As part of a “Coronaspection” project in which world religious leaders share wisdom in times of crisis, Church of Sweden Archbishop Dr Antje Jackelén was featured in a lively conversation with Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein, director of The Elijah Faith Institute.
Through Coronaspection, The Elijah Faith Institute is bringing together world religious leaders for their insights on faith during the time of the coronavirus, with a sense of solidarity and interconnectedness of humanity.
Jackelén said that, in Sweden, people are highly anxious. “The main issue is about anxiety and uncertainty when it comes to Sweden,” she said. “We are a stable society, and have been for a long time, so we are not used to a crisis like this."
Rabbi Goshen-Gottstein observed that, for the Church of Sweden, the main challenges are pastoral in nature. “It’s a case of adapting,” he reflected.
“People are adapting quite quickly,” agreed Jackelén. “We have lots and lots of digital meetings.”
Rabbi Goshen-Gottstein asked Jackelén to reflect on adapting as something people can see in a positive light.
“The main challenge for the church is, on the one hand, to adapt our work to the restrictions that are in place,” said Jackelén. “Our congregations are very busy in finding ways of not shutting down things but adapting them.”
Fifty-nine percent of the Swedish population are members of the Church of Sweden. “We are not just closing down but finding ways to preach the Gospel in words and actions in the ways we can do right now,” said Jackelén.
“Coronaspection” was created from interviews conducted with over 30 major faith leaders, as well as from some messages made by others.