THE PROJECT - ICELANDIC CHURCHES IN NORTH AMERICA
The project of photographing the Icelandic churches in North America is an idea that Gudmundur Vidarsson photographer got
while studying in the USA in 1994. Gudmundur, a professional photographer from Iceland, attended the University of Minnesota
on a scolarship from the Fulbright commission in Iceland . While studying he had the opportunity to stay at the home of John
and Donna Rutford in St.Paul.
It was during a short trip to North Dakota where the idea came about and was formed. Gudmundur and John started the project
as an official project at that time. Since this was a personal project it had no special time frame but in 1994 they travelled
to all the church locations in the USA and covered most of the Icelandic churches located there. Icelandic churches in Canada
had to wait for the proper time.
From 1994 until 1999 the project was in a slow but progressive status until it received special support in Iceland.
In 1999 the project received a grant, from the Icelandic Christianity Commitee, to make the project into a history and photographic
exhibition to be held in March 2000. The exhibit was held in a large and popular museum, in Gerdarsafn, Kopavogur. The exhibit
was in connection to the celebrations around the 1000 years of christianity that took place in Iceland in 1999 trough 2000.
After the exhibit the project had gotten some recognition in Iceland and travelled to the USA and Canada also.
|Map made by Gudjon Ingi Hauksson art designer
| This map shows the distribution of the Icelandic churches in USA and Canada.
After a successful exhibit in Iceland the project has continued and manuscript, in english, for publication is near completion.
Preparations for publishing a book on the subject is scheduled in the year 2008 and work will continue as funds become available.
Funding is however very limited.
We strongly believe that this project honors the heritage of the Icelandic immigrants
and pioneers from Iceland that settled in the USA and Canada and we hope by collecting the information it will live on and
be passed on to future generations.
In January 2007 after some long time the project has been on hold, we have found out that not enough interest is in the
Icelandic and USA community´s that have an Icelandic church and in Iceland not many are focused on this issue. Gudmundur
had repeatedly applied for some funds from variety of Icelandic funds but unsuccessfully to this time. Personally Gudmundur
and John have spent a large sum of money on introducing the project and travelled to variety of places at their own cost.
But the uninterest that this project is facing it will probably remain as a unpublished work and hopefully
in the future it will become important possibly in connection with some celebration or milestone of USA/Canada and
Icelandic relationship. This is currently not a high profile assignment and it does not draw any funds from public funds either
from Iceland or the USA.
In short it seems no one really cares enough about this special heritage to support it to a greater public exposure.
We thank you for entering this page and look forward to your comments.
Any support is appreciated.
Gudmundur Vidarsson & John Rutford