Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Swedish rite in English

The Church of Sweden last December approved a Service of blessing for registered partnership.

You can read the English translation of this text, by going to Kelvin Holdsworth’s blog. (It’s a small PDF file.)

Here’s the news report from last December: Church of Sweden gives gay couples church blessing.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 8:33am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: News

Well done the LC of S !

And to think this Church is 'in Communion' with the C of E--and therefore the entire AC presumably !

I couldnt open the pdf file, myself, so am left wondering--but the taster was interesting.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 9:17am GMT

Looks like the ABC is going to have to kick this lot out too (I mean, ask them to comply with Windsor)

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 9:20am GMT

How remarkable that, the colder the climate, the easier it seems to be to just get on with letting people be people.

Perhaps the Anglican Communion should start learning to communicate in Swedish...

Posted by: kieran crichton on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 10:01am GMT

Ah, how the kingdom-building dreams of the ConsEvs flourish - now NP wants to excommunicate and discipline the Church of Sweden!

Anyone for hubris?

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 10:38am GMT

The PDF opened all right, but the first page is blank unless one scrolls down a bit...

Seriously, the remarkable thing here is the re-introduction of the Mass. The 1811 Handbook did away with that for the Vigsel, the church ceremony.

We have had calvos here too... they ruled the State and tried to rule the Church ;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 11:54am GMT

Many thanks to all in Swedish society and church who help show us another way forward, living together, and - gasp - worshipping together.

What a blessing to be gay and gay-friendly in just our own era. It matters.

Thank goodness, thank God.

Posted by: drdanfee on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 3:01pm GMT

>>>Looks like the ABC is going to have to kick this lot out too

Maybe Rowan could just send one of his Nigerian overlords to Sweden to cast the demons out of them all.

Posted by: JPM on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 4:58pm GMT

a very nice service. I hope that someone takes a good look at it when we, as Americans, start revising the 1979 BCP.

Although perhaps by then the fights will be all over and the next generation not need two different marriage services but be back to having only one for straight and gay/lesbian Christians.

Looking at rates of acceptance and opinions for the under 40 crowd versus the over 40 crowd, I would think that what we could gently call generational change will bring us there in 15 to 20 years.

But until that happy point is reached for the church, interim services such as this are a good thing.

Posted by: Dennis on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 6:11pm GMT

It's a little bit of a hyperbole (sorry Simon et al) but the Nordic people are demonstrating leadership in other ways too.

For example, this article from Ekklesia http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/content/news_syndication/article_060111norway.shtml

There are some countries that are doing a better job of recognising idolatry (e.g. State control and worship) or hypocrisy (e.g. imposed celibacy for GLBTs but not heterosexuals).

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 8:26pm GMT

Just to make a little, picky point--the vows don't include an explicit reference to sexualy exclusivity. There is no "forsaking all others" clause as there would be in a heterosexual marriage. There have been gay thinkers which have suggested a "non-monogamy monogamy" which believes that open relationships can fit under the heading of "faithful." I think a Christian blessing should include a vow of lifelong sexual exclusivity, whether the blessing is for a gay or straight relationship. But I absolutely support blessings for gay marriage which include sexual exclusivity.

Posted by: James on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 9:29pm GMT


Just one question about your posting - "But I absolutely support blessings for gay marriage which include sexual exclusivity."

I don't disagree with you that a strong argument can be made for the benefits of sexual exlusivity within a relationship. But I admit that for myself that argument comes not from my faith, but from my personal experience, both my own experience, and witnessing the experiences of my friends.

But on what do you base your argument James, your own experiences and beliefs, or on your understanding of Christian teaching and theology? For if we were to go to the bible we would see that a huge number of relationships presented to us were NOT sexually exclusive. Many true servants of God had a multiplicity of wives.

Is it possible to make a claim that God wants us to be sexually exclusive?


Posted by: simon dawson on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 12:53am GMT

Mynster - I don't like hubris.

My favourite word at the moment is "Tanzania!"

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 7:11am GMT

Ah there you go, mynsterpreost, bursting my bubble: NP is so much easier to read, if you don't notice the byline (and can thus take it as appropriate Anglican *facetiousness*! ;-/)

Good on ya, Swedes!

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 7:30am GMT

Come on, NP, you missed trick there.
"Hubris" is a concept from Greek pagan religion. IIRC those who commit it find themselves pursued by the Furies, winged females girded with snakes. I'm sure you could think of some suitable parallel...;-)

Posted by: cryptogram on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 11:19am GMT

Crowing, "Tanzania" sounds a pretty good example of hubris at work to me!

I wonder whether the Tanzanian meeting re-run would be quite the same, now that the world has woken up to the Nigerian legislation, and +Harare's complicity in the Zimbabwean catasrophy makes the pure and impeccably upright African Christian tradition look rather tarnished. Would the reaffirmers get such a compliant audience against the current backdrop?

When even the reasserters are looking for long spoons with which to sup with ++Abuja, "Tanzania!" may come back to haunt them.

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 11:42am GMT

Very proud to be a member of the Church of Sweden, but you cannot believe how the conservative wing of the church has been bitching about this blessing ceremony. Thankfully we have a number of progressive bishops, most of all former archbishop KG Hammar (1998-2006).

Posted by: Swedish Lutheran on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 12:34pm GMT

You are evil, aren’t you, James? The will to mis-represent and bear false witness to your neighbour seems without end.

Were a pre-Tridentine church. We don’t have your “forsaking all others”. And that is how things will continue in these lands.

The “… to live in trust and love…” or alternately “It means being faithful to each other…” comes at the very beginning of the ceremony, in the Allocution.

Trust = trohet, which means both “faith” and “faithfulness”.

This Allocution is brought forth from the 1529 Manual, the first Swedish language one, a translation of the 13th century formulas.

Originally it was part of the Consensus spoken by Bride and Groom in the porch, before entering the church itself for Mass, or alternately, the priest could give the Allocution (and a Blessing) at the Betrothal, the civil ceremony in the Bride’s home (until 1915/1918 a Betrothal was a legal Marriage).

Bible readings were introduced only in the 1986 Manual, in an effort to re-theologize the very civil-religious 1811/1917/1948. These are mostly new and a far better selection.

In the 1571 Church Order (Swedish cannons) AB Laurentius Petri tried to dissuade from the (heathen) Prayer over the Ring (a Sign of Ward, a goddess), but it was largely continued – and reaffirmed in the 1693 State church Manual.

The present form of the Prayer is from 1986, which also introduces the Hollywood usage of 2 rings ;=)

The alternative vows, both including the Hollywood “until death parts us” entered the Ecumenically inspired 1986 by way of American films… The traditional wording is “to love you in Lust and Want”.

(Everybody here knows how an Anglican marriage rite looks like, but few realize that a Swedish one is rather different: no walking down the Aisle, no “for ever keep his peace” – which was originally part of the Banns).

The First intercession here consists of (parts of) the text of the medieval Bridal Mass, made a Prayer in 1811 (with new music in 1894). The second intercession here is the 1811 to 1986 First.

As I did tell you all, the important thing about the new Rite is the return of the Mass as a viable alternative, it was ejected by the 1811 Manual.

My prediction is, that this Rite looks like, the future Rite for all will look like.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 2:44pm GMT

crypto - sorry, I am lost mythology

mynster - I am tired of saying it but I can be against corrupt bishops in Zim and against the Nigerian legislation but for the traditional, orthodox reading of scripture - in fact exactly that reading will lead me to be against the first two.

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 3:24pm GMT

Simon, one of the arguments against gay blessings is that we must rework traditional sexual morality in order to include gays. Traditional marriage rites have included "forsaking all others, 'til death do us part." I don't think that should be changed for gays or straights. What you're suggesting is what people are afraid of--the inclusion of gays implies a watering down of sexual standards. I don't think that gay inclusion means changing the rules--both gay and straight couples should vow to be lifelong, sexually exclusive partners to each other. I don't think the church should split over gay inclusion, but I personally would leave the church if it changed the fundamental basis of marriage, which is lifelong monogamy.

Posted by: James on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 4:28pm GMT

James, life long monogamy, has already been replaced (if it ever existed), in the C of E and TEC (etc) by 'serial monogamy', which, as we all know, is not monogamy at all. Evangelical and conservative believers are as caught up in divorce and 're-marriage' as any other churchmanship.The Church has accomodated itself to this, in practice, on the ground. As you have not left the church to date, perhaps you never will.

I note that the heterosexual mainstream (if you will pardon the expression) always tries to attribute its own ambivalence and diversity of sexual and relationship patterns and practices to the lgbt people, and for us to bear this, as a disowned & porjected shadow.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts... on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 6:46pm GMT


I very much *appreciate* your history of Swedish liturgics---but I don't think your attack on James' intentions is warranted. As someone who is all too often "guilty" of simple ignorance myself, I think I know the difference between ignorance and malevolence. (i.e., "the one who is not against us, is for us"! ;-/)

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 6:57pm GMT


I must admit that I mourn serial monogamy. I think it represents a generation (or more) of humanity that have become emotionally disposessed.

I applaud that violent and abusive relationships can end safely, but would rather that the abuse never occurred in the first place.

I regret that the expectations of life long relationships are so severely hampered, that the engagements of relationships have become yet another commodity to be traded in the market place, and that economically there are huge hurdles towards extended families that are loyal to each other. That loyalty in part being between two spouses, but it also extends to the ability to provide care for the frail and disabled throughout their lifetimes too.

Reverence in relationships will not come through excluding the possibility to others, but through affirming the need for a reverence beyond legalism and commodity transactions. It will be easier to revere intimate relationships when we revere all relationships - including with Gaia and our enemies.

The weakest link in our relationship chain is the one that causes the most harm to all our relationships. The jewel of the relationship with God or our spouse can only remain around our neck if the whole chain is intact. A broken link risks losing the most precious jewels and whole chain of creation.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 8:27pm GMT

I claim no real knowledge, but I remember some statistics that Victorian marriage lasted on average as long as today's. Isn't it also true that different life expectancies and economic realities determine the length of a "life long" marriage?

I claim special interest - I am divorced myself, after a marriage of 20 years. I don't see my marriage as a failure but as something that was a success for many years but then came to an end (and, no, it were not shallow reasons that caused the end, although I will not elaborate!).
It's not a case of a broken link losing precious jewels, but more a case of an outgrown flowerpot bursting and allowing 2 dying plants to find new life and thereby strengthening the whole chain of creation rather than allowing it to wither and die.
Sad? Yes!! Much to repent? Yes!! But nevertheless important and, fortunately, showing much new growth and new hope!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 8:59pm GMT

What you say about serial monogamy may be true, but you prove the point--you goal is not inclusion of gays, your goal is using the inclusion of gays to change sexual standards for everybody. I believe gays should be welcomed into the church and offered the same blessings currently offered to straight couples--and be accountable to the same standards as straight couples.

You believe that gays should be welcomed into the church, and that we should at the same time, change the requirements for sexual exclusivity and permanance in marriage. In doing so, you are equating "gay" with "sexual freedom," and they really have nothing in common. There is nothing about being gay which requires "special rules for special people" or a reworking of the old rules.

I support the inclusion of gays. I do not support changing the marriage ideals (however poorly practiced) of lifelong monogamy.

Posted by: James on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 10:02pm GMT


I hope you mourn the loss of that first marriage, I know I do mine.

The imagery of the jewel matches a study that went up on www.torah.org today http://www.torah.org/learning/women/class68.html

My prayers are that you and others find it interesting. One of the things I love about the Jews is that they acknowledge that if their women had not gone out into the fields, their faith (and thus knowledge of God) would have died before God's time to annoint Moses to lead them out of slavery.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 7:28am GMT

Carl-Bertil Ytterberg Bishop of Västerås, speaking on behalf of the Central Church Board, today announces that the Church of Sweden is willing to perform legally binding ceremonies/registrations of Partnerships in Church.

Today registrations of Partnerships are made separately, whereas a regular marriage ceremony in church also gives access to the legal provisions of the Marriage Act.

The move conforms to the expected Proposals of the Revised (= "gender neutral") Marriage Law Committee, to be made public next Wednesday 21st of March.

+Ytterberg says he wants the term "äktenskap", marriage to continue to refer to two-gender marriages only - but as all of today's new articles put "vigsel" (the ceremony up to now for heterosexuals only), gifta sig (= marry) and "ingå äktenskap" (contract marriage, in their headlines this might prove tricky...


Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 5:26pm GMT
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