The Reformation and Danish Society: The Church and Church Service

Churches are old buildings that have changed constantly in the face of changing religious needs. Churches have also provided a meeting place for parish residents, and for pastors and their congregations. It is commonly believed that the Reformation radically changed church interiors, but the changes actually happened slowly.

The Lutheran church service was first and foremost a gathering of the congregation under the guidance of the pastor to hear the word of God. So churches were given seats for them to sit on, and a pulpit the pastor spoke from in the middle of the church. Side altars disappeared, because masses linked to saints were not accepted by the Lutheran church. Church murals were not painted over until the 1600s and 1700s.

In many places, the high altar was given a new altarpiece with quotes from the Bible in Danish and sometimes images relating to Holy Communion, one of the two sacraments of the Protestant church. The other sacrament was the christening, welcomed the child into the Christian community and establishing its relationship to God. This is why the christening font was also given a central, prominent place in the church. 

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