Surreal – but nice! This comment from the movie Notting Hill might sum up how I feel about being in Sweden right now. I live in South Africa and I am very happy with that. Nevertheless I got an opportunity to participate in a conference in Uppsala starting tomorrow. So, a few months ago I bought a ticket (from a gift I got when I resigned as parish priest in Kalmar earlier this year).
I left Pietermaritzburg Thursday morning at 8.30 and spent a few hours at O R Tambo (Johannesburg). Via Addis Ababa and Kairo I reached Stockholm Friday morning just passed 7. I managed to be in time for a meeting at Church of Sweden head office, which started at 9.30. At 16.00 I left and began a trip to Kalmar together with three of my children. We arrived around 22.00. Saturday morning we worked in the garden at our cottage, which was the purpose of our road trip. (A fourth child came via train from Gothenburg and joined us.) Saturday afternoon I spent with some friends and the evening with the two daughters and two sons.
Sunday we went for high mass in St. Birgitta Church and thereafter lunch with my in laws. After that back to the cottage. We filled a trailer with some furniture and started our six hours trip back to Uppsala. We got there quite late in the evening. Today I returned the trailer to the garage and in a few hours I will have lunch with a colleague, who will work as a lecturer at Makumira University in Tanzania.
Tomorrow the conference starts:
I will read a paper in the morning, in a seminar together with two other scholars. The theme is:
Lutheran Identity in a Global World 1
The three papers are:
“Burning Issues” for Lutheran Churches. Göran Gunner, Associate Professor at Uppsala University, Researcher at Church of Sweden Research Unit.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia in the Context of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod and The Church of Sweden. Kalle Tapani Kuusniemi, Researcher in the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Theology, Helsinki, Finland.
Unity in Lutheran diversity – how to speak and hear the truth in love. Wittenberg, Dar-es-Salaam, Budapest, Dodoma, Addis Ababa, and beyond. (Myself).
Late Thursday evening I go back to South Africa. I will reach Pietermaritzburg Friday afternoon. After a very interesting and so far rewarding week. Surreal but nice.