to these short winter days. Many of the ski trails are lighted so they often go skiing in the evenings on these well-lit winter trails. Sleigh rides with a single horse pulling the sleigh is very popular. Norway has another unique winter “sleigh” that we do not have in the U.S. That is the “Spark” which is popular all over Norway. Most Americans are not acquainted with the “Spark.” There is a seat on the Spark so you can give a child a ride and when you come to a hill you can hop on the runners and ride down a hill. A little snow is left on the sidewalks so that the sparks can be used on them. Here is a photo of a Spark.. It is very popular in Norway, but because of our flat lands, it has not immigrated to America and has not become popular in our country.

Norwegian ‘spark’ kicksled

An interesting custom which is also very popular in Norway, and another one that has not “immigrated” to America is the tradition of putting lighted candles in containers on the graves of recently died family members on Christmas Eve. Then when the people go to church on Christmas Day, they pick up the containers and take them home. It is a very respectful tradition that is practiced all over Norway.

Playing cards and having card playing parties is also very popular in Norway. I remember that card parties were also very popular when I was growing up in rural Minnesota where nearly all of our neighbors were descendants of people who had immigrated from Norway during the 19th Century. These card parties brought lots of joy to rural neighborhoods. The children accompanied their parents to these card parties and we children also had lots of fun while our parents played cards.

Winters are long in Norway, but the people have many activities that help brighten the long winter nights.

God Jul og Godt Nytt År!

By Doug Benson, Klub President

It has been my privilege these past two years to serve as your Kringen Club President, to the 1,100+ members of Kringen lodge. Many positive changes were made at SON and I would like to thank you for your support. We have a vibrant Club/Lodge that continues to provide cultural opportunities, traditional foods and entertainment to our members.

2020 brought a complete Kitchen remodel with all new equipment that was started in February and completed in April which included: new plumbing, floor tile, a new walk-in cooler and all new kitchen equipment, a new ventilation system and fire suppression system, electrical upgrades and improvements in the utility room, new lighting and ceiling tile upgrades in the dining area and ballroom and renovation of the second-floor storage area above the Troll Lounge. Upgrading and painting of the lodge and club offices, ballroom and library were completed. A major upgrade in the ballroom which includes a storage room, new lights and ceiling tiles.

The Rental property, which has been used by Unseen Ministries for the past seven years was refreshed with winterization projects, new ceiling tiles, wall painting and the parking lot striping and is ready for new tenants.

The long-awaited replacement of the entire roof at Kringen Club, by MJ Dalsin, will be completed before January 31, 2021. Thanks for your patience and all who have gifted $37,000 the past few years toward this $97,000 project!

As your club president, I have worked to secure available Federal and North Dakota grants/loans during the past eight months to help us meet our financial obligations. In total, more than $60,000 has been applied for with the last grant still pending. Even though we pride ourselves at being COVID-19 compliant and keeping Members safe, during the last month we have had members who are Covid19 Positive. Stay smart, safe and stay home if you are ill to help stop Covid!

Thank You to our Outstanding Staff: Allison Kenninger, our Club Manager; Asst. Manager and bookkeeper, Laurie Knutson; Head Cook, Denise Dorval and all of our other staff. Even with the COVID-19 Pandemic, our many Volunteers have kept Kringen Klub/Lodge safely going this year. A big Thank You to all of our Kringen volunteers!

Also, Tusen Takk, to all of you who made financial donations to the Club during this past year. You will again be asked to step up to assure that Kringen Lodge/Club stays active and vibrant in the future!

The Juven team has held four Lutefisk and Meatball events under strict COVID 19 guidelines this past fall with additional dinners planned the third Sunday in January through April.

Even though plans to celebrate the 45th Year Celebration of our current Kringen Club and the 125th Anniversary of SON International did not happen due to the pandemic, there will soon be plans to celebrate in 2021.

What does 2021 hold in store for Kringen? With our new kitchen and our new Roof and a multitude of other improvements, a focus will be on new Signage on the Kringen building in the spring. Our most important task is to keep you safe and to grow our profits. We will be asking for your support to make our Klub/Lodge dreams come true. We have much to be thankful for here at Sons of Norway Kringen in 2020 and much to look forward to in 2021.

May God bless You with Peace and Love in 2021! Godt Nytt År!

“Bakover” and “Fremover”

by John Andreasen, Lodge President-Elect

These two Norwegian words, “bakover” and “fremover” describe the view from the threshold of the New Year: looking back and looking ahead.

The year 2020 will be remembered for shuttering the windows of our activities and social life in the Kringen Lodge. In spite of Covid-19 we paged through the Viking, discovered Zoom technology and celebrated the 125th Anniversary of Sons of Norway. The highlight of our “Fill the Stabbur” campaign to raise $1,250 surpassed all expectations with over $5,600 directed to the Sons of Norway Foundation with gifts still coming in. Thanks to all who donated to this fund. The food drive is extended to April 1.

Looking ahead we have a change in officers for 2021, elected at our December meeting. Many thanks to Mark Voxland as Lodge President and Doug Benson as Klub President during this past year. They have given energetic, hands-on leadership during challenging times. With optimism for a return to what we knew as normal, we will begin planning cultural programs and activities. We look to rebuild our membership, increase our financial planning emphasis, utilize our library, and begin organizing for the District IV Convention in 2022.

For greater awareness of our many benefits, check our Kringen website:; District website:; International website:

Looking “fremover” to a great year!