A Year in Gothenburg – May

May 3: International Family Service

Lots of songs from our guest choir, African Roots.  Our own choir focussed not on songs from different countries but for those celebrating a worldwide faith.  As usual, I passed the globe round and asked people to say which country or countries they came from.  Someone even succeeded in throwing it up to the balcony so that our choir could join in.  As usual, an excellent lunch afterwards.  It was fine enough to be in the churchyard, which drew in some who had not attended the service.

May 9: Memorial Service for Barbro Chennell

We had held a similar service a few years ago when Barbro’s husband John died.  The family organized this with the help of a family friend who took the lead in the service.

Mid-afternoon, I met Archdeacon Peter who had travelled by train from Oslo.

May 10: Eucharist and Meeting with the Archdeacon

Peter preached and presided.  After the service, the committee, without me, met with the Archdeacon to learn about the process for appointing a new Chaplain.  Two hours was not really enough, but they continued their discussion after he had left for the station to catch his next train.

May 11: Women Clergy Conference in Lyon

Left early on Monday morning for a three-day conference, returning late Wednesday night…

May 14: Ascension Day Pilgrimage

… then up early on Thursday morning to catch the bus to Stenungsund for a three-day pilgrimage walk on Orust, totalling 60 km and covering most of the new pilgrim paths on the island.  Although the paths connect 8 churches, we only went into one, for a Pilgrim Mass on the first night.  The logistics of feeding a variable number of people in the parish halls where we stayed overnight were greatly simplified because non-walkers did almost all the work.

I have always tried to encourage people to join in with Swedish activities on Ascension Day, which is a public holiday in Sweden, rather than having a service of our own.  It’s hard enough to get people to turn up on Maundy Thursday.  But a new Chaplain may think differently.

May 17: an ordinary Sunday

After all the recent excitement, it was a change to have a Sunday with nothing special happening.

May 19: Ladies’ Evening Group planning the Bazaar


May 21: Planning the Ecumenical Service

We met at the Danish Church and thrashed out the programme for UN Sunday in October, which Birna from the Icelandic congregation will print.  It had already decided that I would be preaching, on this my last such occasion, and it was left that I would choose the bible readings and one hymn to fit my sermon.  Next year they will try to get Bishop Per to preach.

May 22: A thesis evening

Nancy Nenonen invited me to her thesis evening at Feskekyrkan, the first time I had been to such an event.  I had attended the thesis defence of one of the lecturers on the Master in Communication course, but not the party afterwards.  This time it was the other way round: I did not realize I was invited to the defence as well.  Very enjoyable, and most of the speeches were in English.

May 24: Pentecost

Quite a few followed my suggestion of turning up in red or orange clothes to repesent the flames of Pentecost.  It (Acts 2:1-11) is a great story, and well worth telling again, but the important thing is what the coming of the Holy Spirit means for us and in us today.  The choir sang an anthem beautifully.

May 30: The Bazaar

Up at 7 so that I could pick up rubbish in the churchyard before the tent team turn up at 8.  The first tent was a bit of a struggle – the two different four-way joints for the ridge and for the top of each leg were not easy to distinguish – but then we got the hang of it, and things went more smoothly.  They were really needed today, as it rained most of the time.  I was indoors, with a collection of pilgrim books I had put together, and Jeanette had a large section of children’s books, so there were three different bookstalls.  Live music from Anna and Noriko.  Finished at 3, but there was still clearing up, tents to take down, and money to count.  I got away at 4.30.

May 31: Trinity Sunday

After the service, the Church Committee had an open meeting to get people’s ideas about the Parish Profile and Job Specification for my successor.  My presence was not required, so I had another test walk for next Saturday’s pilgrimage.