The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'Revival of people's church'

Impending church-state separation creates challenges, opportunities

The head of the Church of Sweden speaks engagingly and smiles frequently. He's not at all disturbed about the approaching separation of the Lutheran church from the Swedish government after more than four centuries.

"The disestablishment is coming in a friendly climate that should be better for the church," says Archbishop Gunnar Weman of Uppsala. "It will be a revival of the people's church."

Lutheranism has been the state religion in Sweden since 1544. Today it's a "folk church" where 85 percent of Swedes are church members but rarely attend. "The new relationship between church and state means a deeper relationship betwee n church and society," Weman says.

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