Baptism of fire for ‘horny’ church’s new name

Church leaders in Storuman, northern Sweden, are facing a barrage of protests from local worshippers after deciding a sexual connotation linked to the name Kåtakyrkan was no longer fitting and should be changed after 30 years.

“It’s not suitable for it to be called Kåtakyrkan, it’s too offensive,” said church council leader Olov Wärnick to newspaper Västerbottens-Kuriren.

“It can be completely misunderstood, especially by young people,” he added.

The word ‘kåt’ in Swedish means ‘horny’ but the origin of the name is linked to the style in which the church was built.

A ‘kåta’ is a hut and traditional dwelling inhabited by the Sami people, native to Sweden’s Lapland region.

A new name, Kyrkkåtan, has been proposed to the distaste of local churchgoers.

“Let the church keep its beautiful name which is appropriate for the area in which it was built,” said campaigner Esther Gustavsson.

She is one of around 60 local residents who have put their name to a petition objecting to the name change.

“To change an acceptable name of a public building shouldn’t be decided by a few people alone,” Gustavsson added.

“Other points of view should be taken into consideration before any decision is final.”

The question of whether to re-christen or not now lies with the local authorities.

If the church council does, however, win this battle, Esther Gustavsson and friends in the nearby villages of Kåtaholmen and Kåtaviken might have to start praying for divine intervention.

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