A GREAT DANISH AMERICAN BIRTHDAY - RASMUS ANDERSEN
Rasmus Andersen (July 23, 1847 - August 21, 1930) was a Danish American Lutheran minister and is considered the founder of the Danish Seamen's Church in Brooklyn, New York.
Reverend Andersen was born in Vedelshave, Fyn County, Denmark. While a student in 1871, he was sent to America by the "Commission for the Furtherance of the Proclamation of the Gospel Among Danes in America," established in 1869 to develop mission work among Danes that immigrated to the United States. The young Andersen wished to be a foreign missionary but the commission decided he should teach Danish immigrant children. Andersen, along with two pastors sent by the commission, arrived in New York on June 12, 1871.
Andersen experienced some difficulty in finding a placement with a congregation. A fellow commission representative told him not to be discouraged and gave him the advice to work hard to learn English. He enrolled at the Norwegian-Danish Conference seminary in Marshall, Wisconsin, and while on a Christmas vacation visit to Waupaca, Wisconsin, found a Danish congregation to whom he could minister. He was ordained June 26, 1872, and began his work as a pastor. He stayed in the Waupaca area ministering to several congregations for six years. His next congregation, at which he remained for three years, was in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He was the pastor at his last congregation, Our Saviour's Danish Church, in Brooklyn, New York, until his retirement in 1903.
In addition to his pastoral work, Pastor Andersen also was a founder of the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. At the 1878 convention of the church, it created a constitution and settled matters related to home mission work, the founding of a folk school, and the publishing of a children's paper.
Pastor Andersen also took the work of ministering to sailors and newly-arrived immigrants. He continued this work well after his retirement from the Brooklyn congregation in 1903. He was also the author of many books and pamphlets on such varied topics as the history of early Scandinavian voyages to America, advice to immigrants, travel memoirs, and biographies of pastors. He was also considered to be one of the church's first historians.
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