I started to write this blog post in Swedish but thought it would be interesting also for those who do not understand Swedish to read. Hopefully Swedish readers will understand as well.
Yesterday two meetings were held in Uppsala. Both were held in preparation of the upcoming election of New Archbishop for Church of Sweden. Firstly representatives for the 13 dioceses met. 13 Diocesan Councils and 13 Chapters (which maybe could be described as Ministerial Councils) were present. In that way every Diocese are part of the process. In the afternoon all the priests, deacons and a number of lay persons from Uppsala Diocese met. At those two meetings names were forwarded. All in all 10 names.
Today we have read in different church media that some of the persons, whose name was put forward, have declined. To me it seems as if only seven (7) names remain. This is the short list:
Rt Rev, Dr Antje Jackelén, Bishop of Lund Diocese
Rt Rev, Dr Ragnar Persenius, Bishop Suffragan in Uppsala Diocese
Rt Rev, Dr Per Eckerdal, Bishop of Göteborg Diocese
Rt Rev Esbjörn Hagberg, Bishop of Karlstad Diocese (has declined)
Rt Rev Hans Stiglund, Bishop of Luleå Diocese (has declined)
Rt Rev Åke Bonnier, Bishop of Skara Diocese (I believe he has also declined)
Rt Rev Graham Cray Bishop, Church of England
Rt Rev Thomas, Bishop in the Coptic Church, Egypt
Dr. Cristina Grenholm, Church Director of Theology, Uppsala
Very Rev Johan Dalman, Arch Dean, Strängnäs
On the website of Church of Sweden one can read more about the election. Let me quote this:
A nominating election will be held on Wednesday 5 September. Candidates receiving at least 5% of the votes go through to the next round. However, there must be at least 5 candidates. If at least 5 candidates do not receive 5% or more, those who receive fewer votes can also be included. The eligibility of those nominated is scrutinised by the Church of Sweden’s Bishops' Disciplinary Committee.
At this nomination election more names can be brought forward. Most probably it will be difficult for any new name to get more than 5 % of the votes, but you never know.
What strikes me is the almost total absence of a discussion about the visions held by the candidates. Even on Twitter and Facebook names and titles are dominating (like in the short list above). This is sad. Maybe it has to do with the upcoming Church election to be held later in September. My reading is that the leadership is afraid of more people leaving Church of Sweden, which was a State Church until 2000. At the matter of fact it still has close links with the State. Sometimes it feels as if we are electing a Director General rather than a Spiritual leader.
The most interesting part is that two bishops from other countries are suggested: Rt Rev Graham Cray Bishop, Church of England and Rt Rev Thomas, Bishop in the Coptic Church, Egypt. But I doubt that any of them will get enough votes. It would be too radical to get somebody from another country.
Dear readers, please keep this election in your prayers. It is needed, as always!