Norwegian Politician: Christians Must Not Only Pray But Also Act
Sokndal is a small town in Norway (population: 3300). The main industry there is titanium extraction. By the estimates of scientists the local titanium deposits will last for 200 years. Many residents are empolyed in gas and oil industry. During her visit to Norway the KRYNICA.INFO reporter visited Sokndal commune and met the commune’s mayor, Trond Arne Pedersen of Christian Democracy Party (KrF). Previously he worked in gas extraction industry as an electricity engineer.
Mayor is the key figure of the commune. The townsmen elect their representatives to the town council and the elected decide who will be the mayor.
There are 6 political parties active in Sokndal. At the last elections 19.5% of the votes were given KrF, but to have a decisive vote at the town council they formed a pact with 2 other parties.
The role of the mayor is to improve the wellbeing of the population. Any member of the commune can come to the mayor and tell him his/her ideas or problems. Mayor spends a lot of time by listening to the people and then he plans with the council the best way of solving the problem.
The mayor must provide the appopruate development of the region: he zones the land for industry and residential areas, he is responsible for roads, culture, local business support. Almost all business in Norway is private, only the local electric company belongs to the town council. The budget of the council is formed by the taxes.
The most population of the commune belongs to the Lutheran church, among 10% – to the Pentecostal Church. The mayor of Sokndal is also a Pentecostal.
– How do you combine the politics and your beliefs? What is your pastor’s attitude towards your political activity?
– Some churches try to avoid politics. Then KrF members attending those churches try to personally interact with them. It is known that believers vote for different parties. But our pastor is very proud of the fact that the Christian of his church his been elected a mayor. And he thinks that the church must participate in the politics more actively and even take a leading position. While creating people, the Lord gave them responsibility for their own lives. And if Christians do not take the responsibility it is difficult to talk about the decisions made by others. There are values in Christianity that appeal even to the people who do not share the Christian views. That is why it is important to do evangelization and politics as well.
– As a church member, were you involved in any ministry?
– In the church I was responsible for the church construction. The construction had began when I was not a mayor and was finished when had taken the post, but I managed to carry ot out. Now I can spend less time on the church affairs because I spend a lot of time at the council, a working day being longer than planned.
I am sure that Christians must not only pray for wellbeing of the state but are also obliged to actively participate in the country’s social life in order to take right decisions and to control theirs execution.
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