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Swedish church losing 1 million members by 2020

TT/Roger Choate · 10 Jan 2010, 15:36

Published: 10 Jan 2010 09:15 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Jan 2010 15:36 GMT+01:00

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A prognosis cited by the official church magazine Kyrkans Tidning said the Church of Sweden, as the nation’s dominant religious body, will have six million members in 2020 compared to the present seven million. The Church of Sweden (Evangelical Lutheran) was the official state church in Sweden until the link was formally severed in 2000.

The decline in membership is expected to be 1.2 per cent every year until 2020, the prognosis said. Loss of revenues would approach 1 billion kronor ($140 million) by 2020.

Kykans Tidning did not state the specific reasons for the steady decline. It is known that since 1996 newly-borns no longer become automatic members of the denomination, which was formally separated from the State in 2000.

The Church is mainly supported through the “church tax” incorporated in personal income taxation, and which is voluntary. Taxpayers can opt out.

The projections are not catastrophic, according to Church Planning Director Erika Brundin, but “the Church must prepare itself for the changes that are anticipated.” This includes inter-church coordination of activities such as baptisms and confirmations as a cost-saving mechanism.

Story continues below…

“I believe the Church’s most marginalized period will be behind us after 2020, and that its relevance can increase,” said Brundin. “The number of religiously-inclined citizens should then rise, and the role of the Church in the lives of younger people can become more considerable.

“But I don’t think that means we’ll have more members.”

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TT/Roger Choate (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:03 January 10, 2010 by voiceofreason
Since I became a Christian a few years back, I have seen all the church I attended increase in membership significantly. I have never for once seen a church planning on losing its members even the reprobate ones.

This is a sad day for the Swedish church, they can't even increase biologically much less through spiritual\social impact.
12:22 January 10, 2010 by americanska
This is what happens when you give people a choice on their tax return. It's not in the swedish mentality to "give" money to their church of choice. They are used to getting it taken out of your pay - which I don't agree with.

So now they will end up closing a lot of those unsustainable village churches that are so nice and kept up but have 2 or 3 people attend on a weekly basis.
12:59 January 10, 2010 by Dr. Dillner
I believe that they are less a church than a social club and that this is the reason for their downturn.
13:05 January 10, 2010 by Alex Coman
You better say Swedish church could loose a lot of members by 2020.

Swedish church has the figures and I m sure is working now to fight against this tide.That is what the Church always did.

Not to forget - a lot of Swedish people will become muslims.
14:00 January 10, 2010 by RoyceD
It is still frightening that there are 7 million confused individuals wondering around Sweden right now.
14:51 January 10, 2010 by Bender B Rodriquez
There is no confusion neither a massive conversion to Islam. Swedish people are in general atheists and for us the church play the same role as our royal family, i.e. we don't use it but keep it for historic reasons.

It may come as a shock to Americans, but Swedish life is not centered around church. Church is for ceremonial purposes like weddings and funerals, nothing else...
15:22 January 10, 2010 by livinginsweden
I am shock that the government allows one small group of people to try and convince the larger group of gullible people, including children, with false promises and fear of the unknown to believe in something ... so intangible... god, heaven, eternal life, virgins, etc...

This is no different to promises made by Bernard Madoff to his gullible greedy investors ... or politicians making false promises during an election.

Thank common sense that 1 million is seeing reality ... this is good news as there will be less religious conflicts....

ha ha
16:01 January 10, 2010 by Militant Atheist
Close down all those stupid religious institutes. Make them pay tax in the mean time.
16:45 January 10, 2010 by Alex Coman
There are not non-religious persons, or, if there is some, their numbers are too small. In fact, people who abandon the true God and the true Church, become believers of some funny cults for illiterates (you know, ufo things, scientology ...). I m romanian, and I know a romanian yoga instructor who work for atheists in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, and he is seen like a god, and his believers drink his urine. For more information, his name is Gregorian Bivolaru.

The communists were true atheist, they say, and they closed churches, put priests in jail, and finally, they put Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ceausescu in God s place. And they started a idolatry which was a fully religious faith with worship, icons and churches lookalike. Not to forget, Hitler was a non-believer too, and a guy who believe only in science, just as communists did. Questions?
17:58 January 10, 2010 by Meedo
I am a muslim Living in Sweden,

It worries me that the Swedish chruch are losing numbers. Usually if people are acting like Christianity teaches they should be nice and charitable. But if people no longer are Christians then they will be a prey for racist idiologies and hate. I would like to think that true believing Christians are not the likes of Pat robertson , but more the like of Desmond Tutu.

If Swedish people don't feel secure spiritually, any muslim activity for them will seem like a threat ! Because at least Christians can understand how important a Mosque is to Muslims if they hold the church important to them . Or it wouldn't be eird for a muslim to go for a friday prayer during the lunch break , since there is a sunday prayer that is held importaant as well.

There are many posters on this forum, that think muslims are a threat. We are not a threat and we are not and will not and cannot take over Sweden. Many Muslimsimigrate back to their home countries . One can be proud of bieng a Swede and lets say Jordanian at the same time. Bringing the best of both worlds .

The world is diverse, it will continue to be so and it will even get more diverse. Muslims are nearly quarter of the human race. This will not change . My advice to some people here is to get to know a muslim than sit and write alarming posts about them.

God fortsätning Och Gott Nyt år! .-)


19:08 January 10, 2010 by dsc
Ah, Sweden!

1. Loss of family values = no population growth --> impending extinction of blue eyed blonds

2. Now loss of faith = installation of earthly 'god'; decadence; --->Islam

We are watching.
21:08 January 10, 2010 by Reptile
Most Swedes"come out" of the Swedish Church because they are very much secular or atheists who don't wish to pay church tax. There are some Swedes who do convert to Islam but the number is very low (mostly due to marriage). Apathy is on the rise among Swedes to basically all religions and even a lot of Muslims in Sweden are becoming less strict and more secularized especially their kids. I know a Muslim woman from Iraq who has 7 children and she told me that none of them is interested in Islam and they dress and act as any other child/teenager in Sweden. But naturally there will always be extremists in every religion and in every country.
02:39 January 11, 2010 by Investor612
That's what happens when you "adjust" your principles to accomodate contemporary fads. The Swedish church, like many other European denominations and some American denominations like the ELCA Lutherans, is trying to appease and attract the people who will never support them under any circumstances.

When you stand for nothing, nothing is what you wind up with.
09:06 January 11, 2010 by Uncle
This is the result of "being dashionable". Swedish church changes it's dogmas according to the latest progress in the society. Gay marriages and lesbian bishops are a clear disregard of DOGMAS. Like denying the virginity of Mary.

Even for a non-religious it is painful to see how this organization is bending over to any interest group.
09:18 January 11, 2010 by wenddiver
Sad at a time when Sweden needs it more than ever, they just lay down and watch or actively participate in the degeneracys destroying Western civilization.

That's not how the Pastors would have acted in the past. What next the first heroin addict Bishop or necropheliac Pastor.

I just feel sorry for the little Swedish children, what kind of ugly world is the secular left building for them.
09:48 January 11, 2010 by Grippen
Of course Kykans Tidning could not state any specific reasons - it is extremely politically incorrect in this country to write that:

1. General public strongly dislikes homosexual weddings and bishops.

2. Pretty soon there will be more muslims than christians in this country.
16:06 January 11, 2010 by muda
Lots of things make people shy away from the church. Apart from the tax subject, homosexual marriage be apart of the problems. I wonder whether homosexual marriage is allowed and written in the Holy Bible.
17:44 January 11, 2010 by farnoxo
And thus Sven Svensson descended the mountain and said unto his flock - "Behold I bring unto thee a new 10 commandments"

"Thou shalt always respect your skatteverkett, forsakeringskassan and all other divine bodies of the state, for they are mighty and they shalt have full sway over your lives"

"Thou shalt covet thy neighbour's possessions, for if his car or his house or his flat screen TV be greater than thine, it is not righteous in the eyes of our prophet Jante"

"Thou shalt respect, obey and honour your children for not only are they more mighty than you in the law, but they are also more mighty in the eyes of the flock and shall never do harm"

"Thou shalt worship the fish that has been pickled or rotted thrice a year: Yule, Easter and Midsommer. Though they may taste foul and bitter, they be as a reminder to the sacrifices of the ancients"

"Thou shalt worship and dance to the music of dansband and schlager for this is the music that pleases the lord. Thou shalt also make worship to this music once a year in the Eurovision song contest"

"Thous shalt do nothing when the sun is at is zenith in the summer, for I declare this to be two months of rest. Woe unto those that shalt not descend to their summer stuga for they are not righteous or worthy in the eyes of the flock"

"Thou shalt partake sparingly of the intoxicating liquids that are distilled from the grape, the hops and the potato. In his wisdom, the lord shalt provide of these liquids, but only at inconvenient times and places."

"Thou shalt hide away thy head and body when the sun is at its nadir in the cold winter. Those that shalt make merry and converse with his neighbor shall displease the lord greatly. The lord however shall look kindly upon those who shall undertake their pilgrimage to the holy lands of Thailand".

"Thou shalt never take unto thyself the might of the unilateral decision. It is for the flock to reach consensus."

"Those who are not of the flock must prove their willingness to conform to the ways of the flock. They shalt struggle mightily to get the mark of the flock, for this mark, the ID Kort, is righteous and worthy."

And thus the disciples of Sven Svensson rejoiced for they saw that what he had said was good and right. It was Lagom.
05:04 January 12, 2010 by JoeSwede

Very Good! And it was lagom is the kicker.
09:57 January 12, 2010 by SamQam
The reason i moved to sweden is because it is a "religiousless" country. The moment this changes ill be the first to leave.

There is no place for religion in a civilized society.
13:57 January 12, 2010 by dsc
"There is no place for religion in a civilized society. "

What a stupid thing to say.
22:04 January 12, 2010 by lingonberrie
Forecasts twenty years hence are like words shouted into a gale-force wind.

There could be a World War by that time, and mortals being what they are would flock again to their created religions by the droves.

There are no atheists in fox holes; and the so-called brave among you who will witness death and body parts and screams and mortal terror and unbearable agony and blood gushing in buckets can come back here to post about your independence from a higher power.

There is nothing so false as false bravado and these blogs are full of those of that insecure ilk.
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