On 1-2 June a network was established within the Church of Sweden to improve expertise with regard to LGBT issues. Photo: Ewa Almqvist.
To strengthen expertise regarding LGBT issues at the Church of Sweden’s workplaces, employees from the dioceses of the Church of Sweden have established a national network. Over a period of two days, participants discussed the forms of this network and a process model for work with LGBT issues within the Church of Sweden.
The Church of Sweden is keen to strengthen LGBT expertise among employees and elected representatives, in order to function as a credible and safe meeting and working place where people can feel welcome whatever their gender expression, gender identity and sexual orientation.
“We are now taking an additional step to support increased awareness of these issues, which relate to our view of humanity and how we treat people. The national LGBT network will serve as a forum for exchanging experiences, inspiration and skills development,” says Inga-Lena Arvidsson, head of the development unit at the department for church life and social responsibility at the Central Church Office in Uppsala.
The Central Board took the decision in December 2014 to develop a process model for the work of strengthening LGBT expertise at the Church of Sweden’s workplaces. An important task during the first network meeting was to share views on the content and structure of the process model for going forward.
“We need to highlight the norms and structures that restrict us and look at how we can use the liberating message of the Gospel to continue our work with human value issues. These are vital issues, not just for certain groups in society, but for all of us,” says Inga-Lena Arvidsson.
On 1-2 June some 20 people from the dioceses of the Church of Sweden and the Central Church Office in Uppsala took part in the establishment of the LGBT network in Stockholm, along with representatives from the Church of Sweden’s employer organisation, Church of Sweden Youth and Sensus adult education association. The network meeting was led by Hannah Kroksson, LGBT Officer at the Central Church Office. The meeting was also attended by Vierge Hård from the Swedish Youth Federation for LGBTQ Rights, who ran a training session, and researcher Elisabeth Gerle, who gave a talk based on her research and latest book, which deals with Luther and Sensualism.