Church lands garner record profits

The Church of Sweden's forests, agricultural lands and funds are providing greater profits for the organization than ever before.

For the third year in a row, the Lutheran church’s house newspaper’s analysis of diocesan accounts indicated record results. Gross profits for 2006 have passed 800 million kronor ($115 million). Nearly 450 million kronor is being distributed to parishes and dioceses, according to Kyrkans Tidning.

Forestry was, as usual, the biggest contributor to church coffers, accounting for 369 million kronor, a figure that had only previously been beaten in 2005. Then, a storm in southern Sweden led to the felling of trees equivalent to several years’ normal timber production.

High growth in the economy has helped the church’s agricultural businesses, which last year saw profits increase by 20 percent. This was partly due to the sale of agricultural land, but was also helped by increased returns, according to the newspaper.