The review group for the Book of Worship concluded its final meeting today. The final draft of the revised Book of Worship will be submitted to the Central Board of the Church of Sweden later in the spring. “We have now produced a draft version of the Book of Worship for the whole of the Church of Sweden, a practical book designed to work well in all churches, ranging from big cathedrals to small chapels. We think we have produced a good draft version that the whole of the group stand behind,” says Chair of the review group, Bishop Emeritus Esbjörn Hagberg.
“The review group has looked closely at all the comments received, and everything has been put to the test,” says Esbjörn Hagberg. It’s been an open and transparent process, inspiring and at the same time a job that carries a heavy burden of responsibility to include the opinions expressed in comments and make the best out of different people wanting different things. It’s been important to listen to the criticism, which of course shows that many people have been actively engaged in this process.
Esbjörn Hagberg stresses that the Book of Worship must be in accord with the Church of Sweden’s faith, doctrine and life, and manifest the different traditions of the Church.
“All the parishes should feel that the Book of Worship is their own, and our task has been to assure its theological and expressive range. You cannot please everyone all the time, but there should be enough to like for everyone.”
“I would like to stress that the Book of Worship must encompass a great deal of variety,” says Catharina Nyström Höög, professor in Swedish and member of the review group. “Language is controlled by the situation in which you are operating, and in this case, the Book needs to function in many different situations. We have worked through the texts right down to the punctuation level.”
Concerning the music in the Book of Worship, the choices have been about unity in relation to diversity. Organist Andreas Söderberg says that the review group has listened and absorbed all the criticism.
“A lot of very wise comments were received, and we have made changes where we found it possible to do so. Some of the important decisions we made were that all music should be playable on the organ, but that there should be chord symbols on all music so that it will work for traditions that do not read music, where music is learnt by ear.
Once the final adjustments have been made and the final draft has been proofread, it will be submitted to the Board of the Church of Sweden (date yet to be determined). Then the Board, subsequent to opinions from the Doctrinal Commission of the Church of Sweden’s General Synod and the Bishops’ Conference, will produce a document for consideration and decision at the autumn’s General Synod.
Work with the Book of Worship has been a long process in which one of the starting points was adapting the Swedish translation the Bible in 2000.
In 2001, the General Synod decided to identify supplementary music for the divine service “of a simple, happy and popular type”.
In April 2006, the Board of the Church of Sweden adopted a directive for the continuation of the review of the Book of Worship, where three important tasks remained:- Adaptation to the Bible 2000- Adaptation to the Church Ordnance with regard to canon law and instructions- Work on the formulations of the liturgy in order to find a more inclusive language.
In 2006, the Board of the Church of Sweden also stated that the orders of worship should reflect the faith, creed and doctrine of the Church of Sweden in an era marked by local manifestations and a great wealth of alternatives.
In 2009, the Board of the Church of Sweden decided on a “more comprehensive review”.
- Bishop Emeritus Esbjörn Hagberg, Chair
- Johannes Landgren, professor of organ and improvisation at the Academy of Music and Drama at the University of Gothenburg (from 2 December 2016).
- Catharina Nyström Höög, professor in Swedish at Dalarna University, guest professor at Uppsala University.
- Lena Sjöstrand, Doctor of Divinity and cathedral chaplain in Lund
- Jan Olof Aggedal, Doctor of Divinity, vicar and rural dean in Lomma (previously in the final draft group)
- Carl Sjögren, Cathedral Dean in Skara (previously in the final draft group)
- Andreas Söderberg, organist at Nederluleå parish (previously in the final draft group).