Swedish council brings together different faiths, hopes to connect with those hostile to religion
A national interfaith council was formed in Sweden recently to engage different faiths in dialogue, and to generate understanding with those hostile to religion, the Ecumenical News International (ENI) said recently.
Archbishop Anders Wejryd of the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden convened the council, which was composed of Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh representatives. It was formed on May 4 at the archbishop’s residence in Uppsala, ENI reported.
In his opening remarks, Archbishop Wejryd said, “No religion is an island.Our time needs new ways to uncover human dignity and sanctity. The search for justice, peace, a sustainable environment and concern for human dignity cannot be undertaken by anyone of us in isolation,” according to a transcript in Svenska Kyrkan.
Archbishop Wejryd added “Change can be costly for those who dare to take the lead. It makes a difference for them if they have support from people within religions and faith-traditions. My hope is that this meeting can be part of that support. To that comes, however, also our own responsibility to speak into our own religious communities,” according to Svenska Kyrkan.
About 87 per cent of Sweden’s nine million people belong to the Church of Sweden.
The interfaith council is made up of 15 people and will meet twice a year, the ENI reported.
“We have created a national avenue for religious leaders in Sweden to come together, not a new organization,” said Wejryd, in the ENI report.
The archbishop also said he hopes to strengthen the freedom to believe in and to practice religion and to open up public discussion of ethics and spirituality.