Per Harling

Per Harling

Per Harling, Bethany College’s 2010-2011 Pearson Distinguished Professor of Swedish Studies, will preside over his folk dance mass, “Join in the Dancing,” on October 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Presser Hall.

A folk dance mass combines the singing in a religious ceremony with dancing. “Join in the Dancing” is an unusual setting of Holy Communion that includes Swedish traditional folk dance rhythms like schottische, hambo, polka and waltz. “Being a pastor means you have to communicate what is important. What is important to me is my faith. The difference between writing a hymn and a sermon is that you make a sermon once, but a song is repeated many times,” Harling said.

Originally published by Harling in 1994, this will be the second time this folk dance mass has been performed in the United States. It was first done four years ago in Chautauqua, New York, at the Augustana Heritage Association Gathering. The Bethany Choir will serve as leaders of the songs and the Bethany College Dance Team will perform their first ever performances of Swedish folk dancing alongside the Lindsborg Folkdanslag. Harling and Campus Pastor Noni Strand will preside over the service and Assistant Professor of Music Jeffery Wall will conduct the musicians with additional Bethany students and community members assisting.

This event is free and open to the public.

Harling specializes in composing liturgical music and has written several books on worship life, hymns and biographies. In addition to teaching and working with Bethany students, staff and faculty, he participated in several public events and chapel services. Harling also composed a morning prayer service specifically for Bethany, which will be premiered on October 1.

Additional information about Harling’s tenure at Bethany is available online at