A Note From Ralph Milton


I’ve traveled often to Europe on many package tours and visited a lot of churches. For me, the endless procession of stone sculpture and stained glass breaks into a kaleidoscopic blur. Perhaps that’s why I found the Hallgrimskirkja in Rekjavik, Iceland, so refreshing.

Hallgrimskirkja in Rekjavik, Iceland

Copyright © Ralph Milton

The church dominates the skyline, and provides a lookout tower over the whole city. The façade is said to be based on the hexagonical basalt columns found in many parts of Iceland (and other places in the world). The statue at the front of the church is of Lief Ericson, an early hero in Icelandic sagas, and said to be the first European to set foot on Canadian soil.

Inside the Hallgrimskirkja Church in Rekjavik, Iceland

Copyright © Ralph Milton

There’s no stained glass visible from the nave of the church. No statues. No memorial plaques. The gray-blue padded pews are comfortable, but not ornate. There’s a quiet power at work here.

Church arches

Copyright © Ralph Milton

Scandinavian simplicity. Minimalist art. Whatever you call them, the simple, off-white gothic arches lifted my spirits and my mind into a calming sense of Holy Presence.

Descending dove and the Lamb of God

Copyright © Ralph Milton

On either side of the pulpit, a descending dove and the Lamb of God. There is no preacher here, but the homily of this church to this week-day camera-toting tourist is one of peace and holiness.

And in that moment, my trip, my junket, my tour, became a pilgrimage. And I was ready to come back home.

Peace and holiness to all,

Ralph Milton

Dr. Ralph Milton is one of Canada’s best-known religious communicators, and a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Sacred Letters from St. Stephen’s College, Edmonton. He also has an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the Vancouver School of Theology. A former news broadcaster, open line host and church administrator, Milton is the author of 17 books including the bestselling Family Story Bible; Angels in Red Suspenders; and Julian’s Cell, a novel based on the life of Julian of Norwich. Co-founder of Wood Lake Publishing, Ralph Milton lives in Kelowna, British Columbia, with his wife and friend of 50 years, Beverley, a retired church minister.

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Categories: Arts, Featured, Inspiration and Meditation, Meditation, Ralph Milton, World


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One Comment on “A Note From Ralph Milton”

  1. Lois
    July 19, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

    This note is for Ralph: I was just reading the United Church Observer and saw a letter from a Ralph Milton. My dear friend June Austman/Burgess had a brother of that name and I wondered if you are him. June was a lovely understanding woman who took me under her wing after my mother died and I was a student teacher at her school. She became ‘Mum’ to me and ‘Grandmama’ to my small children. We kept in contact until a few days before she died.

    Just wanted to say hello if you were he.


    Lois Belluk

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