Church and Society
1) Ryzard Bobrowicz - A shift in theoretical foundations can improve the practice of Multi-Faith Spaces
The Multi-Faith Spaces (MFS) were subject to growing concerns in recent years. This was also the case in Scandinavia where, for instance, a conflict around the "retræterum" at KU's Søndre Campus led to debates in the Danish Parliament. Closer analysis of this and similar incidents shows that tensions seemingly come from: (1) Theoretical foundations of an approach to public religion that fails to accommodate a changing religious landscape in Europe, and (2) a mismatch between needs and expectations of potential MFS users and the way in which such spaces function in practice. This paper aims to address both of these problems, by, first, describing two prevailing theoretical options - "secularism" and "multi-faith paradigm" - along with their practical applications and fallacies; second, it will present the preliminary results of a survey among the potential users of MFS in the Malmö area. Finally, it will suggest the possible directions toward improving the existing and future MFS, in order to lessen the tensions and provide more suitable solutions for believers and non-believers alike.
2) Viktor Aldrin - The conflict over religious practice in Swedish schools: the Church of Sweden and its struggle to redefine its Lutheran confession in a secular state
A vital aspect of the Church of Sweden is its Lutheran confession and its emphasis on the Two regiments doctrine - an equal interest of working together in the Nation state of Sweden. According to Casanova (2014), the Nordic countries have experienced a secularism where religion has merged with the state and become a department. At the end of the 20th century, state and church separated, and the Church of Sweden became a "free" denomination. in the public schools, this separation has led to a conflict between the church and state. Thus, the distribution of rights according to the Lutheran doctrine is no longer valid. The state discards the Church of Sweden's "spiritual regiment" for the society, considering its religious practices as illegal within the school system. Ecclesiastical debates have begun on a new Lutheran identity formation within the church - that of a church of a minority in a postsecular context. The aim of this paper is to examine this identity formation and, the conflict over religious practices in the schools. New results from the research project "End of term ceremonies held in churches and the debate on the role of religion in Swedish schools", will be presented.
3) Gunnfrid Ljones Øierud - School worship services - old tradition, new conditions, new practice?
Worship services for Norwegian schools/pupils in local churches are common before Christmas or Easter. It is argued that this tradition should be upheld because worship attendance gives a learning opportunity valuable for all students regardless of their religious affiliation. But as church and public school have become clearly independent institutions with different objectives and regulations — how is it possible to meet in a joint practice of worship? Currently there is a multitude of ways of enacting these acts of worship. This paper will present a brief analysis of the different regulations relevant for school worship services from church (liturgical thinking and worship books) and school (the Education Act, curriculum, guidelines). I will discuss the degree to which and the ways in which the regulations are compatible, focusing mainly on the question of participation, and reflect on differences in current practice and new theological/liturgical challenges.
4) Jakob Egeris Thorsen - Diaconal Work and Volunteering in the Age of Authenticity
This paper examines the motivations of employees and volunteers in three faith-based diaconal institutions working with migrants and socially disadvantaged groups in Denmark. Diaconal organizations and institutions were established in response to rapid social transformations and turmoil in the second half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century in what Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor has termed "the age of mobilization". With the full implementations of the welfare state in the 1970s, many deemed diaconal work obsolete. However, due to reforms, reductions of social services in the 1980s and a rise in social volunteering from the late 1990s and onwards, diaconal organizations, and institutions have experienced new relevance and growth. This paper examines interviews with diaconal employees and volunteers through the analytical lens of Taylor, arguing that the motivation to engage in diaconal work is a combination of active citizenship and the expressive individualism that characterizes our "age of authenticity". When engaging in church or faith-based diaconal work, religious motivations only play a minor role (if any) among the interviewees, while a secular humanistic outlook and progressive political motivations dominate. By appealing to active citizenship and progressive values, diaconal organizations have been able to remain relevant social actors, but might risk jeopardizing their ecclesial and missionary identity.