Regional head Stefan Bergmark will take the helm for the Church of Sweden’s campaign during the London Olympics in August. Photo: Ewa Almqvist.
The Church of Sweden will have a greater presence than ever at the 2012 Olympics in London. Points of contact for Swedes – Café Svensson – will be offered in two churches, and mobile teams will patrol the city to meet up with Swedes on the move.
This will be the fourth time the Church of Sweden has accompanied Swedish citizens at an Olympic Games. In Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008, in partnership with Nordic sister churches, it offered a meeting place known as Café Scandinavia.
The Olympics attract a large number of Swedes, and the Church of Sweden aims to be present wherever they are. This year, the Church of Sweden will be independently running a major campaign, with the new addition of mobile teams. These will consist of three people, one of whom is a priest or deacon, and they will be present at gathering points and close to the arenas where Swedish athletes are competing, as well as in pubs. Six teams per day will be patrolling London during the Olympics.
“This time, we will be running a bigger campaign than we usually do, as we are expecting a lot of Swedes to be visiting London in 2012. We want to create the feeling of a home away from home,” says Stefan Bergmark, who is responsible for church and sport at the Church of Sweden Abroad, and who was a senior pastor in Melbourne during the Sydney Olympics and head of the Church’s activities in Athens and Beijing.
There will be fixed meeting places called Café Svensson in the two churches, Ulrika Eleonora kyrka and Sjömanskyrkan, and these will be open from 10 am to 10 pm. If a crisis situation should arise, there will be a special crisis team available with a dedicated 24-hour telephone number. As usual the Church of Sweden will be working with other churches, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Swedish Embassy on emergency response issues.
“We are happy that we are able to live up to the many expectations we have heard about among Swedes that have visited our meeting places during previous Olympic Games. We have also been able to help people solve all kinds of problems,” says Bergmark.
The Church of Sweden has had activities in London for over 300 years. Read more at www.svenskakyrkan.se/london (in Swedish). The senior pastor in London is Michael Persson, who is also on the steering committee for the Olympic campaign.
Information on the Church of Sweden’s presence during the London Olympics will be published as it becomes available at www.svenskakyrkan.se/london2012.