Photo: Magnus Aronson/IKON
The ecclesiastical training offered by the Church is to undergo reform. Deacons, parish educators, church musicians and priests must have a higher education and must have studied pastoral theology in their final year/term. The final year is to come under the auspices of an educational institute run by the Church and located in Uppsala. This was the decision reached today by the Committee for Education, Research and Culture.
"In the future the Church of Sweden will also need professional and well qualified staff in order to be able to run a high quality organisation. This is why training is needed which will meet future requirements and challenges," says Inger Gustafson, Committee chairperson.
"We also want the training in professional skills to make possible the choice of alternative occupations in society."
A standard level of training
This decision means that deacons, parish educators, church musicians and priests are to sit a final year or term providing a deeper ecclesiastical approach in their particular profession as seen from a pastoral theological perspective. It will be a supplementary training specific to these positions in the Church of Sweden. In order to be accepted, a bachelor's degree will be the minimum requirement for all except church organists. The position of priest will require a master's degree.
"There must also be a standard level of training for the various professional categories. This is to shape people's understanding of the tasks of their colleagues and the Church and an understanding of each other's skills, something which is essential since everyone will be working together at parish level," says Inger Gustafson.
An educational institute will be established
The Committee's decision means that the Church of Sweden will itself be responsible for the ecclesiastical aspects of the training. A cohesive educational organisation with an educational institute under independent management will be established in Uppsala. The courses will be run in collaboration with universities, higher education institutes and folk high schools.
"An educational institute of this kind will create greater flexibility as and when the needs of the pastorate and the education system in society change. There will also be a more efficient use of resources when the Church of Sweden is itself responsible for the training it offers," says Inger Gustafson.
The new organisation for training deacons, parish educators, church musicians and priests will open its doors in the autumn of 2014, and will be offering places to 150 - 240 full-time students per year. (The requirements for the new basic/professional training courses will come into force in August 2013.)
The Committee's decision will be submitted to the Central Board of the Church of Sweden and prepared as part of the report Activites and Annual Accounts intended for the General Synod in 2012.
Facts and statistics
Out of the 22,000 or so individuals employed by the Church, almost half of these, 10,500 in all, hold a position as deacon, parish educator, church musician or priest.
Statistics on employees and graduates and a summary of the reorganisation is available on the press room page of the Church of Sweden's website.