Tag Archives: Leif Magne Helgesen

Saintly 60: Svalbard Church celebrating six decades of bringing the highest spirits to the world’s northernmost town

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Tone Nødtvedt says Svalbard Church still looks pretty much the same as when it opened 60 years ago and became her childhood home because her father, Erling, was its first priest. It’s spirit is also largely the same, thanks to a main interior where the social gathering space was vastly expanded from the original plans – making it larger than the space for services – at her father’s insistence.

NEW CALLING: Svalbard Church Priest Leif Magne Helgesen departing after 12 years; leaving a storied legacy as community counselor, ambassador and controversial crusader

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Svalbard Church Priest Leif Magne Helgesen, who during the past 12 years has been one of Svalbard’s most prominent persons for his many roles ranging from lighthearted entertainer to controversial global political activist, is departing in October to become an ambulant seaman’s minister in Asia.

‘Fight against evil’: Svalbard Church priest’s Easter serman denounces anti-immigrant minister, Israeli attacks in Gaza

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Never one to shy from controversy, Svalbard Church Priest Leif Magne Helgesen used his Easter Mass to denounce deadly Israeli attacks against Palestinian protesters and a Norwegian minister stirring up fears of foreigners and the mass murders by Anders Behring Breivik in a narrative about fear and the need to not submit to hopelessness against fighting it.

No so eternal: Longyearbyen Cemetery must be moved due to landslide threat, church leader says

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The cliché is Longyearbyen is the town you can’t die in because your body won’t stay buried in the ground. But now there are plans to move the cemetery where those who have died here are buried because the graves face the threat of being obliterated by landslides.

“The cemetery is located in an area at risk of slides both during summer and winter, and something has to be done,” Svalbard Church Priest Leif Magne Helgesen told Svalbardposten.

Is priest full of BDS? Israeli newspaper accuses Leif Magne Helgesen of ‘venting his antisemitic fury and rage’ from afar

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Leif Magne Helgesen has been attacked by Israelis plenty of times – physically and in writing – so he isn’t letting the latest one bother him.

The priest at Svalbard Church is scathingly criticized in a column published Sept. 1 in Israel Hayom, accusing him of “venting his antisemitic fury and rage at a country that could not possibly be further removed from him.” It was written by Judith Bergman, described as a writer and political analyst living in Israel, after reading about his call last year for a boycott of all Israeli products.

Random weirdness for the week of July 5, 2016

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Since this week seems to be our “reality check” issue, we’re leading with something whose only local connection is it involves our unofficial “sister city” in the U.S., but is high on our rant list for WTF Are Climate Change Deniers Thinking??!! It was a chilling weekend in Juneau, Alaska, where within a day of each other: 1) record flooding occurred when a glacial ice dam collapsed and released an entire lake on the town, and 2) a 1,225-meter-high mountainside spontaneously collapsed on a glacier field a bit further north.

Random weirdness for the week of April 19, 2016

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Svalbard Church Priest Leif Magne Helgesen, who famous in this space for some of the naughtiest photos we’ve ever published  (and that’s saying something), found a whole new way to be bad this week with a snowmobile streering selfie posted on his Facebook page that suggests a bit of, um, faithful navigation. “I do not think this is accepted as a dignified execution of the Traffic Safety Act,” wrote former Svalbard Lt. Gov. Jens Olaf Saether, using a devilish emoticon as punctuation. Of course, being a still photo there’s no actual proof of a moving violation and since he lived to post it apparently his boss didn’t blow a gasket over it…

Leaping year: One-day delay gives hundreds reason to jump for joy under clear skies as sun ‘returns’ after four months

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The year 2016 will be remembered as the perfect time to be bissextile.

Several hundred people experienced one of Longyearbyen’s most spectacular “return of the sun” celebrations ever, thanks to leap year delaying the ceremony from a cloudy Monday to a cloudless Tuesday. Wearing sun costumes, facepaint and other solar insignia, they began their annual chant toward the southern horizon at 12:50 p.m. while circled around an ancient set of wooden steps that have not seen sunlight in four months.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Jan. 26, 2016

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Priest voted Svalbard person of the year for historic work
Svalbard Church Leif Magne Helgesen has been selected by Svalbardposten readers as Svalbard’s person of the year for 2015. He has been involved in a number of local and global events of historic significance during the past year, including spending the summer helping to keep Israeli soldiers from demolishing a Palestinian village in the West Bank, leading calls for action by the church and others to combat climate change, and serving as one of the most prominent caregivers and spokespeople for the community following the Dec. 19 avalanche.

Chillingly clueless: Svalbard’s 10 strangest stories of 2015

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Which is stranger: a year where parasitic wasps went on a killing spree or the year that actually happened? Yeah, we’re not sure either.

All we know is both versions of Svalbard will be back – and probably even stranger – next year.