Svenska kyrkan

The Church of Sweden at national level is a new member of the Fossil Free Sweden initiative

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The Church of Sweden at the national level has joined the Swedish Government’s climate initiative Fossil Free Sweden in order to be part of achieving Sweden’s and the world’s climate targets. Climate efforts within the Church of Sweden cover everything from energy use in our churches and other properties here at home to efforts to tackle climate change in developing countries. One of the tasks of the national level is to support these efforts locally in the parishes and dioceses.

Lännäs Church. Photo: Magnus Aronson /Ikon
 

“Climate issues are crucial for our own future and for the future of coming generations. These issues raise fundamental existential and spiritual questions about how we see ourselves, our time here and now, and also the future of mankind,” says Sara Nordbrand, Head of Sustainability for the Church of Sweden at the national level.

Similar joint initiatives are occurring in many countries right now, and this week the world’s leaders will gather at the climate summit in Bonn (COP 23) to discuss how the Paris Agreement is to be implemented. Even in poorer countries, there are efforts to mitigate climate change, where religious communities are often involved in efforts to arrest climate change and create room for reflection.

“It is important to take in how urgent it is to work together and learn from others. This is why the Church of Sweden’s national level has joined the Fossil Free Sweden initiative,” says Sara Nordbrand.

In Sweden, the Church of Sweden at the national level is working to reduce its own emissions but also to support the dioceses and parishes in their climate efforts. Some examples are a joint effort to achieve sustainable property management, framework agreements with strong climate criteria, and sustainability funds which do not invest in the extraction of fossil energy but invest instead in climate solutions.

In our international development efforts, we and our sister churches see the impacts of climate change and try to build resistance to ongoing and accelerating climate change. The Church of Sweden believes that Sweden and other countries with greater capacity have a moral responsibility to take the initiative and do more. We see climate issues as issues of equity and justice, and have therefore pushed for a long time for an ambitious climate policy in Sweden and within the EU.

The Church of Sweden is present at the climate summit currently taking place in Bonn along with representatives of other Christian churches and other faiths in order to push for countries with greater capacity to lead the way, and for vulnerable countries to get the support they need to adapt and transition. Last week, spiritual leaders jointly published an appeal to humanity to “walk gently on the Earth” and to promote sustainable lifestyles.

“The transition away from fossil fuels is happening fast and affects the whole of society. The Church of Sweden has an important role to play as a land and property owner, and not least as a shaper of public opinion. It is therefore both welcome and important that they have decided to join the Fossil Free Sweden initiative,” says Svante Axlsson, National Coordinator for Fossil Free Sweden.

Linköping diocese joined the Fossil Free Sweden initiative some time ago.

CONTACT
Sara Nordbrand, Head of Sustainability for the Church of Sweden at the national level: sara.nordbrand@svenskakyrkan.se, +46(0)768-00 01 02 (press secretary)

Peter Söderberg, Communications Manager the Fossil Free Sweden initiative,peter.g.soderberg@regeringskansliet.se, +61(0)70-310 57 97

Facts about the Church of Sweden

The Church of Sweden is a registered faith community in Sweden, an open, national church that is governed by elected church representatives. In addition, bishops, priests and deacons have the right to make decisions on certain matters. They are responsible for the Church of Sweden’s doctrine being followed, while the elected representatives are responsible for ensuring a democratic process together with bishops, priests and deacons. The highest decision-making body is the General Synod, which convenes once each year. The highest ranking representative of the Church of Sweden is its Archbishop.

The Church of Sweden is divided into 13 diocese and about 1500 parishes/groups of parishes.

The Church of Sweden’s highest decision-making body is the General Synod, which convenes each autumn in Uppsala. It consists of members from all over the country, who decide on issues that are common to and overarching for the Church of Sweden.

The General Synod also deals for example with issues concerning how the Church of Sweden should be working with the climate issue, and concerning the format of the Church of Sweden’s divine services. The General Synod appoints the members of the Board of the Church of Sweden, where the Archbishop is the chair.

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