Building a church
Grundarfjörđur Church was opened on 31 July 1961 and took five years to build. The priest of the Setberg parish at that time, Magnús Guđmundson, originally suggested the need for a new church to be built in the village and he put his weight behind the building efforts.
The architect was Halldór Halldórsson, who also designed Dalvik church, as well as a number of other churches.
The church was built in stages. To help build the church, two groups of volunteers, foreigners and locals, from various other congregations, assisted. In 1982 the last section of the church was completed and it coincided with the 90th anniversary of Setberg church.
Gréta and Jón Björnsson selected all the colours in the church and painted all the decorative adornments. Gréta selected both the wall lights and the corona. The wall lights are designed to resemble those of a lighthouse on land or ship lights on sea.
The pulpit was made by Snćbjörn Jónsson from Sauđeyjum in Breiđafjörđur and it resembles the bow of a ship. It was donated by Snćbjörn and his wife in memory of their relatives.
The windows in the choir section were painted by the artist Finnur Jónsson. The windows were donated by Kjartan and Einar Ásmundsson and their families. The window at the back of the church was made by the German glassmakers Oidtman Brothers in 1984 and it was painted by the artist Eirikur Smith.
The crucifix, baptismal font and candle sticks were donated in memory of Finn Sveinbjörnsson and Sveinbjörn Finnson and their closest relatives. The altar, chalice and paten as well as several clerical vestments were given to the church by the Women’s Association of the town and some of its sister organisations.
The altarpiece was painted by the artist Halldór Pétursson and donated by his friend Halldór Halldórsson, a mason.
It was Jón Ţorsteinsson, parish priest between 1974 and 1990, who decided to acquire the 13-voice organ. It was made in Germany by the organ-maker Reinhardt Tzschöckel, and was installed by Björgvin Tómasson, who learned his craft with Tzschöckel and is now running his own workshop in Mosfellsbćr.
In 1993 the church was finally completed in full. Benches, flooring and several other outstanding fittings inside the church found their rightful places. The lighting was redone and the humidifier set up.
The architects responsible for the this final stage were Árni and Sigbjörn Kjartansson. At that time the parish priest was Sigurđur Kr.Sigurđsson. He served as priest from 1990 – 1995.
In the autumn of 1998 Ţorkell Sigurđsson, former Co-op manager in Grundarfjörđur, donated one of the impressive chandeliers in memory of his wife, Kristín Kristjánsdóttir midwife and other relatives. The other chandelier was bought with proceeds inherited by the church from the late Óskar Sćmundsson.
This is the oldest bible in Icelandic printed in Iceland by Icelanders and thus played a big role in preserving the Icelandic language. Most religious reading material was in Danish before. One of reasons the Norwegians lost their original language was because of the lack of the printed word in that language in 16th century.
The bible is named after Bishop Guđbrandur Ţorláksson, who printed it in 1584 at his own printing press. 500 copies were made and it took 2 years and 7 men to complete the work. A lot of effort was put into the production, and there are still a fair number of the original copies around. It is said that the first edition was worth 2-3 cows per copy.
A first edition original copy was auctioned at Sothebys in 1980, and was sold to an Icelander for Ł7500 sterling.
The Guđbrand’s Bible is one of the very few old books that have been reprinted in the original version.
It was litho-printed in 1956-57 where 500 copies were made and again in 1984 with 400 copies being printed.
The copy that is displayed in the Church is one of the 1984 reprints and was donated to the church by the owners and crew of the ship, Runolfur SH 135 in 1984.
Translation: S. Smith and J. E. Van Schalkwyk.