Västerås has been linked with the Diocese of Gloucester since 2006. It stretches from Lake Malaren northwest up to the Norwegian border.
A key part of parish life in Sweden is the “parish house”, which is open to lots of week-day community groups and activities, including choirs, drop-in activities for children and parents, study groups, and youth cafés.
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Partnership with the Diocese of Gloucester
The strength of our diocesan partnership today rests on our similarities and our differences. We share the same challenges of mission and ministry in western Europe, in a sometimes secularised setting. But in other ways we are very different – the Church of Sweden still gets a small proportion of state taxes, enabling them to fund many more posts within their churches, while the Church of England relies more on volunteers. In contrast, we are blessed with church schools while the same system does not exist in Sweden. So there is much we can learn and share with one another.
This partnership is the most active at parish level, with 11 Gloucestershire parishes twinned with Swedish partners, a link between our two Cathedrals, and other parish partnerships in the process of formation. Link activities range from prayers for one another, to choir tours, exchange visits and theological conversations, all building relationships with other Christians as part of the world wide family of God.
Contact the link officer, the Revd Rosie Woodall, at firstname.lastname@example.org
History of the Diocese of Västerås
The Diocese of Västerås is part of the Lutheran Church of Sweden and stretches northwest from Lake Malaren in the south, to the Norwegian border. Västerås is the biggest city in the Diocese with a population of 135,000, and is the location of the diocesan offices and Cathedral, and the home of the bishop, Thomas Soderberg. The people living in this diocese are mostly employed in schools, health, industry, construction and trade.
A total of 90 per cent of the Diocese’s assets are in forests, so their management and sustainability is of great importance to them both on a practical and spiritual level. They are involved with a network of eco-theologians in Sweden and a diocesan fund also invests in wind turbines and other renewable energy sources.
Parishes play a very active role in their communities. As in the UK, the Church has strong links with schools and hospitals and is often the organisation people turn to in times of emergency. Their parish houses are open to lots of community groups and activities during the week like choirs, drop-in activities for children and parents, study groups, morning groups and youth cafés.
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