Welcome to the fourth in a series of articles entitled: Awesome Women with Awesome Jobs.

I was looking at my friends list on Facebook one day and it suddenly struck me that I know so many absolutely awesome women with rather special jobs. Jobs that are not just about pulling home a paycheck. No, these women work with passion. They have a mission. And that – to me – is interesting. I hope you will find it interesting too.

My guest today is Louise Britze.


C: What is your job?

L: I am a pastor in the Lutheran Church of Denmark.

C: Did you always know that that is what you wanted to do when you grew up?

L: No, I have a dark past in the insurance business, and once I thought I would become a photographer.

C: So how did you wind up becoming a pastor?

L: When I worked in that insurance company, I was the youngest person there – it was their headquarter with more than 2000 employees. As I watched people have 25 and 40- year jubilees, I also noticed how my ass seemed to merge with the office chair and I thought to myself: “There has got to be more to life than this!” I thought I might go back to school, so I moved into a cheap apartment and started at community college, where I found theology to be the most interesting subject. And still, it took a while for me to be certain that I actually wanted to become a pastor.

Louise Britze

First, it was important to me to take a look at the other theology students. I had this image in my head that you had to be a very certain kind of person but it was the mid 90’s and there was lots of leather and guys with plateau shoes and frilly shirts. They were really cool and calmly announced that they wanted to become pastors, so I concluded that there would also be room for someone like me.

C: What does a really awesome day in you job look like?

L: First I might have a conversation with someone who is getting married and later on, one with someone who is organizing the funeral for a family member. Perhaps it sounds strange but funerals can be really wonderful and rewarding work because in that type of conversation, we get to talk about the very best things about a person’s life. My task is to get out the good story about this life so that we might close that chapter in a good way. Working with funerals is amazing work because I have to make an effort with some very beautiful things and I help people with something that is very important – to say goodbye in a good way. That type of conversation is immensely interesting. I get to talk to so many different types of people about the most basic and the biggest things in life and about the ways people have gotten through their lives.

C: What does a boring day look like?

L: Well… Budget meetings, updating our website or accounting for work-flow-types of things – that’s all pretty boring.

C: What are the perks in your job?

L: There are some boring prejudices about the church, but generally people meet me with some really positive prejudices. Most people have the attitude that says: “The pastor will take care of that, she’s here now and things will be alright” and that gives me such a boost and such support.  The fact that people positively expect that I’ll handle things increase the odds that – in fact – I will.

Also, I think it is really amazing the things I get to participate in – I am really close to the big emotions in some very intimate moments and I get to have very open conversations with some people I wouldn’t otherwise meet. When I stand in front of a couple that are getting married and I feel how moved they are; it is a huge thing that I get to partake in.

C: You do some rather hardcore emotional things – weddings and funerals; do you ever get overwhelmed? Do you ever cry?

L: Not during. If I am attending a funeral where I am not in charge, I get much more moved than if I am in charge. From the bench it becomes much more apparent that nothing can be done. The powerlessness is disarming, and in those situations I do sometimes cry. When I am in charge, I fell like I can DO something, so having the tasks to solve keeps me from being too attached.  I don’t necessarily think it would be the worst thing in the world if people could tell that the pastor was also affected but I wouldn’t want them to worry “Will she make it”?  I want them to be able to trust that I can do it and that I will guide them though it.

C: What is your formal training?

L: I am cand. theol. (equivalent to a Master of Divinity).

C: Do you have a mission?

L: I want to impart to people that love is something you must DO – it is not enough to talk about it. To experience love you have to live it. The gift is not to have someone fall in love with you but to feel how much strength you have when you do something good in other people’s lives or in the community – or in the world. To spend oneself doing good. When I have the very most success with my mission, I help people feel that they are spending their lives in a better way.

C: That is amazingly beautiful.

L: Thank you.

C: Who are your role models?

L: I was an intern with Knud Wad, unfortunately he died only 49 years old from cancer. He had an exemplary way of finding the good angle on people. I never heard him say a bad word about anyone – not something I can say for myself, unfortunately.

Also my friend from the seminary Julie Damlund. She is unbelievably bright and possesses the most beautiful way of being intelligent: She makes other people shine.  Lots of intelligent people are good at showing off their own intelligence but using your intelligence to make other people shine is just so exemplary. Naturally, I have read lots of amazing theologians  that I look up to too…

C: Do you ever doubt God?

L: Yes and no. I have been lucky in that I’ve had it confirmed that God is with me – an intangible thing to explain – but also I’ve seen in my life that the thing with love – it really works. To me, the message of love makes all the sense in the world. On the other hand I do also sometimes experience so much meaninglessness that I think God is a shit! Luckily, it is okay for us to be really angry at God. In the Book of Psalms it shows that we can complain directly to God…

C: He has a hotline?

L: Yes, the Book of Psalms is filled with both praise and gratitude and lots of weird prayers asking God to be with you against your enemies – so it is quite different from Jesus’ approach, actually. It is filled with lots of whining about the amount of misery and suffering in the world. My religion has room for me to be very angry with God and have days where I don’t see or feel the big golden context. It is not really a charismatic faith, it is more about doing than feeling. Having God’s existence “proven” to me is not so much the key issue as committing to a community and committing to the Love.

C: What advice would you give someone who wanted to do what you do?

L: I think the church improves the more people are true to themselves.  Lots of pastors help keeping prejudices alive about how bourgeois the church is supposed to be – celebrating some family ideals that are certainly not compatible with lots of families today. Our church would be able to contain lots more people if we broke out of that hetero-normative mold with the married nuclear family. There are some pretty rigid expectations about the kind of life a pastor should lead. Only having one type of people working in the church makes for a pretty flat church. It is sad. So some of us insist that it is what you DO that counts, not what we are on paper. We need pastors that are immersive speakers – pastors that are courageous and… well: Funny!

Visit Louise Britze’s church on Facebook HERE.

Visit the Lutheran Church in Denmark HERE.


Related posts:

Q & A: Awesome Women with Awesome Jobs: The Sex Shop Owner 

Q & A: Awesome Women with Awesome Jobs: The Children’s Author

Q & A: Awesome Women with Awesome Jobs: The Social Media Manager

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One Response to Q & A: Awesome Women with Awesome Jobs: The Pastor

  1. Wabbit says:

    What an AWESOME woman! She is perfect for the career/life path she has chosen. An example to all of us of how we can identify a vocation that works for who we are, and celebrate that choice on a daily basis.
    An incredible communicator. She makes me wish I could live in Denmark and attend her church.

    Thank you for introducing her to us Cinda! Seriously, Louise has been your most impressive (to me) interview to date.

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