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|2221: The Swedish
Eleonora Parish, also known as Svenska Kyrkan (The
Swedish Church), London.
of Sweden Abroad. Quoting from the church's website: "Since
1 November 2002, all Swedish churches abroad have been linked
to the Diocese of Visby. The Bishop of Visby is ex officio member
of the Board of the Church of Sweden Abroad and has episcopal
oversight of all Swedish churches and clergy outside Sweden."
The current church was built in 1911 (they've just celebrated
their centenary) although the first Swedish congregation in
London goes back as far as 1710. It is a tall building, with
the worship section up the stairs. There is a round roof. There
are many pictures of famous people on the walls, along with
one of an ancient ship. Lots of gold and white lights above
where we sat. At the front on the wall is a big picture of Jesus
with his 12 disciples, and the words Gud ar kärlek
(God is love). Above is the Greek monogram IHS for the
Holy Name of Jesus. There is a high pulpit with a red and yellow
cross, six candles on the altar, and ten candles along the rows
of pews. The windows are on the right side of the worship area,
and the choir was at that side and later up above us.
They serve as a spiritual centre for Swedes living in or visiting
London and the south of England. They maintain a library and
reading room, and the hall is available for hire. There are
groups for children, young adults and seniors. They offer Swedish
language classes at the beginner and intermediate levels. They
are a member of Churches Together in Westminster. Parish communion
is held each Sunday in Swedish, with only a few English services
during the year. Lunchtime communion is held on Wednesdays,
and communion services are also held in connection with various
group meetings. Each year on December 13, the popular Swedish
custom is followed of honouring St Lucia of Italy.
A multi-cultural area very near the big Paddington police building.
Much of the area was bombed during the Second World War, and
so there is a mixture of ancient and modern buildings. Lots
of ethnic food shoppes. There is also a canal close by. It is
a very busy neighbourhood with hundreds of buses and taxis.
The Rt Revd Jana Jeruma-Grinberga, bishop of the Lutheran Church
in Great Britain; the Very Revd Michael Persson, rector of Ulrika
Eleonora Parish; the Revd Anders Rune, vicar; the
Revd Deacon Maja Inde. Also participating were the Revd Dr Leslie
Griffiths, the Lord Griffiths of Burry Port, superintendent
minister at Wesley's Chapel, London, who gave the sermon; the
Revd Timothy Fletcher, auxiliary minister at Crown Court Church
of Scotland; and Chistoph Warrack, chairman of Westminster Churches
The date & time:
Pentecost Sunday, 12 June 2011, 6.30pm.
What was the name of the service?
Celebration of Pentecost.
How full was the building?
Very, very full nearly 200 people.
Did anyone welcome you
We were welcomed and given a very comprehensive programme that
included a picture of the church 100 years ago.
Was your pew comfortable?
They were comfortable pews, even when they were very full!
How would you describe the pre-service
Lots of people chatting, seeing friends from various churches,
and looking at the wonderful worship area.
What were the exact opening words of the
"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Spirit. Welcome to the Swedish Church." The greeter
went on to explain that they are Lutheran and that they speak
Swedish but that the choir can sing in Latin, a symbol of Pentecost.
What books did the congregation use during the
Just the programme sheet.
What musical instruments were played?
Organ to accompany the choir and congregation, and piano to
accompany a soloist.
Did anything distract you?
I kept looking at the unique pictures of ancient people on the
walls, and wondered what it would be like to attend a service
in Swedish, which I do not understand (although several people
told me I look Swedish).
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
It was an ecumenical service with visitors from local churches
of various denominations. Everybody sang well, and the hymns
were ones we all knew. The choir and the soloist sang well too.
The soloist also clapped as she sang.
Exactly how long was the
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
7 Lord Griffiths preached up on the high pulpit. He wore
red and black robes and the John Wesley style clerical collar
with two white bands. He drew an interesting parallel between
the Holy Spirit and a hurricane.
In a nutshell, what was
the sermon about?
Lord Griffiths' text was Acts 2:1-21 (the Holy Spirit descends
upon the apostles, who begin to speak in tongues). The Holy
Spirit came to the apostles like a hurricane, coming on suddenly,
battering their hearts, transforming them into new men. Hurricanes
come with wind and fire and buckets of rain, and when they depart
an eerie stillness remains. From the battering of the Holy Spirit
we gain wonderful emotion, joy, peace. To paraphrase John Wesley,
our hearts are "strangely warmed." Wind blows to light
up our wonderful fire. The day of Pentecost in Jerusalem began
like an explosion, and the apostles soon began shipping God's
goods to the rest of the world. God's Spirit will speak across
the whole world in many languages. Emperors and rulers have
fallen before its reality. In the words of Charles Wesley, "All
partake the glorious bliss!"
Which part of the service
was like being in heaven?
I really loved the hymns we sang and the choir and the solo
singing. it was also wonderful to be with people from so many
various churches in Westminster, London.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
I felt really frustrated, and wondered if God also gets frustrated,
that we have fewer evening services in London.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
We were immediately told to go down the stairs. Down there all chatted with us in groups, and asked what churches we belonged to.
How would you describe the after-service
We we were given all sorts of excellent food and drink: fruit,
vegetables with bread, juice, wine, etc.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
7 Only if I could learn to understand Swedish, but it seems excellent.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a
Yes, the feeling that God's Spirit has loved, contacted and
developed many of us, including myself.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The beautiul old church, and the feeling of God's love.
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