In early 2008 he wrote his first letter to me — an invitation to a Journalism Conference in the Czech Republic. A few months later in May Arne Fjeldstad and I met in person for the first time. Three delegates from Ukraine and a few dozen from all over Europe gathered together in Prague at his invitation.
By then Arne had been head of The Media Project (TMP) for a couple of years. Its mission is to help sociopolitical journalists around the world get a handle on religious topics and provide good coverage thereof. To see that become reality as head of TMP he worked hard around the globe crossing borders of nations, cities and continents on a regular basis doing teaching sessions, workshops, seminars, setting up schools, holding conferences, giving personal advice. We kept in touch with him quite often. To find him being at home in Norway as we exchanged emails was rather an exception.
Arne Fjeldstad did a great deal of work in Africa – Egypt, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria. Other continents he did not neglect either – UK, Czech Republic, Sri-Lanka, India, USA, Peru, Columbia, Sweden and many other countries. However, I have a great pleasure to say that Ukraine played a special part in his plans and heart.
He first came to Ukraine to join the annual 2008 Novomedia Association Conference in Polyana (Transcarpathian Region). In May 2009 we held joint round-table meetings on the topic of Religion in secular mass media in Kiev. In the fall of that same year Arne was in Ukraine again for another Novomedia conference.
Arne Fjeldstad was one of the speakers at the first Kiev International Novomedia Forum in November 2011. In September of the following year The Media Project held the European Journalism Conference in Kiev. We had an honor to host the event. On his last visit to Ukraine in September this year our friend and colleague helped organize and was one of the speakers at Revolution, War and Church in Media Space Conference.
For 20 years Arne worked as a journalist and editor for the Aftenposten – one of the most printed papers in Norway. For several years he was an editor for the World Evangelization of the International Lausanne Movement. He held a PhD, taught journalism and communication. Arne was also a theologian and a lutheran priest as he ministered in several parishes.
He didn’t just minister to his parishes. He ministered to hundreds and thousands of journalists around the world. He was fully committed to his mission. He never used smileys in his emails or text messages, although he was incredibly kind and friendly in real life. He always came to help, support and give something away.
The last time we exchanged emails was on 17 October. And then on 23 November 2014 I received a message about his sudden passing. We are praying God’s comfort for his wife and daughter.
Doctor Arne Fjeldstad had a great impact on my life and on the history of Novomedia Association. We will always remember that with gratitude and honor!
Ruslan Kukharchuk, President of Novomedia Journalists Association, Kiev, Ukraine, 24 November 2014.
The last common pictures with Dr. Arne Fjeldstad in Kiev, September, 2014.
P.S. Several month ago Arne congratulated Novomedia with 10 year anniversary