Posted Online: May 10, 2013, 2:50 am

African customs shared during Scandinavian fest

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By Leon Lagerstam, llagerstam@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: John Greenwood
Linda Shoesmith, at right, describes the Scandinavian clothing models are wearing during First Lutheran Church's annual Scandinavian Festival. The church is at 1600 20th St., Rock Island.
ROCK ISLAND -- Scandinavians will renew some African mission work next weekend, without leaving the Quad-Cities.

First Lutheran Church, 1600 20th St., will welcome guest performers from Calvary International Revival Church to the fifth annual Scandinavian Arts Fest from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 19.

The fest typically features folk arts, crafts, music, food, customs and traditions related to Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland.

Calvary International Revival Church members consist mostly of African refugees who will share music, dancing and their cultural traditions.

They've been worshiping at First Lutheran, after flooding and related structural problems led city inspectors to declare their church uninhabitable.

Offerings will help Calvary members in their time of need, said First Lutheran pastor the Rev. Greg Mayer. The refugee-dominated church met at First Lutheran years ago before getting its own church, the former home of House of Fire Ministries.

"We have a history together," Rev. Mayer said, referring to the Calvary International Church. As Calvary church leaders work with city inspectors and contractors to determine whether they ever can return to their church, they're welcome to worship at 12:30 p.m. Sundays at First Lutheran, he said.

The first thing Calvary church members will have to do if they want back in the building will be to fix the roof, and then determine, with an engineer's help, what else must be done to make it safe to return, Rev. Mayer said.

Scandinavian countries also have a long, rich history of mission work in Africa, and including African refugees in a Scandinavian Arts Fest is an extension of that history, he said.

The fest also continues a Scandinavian art focus the congregation decided to promote long ago.

It's held in conjunction with Norwegian National Independence Day on May 17 and St. Eric Day, the patron Saint of Sweden, on May 18, Rev. Mayer said.

It's all about passing the heritage to the younger generation, he said, adding that church youth will be involved in preparing food and crafts for the fest.

Baked goods will include traditional rye breads, almond cakes, cardamom coffee cakes, lefse and a variety of pastries. Coffee and smoothies also will be sold at the "Kaffe Stuga."

Lunch items include meat pies, potato sausage, Swedish meatballs, sausage wrapped in lefse, and herring.

Scandinavian collectibles and antiques will be featured. Weaving, spinning, carving, needlework and painting samples will be on display, as well as a antique quilt display, which is new this year, Rev. Mayer said.

Many items will be sold in a "Trash and Treasure" room.Yard, shop and small furniture pieces will be sold in the garage.

Vocal and instrumental music will be performed in the church and on the grounds.

For information, call the church at 309-788-9661.