Full text: The national Church of Sweden

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§ 10.—~PRESENT CONDITION. 427 
(pp. 42-3). Besides the legal services, most parishes (all 
but fifteen) have these Bibel-forklaringar. Children’s ser- 
vices are held in about sixty of the larger town and country 
parishes. There are only twenty-five Church Sunday 
Schools, but fifty Free Church ones, and one Socialist. 
Services of preparation for holy communion are not 
popular. Generally what we should call ‘‘ mission ser- 
vices,’ held outside the churches, seem more popular than 
those in church, even when the man who conducts them 
is the same. It is suggested that the sermons preached in 
church are too long. Probably also both heating and 
lighting are imperfect. The attendance in church is poor 
in one hundred cases, fair or tolerable in eighty, and 
satisfactory in fifteen. In only ten is an increase observ- 
able (p. 61). There is a serious decline in the number of 
communicants, and not eight per cent. of the qualified 
adults come to communion. Yet there are some cases of 
very large numbers. Monthly communion is, 1 believe, 
the ordinary rule. 
Of other services, the churching of women has been 
generally given up. It is, perhaps, retained only in 
twenty parishes (p. 66). Baptism in church appears to be 
confined to forty parishes, and that chiefly in summer time. 
Yet, on the whole, children are usually baptized. In more 
than fifty parishes there is a number of persons, more or 
less, who are not confirmed, and yet still belong to the 
Swedish Church (p. 67). This would seem to be remark- 
able since, until lately, confirmation was a legal require- 
ment. Apparently the clergy have often failed to seek out 
personally those who did not send in their names, and have 
required too high an age (fifteen years complete) for con- 
firmation (p. 67). Clearly a transformation of the 
approach to confirmation into a personal act of the will in- 
stead of a legal requirement is very much needed. Pre- 
paration for confirmation is, indeed, more elaborate and 
thorough than is usual in England, and there seems no 
reason why the rite should not be restored to its proper 
place in public estimation. The confession of faith in it is
	        
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