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Bishop slams end of term church services

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10:52 CET+01:00
Swedish schools' end of term church services are a relic of the past and should be scrapped, says a Church of Sweden bishop.

"End of term church services are a remnant of a time in which state, ideology, society, the people and the church were essentially a unified whole.

"I belong to a generation that went to school in the changing times of the 1960s.

"In the old school we had morning prayer time, including both psalms and prayers. It was embarrassing," wrote Bishop of Uppsala Ragnar Persenius in an opinion column in Thursday's Dagens Nyheter.

End of term is an important time for all pupils, and nobody should have to feel left out, he argues.

"We have long been living in a multi-denominational, multi-ethnic and pluralistic society. Is is still possible to continue with end of term church services?

"No, not without doing violence to ourselves as a church or to an untold number of pupils and teachers," wrote Persenius.

One solution proposed by the bishop involves hiding all liturgical garments in the sacristy and removing all prayers and blessings from the service.

A revised ceremony would include praise of the summer season and a reiteration of the importance of equal human rights without mentioning God's involvement.

Or better still, the Christmas service would be replaced by an invitation to advent prayers for all those interested, while the summer service would make room for voluntary church outings.

"Those who are interested can come along in the knowledge that we will be reading form the Bible, praying and giving our blessing," wrote Persenius.

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