Meeting with Sweden’s Commission for Government Support for Faith Communities

SST Secretary General Åke Göransson presents SST symbol to Revd Debbie Hodge

SST Secretary Åke Göransson presents SST symbol to Revd Debbie Hodge

On 21 October Chief Officer Revd. Debbie Hodge and former Chair Barney Leith briefed staff members from SST, Sweden’s Commission for Government Support for Faith Communities, about the operation of multi-faith and belief healthcare chaplaincy in England and about the work and history of the HCFBG.

Initial contact came from Gunnel Andréasson, SST Desk Officer, who wrote:

The Swedish state has funds in order to enable different religious denominations to work within the field of health care chaplaincy. The Protestant Christian churches are well established in this work and the Catholics have had chaplains for a long time even though they are few. For many of the new religious communities in our country, such as the Orthodox Christian churches, the Buddhists and the Muslims, this is a new field to work in. Around 2005/2006 we got the first Orthodox and Muslim hospital chaplains but in the last three years the work has developed and we have got several chaplains from these two groups as well as from the Buddhists. But it is a new situation for us and connected to a large range of questions concerning training, cooperation between different faith groups etc.

One of the assignment from the Government to the Commission of State Support to Faith Communities is to support the religious denominations in this developing work and to channel the funds that the state provides.

The briefing, which took place at the offices of the Free Churches Group in Tavistock Square, was part of a four-day study trip that the SST staff made to London.

SST Secretary General Åke Göransson expressed STT’s gratitude for the opportunity learn about how healthcare chaplaincy works in the UK. Debbie Hodge welcomed the opportunity to link with SST and looked forward to further contacts.

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