By JAN M. OLSEN
Associated Press Writer
May 30, 7:09 AM ET
TAARBAEK, Denmark - A Danish Lutheran minister who publicly denied the existence of God said Sunday he was glad to be back in the pulpit, but refused to speak about the case that led to his brief suspension last year.
Rev. Thorkild Grosboell was showered with flowers, hugs and kisses after holding a service in a church in this village eight miles north of Copenhagen.
“It was great, great,” Grosboell said after the service, but refused to speak to reporters about the case, which he described in his sermon as “nonsense.”
The country’s Evangelical Lutheran Church suspended him in June 2004 because he said in an interview that “there is no heavenly God.” Earlier this month, he was reinstated after renewing his vows, but will remain under the supervision of a bishop.
Some 250 people filled the small, 140-year-old, red-brick church and then gathered on a nearby lawn for a drink to celebrate the popular minister’s return.
“It’s a great relief, a great joy to have you back,” Lars Heilesen, head of the parish council, told Grosboell.
“Welcome back, Thorkild, we missed you,” one churchgoer said, kissing Grosboell, who has been the village minister since 1991.
In Denmark, where Lutheran ministers are employed by the state and only the government can fire them or take them to court, the church requested Grosboell be placed before a disciplinary labor court for doubting eternal life and the resurrection. . . .