Monday, March 12, 2007
An important, but previously unmentioned, part of my Swedish experience thus far has been the faith community at a church just outside of Linköping Centrum, Ryttargårdskyrkan. From the first time I visited in August, I've been welcomed and encouraged to continue returning, which I have whenever I am in town (usually 3 out of 4 Sundays a month). With English-translated services, I'm able to actually feel like a part of the congregation and quickly moved from outside observer to participant, largely due to various members reaching out to me (not something Swedes are particularly known for...).
Ryttargårdskyrkan is from a Protestant, Evangelical Free background, one that is fairly familiar to the church communities I have been a part of in the States. While nationwide, only about 5% of Swedes attend church on a regular basis (most of Sweden is traditionally of the "Svenskakyrkan" or state Lutheran Church), this structured and intentional community of people has been irreplaceable for me to feel connected and to get to know Swedes on a deeper level. To all of you at Ryttargårdskyrkan who may be reading, "tack så mycket" for your continued welcome and interest in me.
The third picture above is the five themes that this church strives to uphold for this community:
After just one month of legitimate winter, springtime has hit Sweden. Today was 15 degrees Celsius, or 62 degrees Farenheit! I'm not naive enough to think that there won't perhaps be some more snow and cold weather in the coming weeks, but I think I have made it through the bulk of my first "svensk vinter." I feel a blog coming on....an ode to the majesty of spring. See you next week.