Peter Sørensen Vig

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Peter Sørensen Vig (7 November 1854 – 21 March 1929), commonly known as P. S. Vig, was a Danish American pastor, educator, and historian in the Lutheran church. He was integral to the formation of the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America (the North Church) and the United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church (United Church).[1]


Peter Sorenson Vig was born in Bøgvad, Egtved Sogn, Vejle Municipality, in South Jutland, Denmark. He attended Askov High School (Danish: Askov Højskole) from 1872 to 1877 and went on to study under the Rev. H.F. Feiberg. In 1879 he came to America and then spent two years in Chicago. In 1882 he returned to Denmark to continue his studies. He also served as an educator at the Missionary Institute in Copenhagen.[2]


In 1884, Vig was sent to the United States by the Danish American Mission, and on 20 September 1885, he was ordained a minister at Clinton, Iowa. He spent several years at Bowmanis Grove, Iowa, as a minister and an instructor in the high schools. From 1885–88, he was the pastor of the Lutheran church in Jacksonville, Iowa. In 1888 he was sent to the seminary at West Denmark, Wisconsin, where he taught for four years and at the same time he took a pastorage at Luck, Wisconsin. From 1894 to 1909 he was principal and instructor at the high school and seminary in Elk Horn, Iowa. He then served as President and Professor of Theology at Trinity Seminary, Blair, Nebraska, until 1928.[3]

The Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America (or North Church) was formed in 1894 when Peter Sorenson Vig and Kristian Anker, along with a number of pastor and congregations, left the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over theological differences. In 1896, two small groups of Danish Lutherans in America – known as the Blair Church and the North Church – came together to form the United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church (commonly known as the United Church). This church body was a part of the Danish Lutheran "Inner Mission" movement, and strongly opposed the influence of the ideas of Danish Lutheran theologian N. F. S. Grundtvig.

Led by Peter Sorenson Vig and C. X. Hansen, one of the United Church's first priorities was to establish an educational system. Dana College in Blair, Nebraska, was begun as a preparatory school. Vig was the president of Trinity Seminary at Dana College and the president of Dana College from 1897–1899. By the early 1910s – in cooperation with the University of Nebraska – Dana College was awarding Associates Degrees.[4]


At the suggestion of United Evangelical Lutheran Church president Dr. N.C. Carlsen, Pioneer Memorial at Dana College was dedicated to the founders of Dana College. Outside the office of the President of Dana College, is a plaque that reads: “This building is named Pioneer Memorial in memory of A. M. Andersen, Kr. Anker, C. X. Hansen, P. S. Vig, G. B. Christiansen, and many other faithful men and women who contributed to the development and influence of Dana College and Trinity Seminary.”[5]


In addition to his roles as a church leader and educator, Peter Sorenson Vig was one of the key early chroniclers of the life of Danish immigrants in America. His focus was primarily on the role of the Lutheran church in the lives of Danish-American immigrants, but his work included Danish-Americans from all walks of life.

He published the following works (all in Danish):

  • Danske i Amerika ("Danish in America")
  • Elk Horn i Iowa ("Elk Horn, Iowa")
  • Nordboerne finder vej til Amerika ("The Norse find a way to America")
  • Trinitatis Seminarium ("Trinity Seminary"). Blair, NE, 1911. A history of the United Church seminary.
  • Den forenede danske Ev. Luth. Kirke i Amerika ("The United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America")
  • Den Danske Udvandring til Amerika ("The Danish Immigration to America")
  • Dens Aarsager og Veie ("Its Aarsager and Veie")
  • Danske i Kamp i og for Amerika ("Danish in Action in and for America"). Omaha, NE: Axel H. Andersen, inc., 1917. A history of Danish soldiers who fought in and for America, covering the years 1640 through 1865.


  1. ^ Vig, Peter Sorenson (Christian Cyclopedia - The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod) [1]
  2. ^ Rev. Peter Sorensen Vig (Washington County Historical Association)
  3. ^ Peter Sorenson Vig, 1854-1929 (Nebraska State Historical Society)
  4. ^ Dana College. Mission & History (Dana College. Blair, Neb.)
  5. ^ A Place Called Dana: The Centennial History of Trinity Seminary and Dana College (by Peter L. Petersen. Dana College. January 1985)

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