Cathedral of Hope – a sacred space of waste

Cathedral of Hope – a sacred space of waste

– The cathedral carries with it the story that when people work together, we can transform evil into good. Then we can turn despair into hope.

Kindergartens, school classes, women's groups and volunteers, especially those who often end up a little outside of society, contributed to the cathedral's construction work.  Photo: Cathedral of Hope

Kindergartens, school classes, women's groups and volunteers, especially those who often end up a little outside of society, contributed to the cathedral's construction work. Photo: Cathedral of Hope

Without exception, you undress, enter the cathedral, and then “Ah,” Heggie Elisabeth Fagermoen sighs visibly.

She is the chair of the board of Hope Cathedral, and she tries to put into words the feeling you get when you enter the symbolic building that the cathedral has become.

Håpet Cathedral was built and is located in Fredrikstad. You may have seen the building with the colorful roof that almost rises above the sea level. The cathedral was built on a barge, and was constructed according to the Presnip Church. The wood is brought in by horses and sleigh, and the roof is made of recycled plastic.

It all started with the Burg Diocese's cultural advisor, Solveig Egeland, and her despair over the plastic rubbish washing up on the beach.

Hope and the sea belong to us all

-I imagined a cathedral with a plastic roof. In other words, we can turn plastic trash into something beautiful and hopeful, explains Fagermoen.

“The sea and hope belong to all of us,” was the idea, and this is how the work began. Children and adults, of all ages and from all walks of life, gathered along the Hvalerkisten River to collect plastic.

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Kindergartens, school classes, women's groups and volunteers, especially those who often end up a little outside of society, contributed to the cathedral's construction work.

– A group of male refugees over the age of 50, who are not entitled to language training, were allowed to help build a barge. Then they had to speak Norwegian, so they received some language training at the same time, says Fagermoen enthusiastically.

– The cathedral carries with it the story that when people work together, we can transform evil into good. Then we can turn despair into hope.

We must be the light and salt in the world

Sunday services are held in Hobbit Cathedral, led by the Norwegian Church. Community prayers are also organised, where people of different faiths are welcome to offer their own prayers.

The cathedral also serves as a concert venue, and outside the Garden of Hope is bustling with life. A garden where vegetables are grown, among other things, and where bees are given their own little cathedrals.

– To me, this seems very consistent with Jesus' message that we are to be light and salt in the world. In addition to salt, food rots. It's specifically about creating hope, creating life, and creating something new, Fagermoen says.

– I think it is very wonderful that the Church of Norway can help facilitate such a collaborative project. What lies in the word sacred is that things become perfect. I concluded that this is what the cathedral represents.

The truth is that something that stems from human despair can be transformed into something good.

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Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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