The state church of Norway has found itself embroiled in a conflict over the presence of one of their ministers in the town of Oppdal which is in the mountains. The local church leader has come under sharp criticism after he prevented a pastor, who originally comes from Sierra Leone, from participating in several funerals because relatives did not want a black skin pastor having anything to do with the final send off of their dead relative. Pastor Joseph Moiba has been told by local residents, that people like himself, “don’t fit in Norway” and the pastor has been physically and verbally abused. Nils-Tore Andersen, leader of the state church council, Kirkeradet, is shocked because in his view, the church should be a leader in the fight against racism.
Andersen’s reaction to family complaints concerning a black skinned man participating in funerals was “we try to meet the wishes of families in a funeral, but there’s a limit.” Andersen was upset the local pastor acceded to requests of families and barred Moiba from participating in several funerals.
Moiba is on a sick leave due to stress caused by the incidents and he fears they will resume when he returns to duty. One can only wonder how such intensity of feeling can emerge from people who have so little contact with Africans.