A Year in Gothenburg – January

January 18 – Epiphany 2

The Sunday School, which meets about once a month, left us for Haga parish rooms at the end of the first hymn.  The gospel reading was about Nathanael.  “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  We might ask, “Can anything good come out of Hammarkullen”?  Or “out of Askim?” Or “out of Rosenlund?”  We all have prejudices – some we know about, some we don’t.  Nathanael at least owned up to his: “an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

After the service, there was a good buzz of people standing around in small groups talking over coffee and plum cake.  The Standing Committee left for our meeting, over lunch in an Indian restaurant.

January 19 – Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Started reading the commentaries for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity from the CTBI web site. The text is John 4, and the first comment was about the clash between Jews and Samaritans. The material this year comes from Brazil, where we are told that competition between the churches has had a destructive effect. Communities extol their own virtues and the benefits that accrue to their adherents in order to attract new members… As a result there has been violence and disrespect to other religions and traditions… We need ‘wells’ to lean upon, to rest and let go of disputes … places where we can learn that true worshippers worship “in Spirit and in Truth”.

January 20

knitting-md bakA busy afternoon for the University Chaplaincy team (Studentprästerna).  My Church of Sweden colleagues Katarzyna and Lars hosted the first knitting and baking cafe meetings of the term respectively, while our Roman Catholic counterpart Björn and I went to a Welcome Fair for international students.

Since most of the international students who expresss any interest in churchgoing are Catholic, it is useful to have him along.  Many different countries represented, and a surprising number from the Far East – China, Hong Kong,  Korea.