A weekend in Sweden – October 2015

Between the 23rd and 27th October 2015, a group of 14 of us from All Saints went to visit our link parish of S:t Olofs in Norrköping, Sweden.

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Friday

We all met at All Saints ready to head off to the airport for our adventure.

That evening, we safely arrived in Norrköping, Sweden. Here’s a few of us enjoying a drink in the hotel before an early night.

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Saturday

We started the day by joining our hosts as they held a service to commemorate United Nations Day at S:t Hedvig’s church, one of the three churches in the parish. S:t Hedvig’s is a beautiful building and the service was accompanied by a fantastic soloist and pianist.

Then we had lunch in the Prästgård (the old rectory which is now used as a meeting and conference centre) which became our hub for the weekend. Two of our hosts, Pether and Kristina gave us a short presentation all about the parish of S:t Olofs.

Then in the evening our hosts threw a lively party for us. There was loads of lovely food (felt like we’d done nothing but eat all day!) and singing in Swedish and English – including some Abba, well what else would we sing in Sweden?

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Finally, we had a short Swedish lesson. Can you say the phrase “sju sjösjuka sjöman”? – It’s not as easy as you might think!

Sunday

The parish of S:t Olofs has three churches, two of which hold Sunday morning services (the third is S:t Hedvig’s which we visited on Saturday). Therefore, we split into two groups and some of us went to S:t Matteus church for a traditional service (in Swedish but follows the same order as our service so we could follow what was going on). The songs were led by the fantastic “Joy” community choir.

The rest of the group went to the church of S:t Olai in the centre of Norrköping.

After the morning service, we split into small groups and were invited for lunch with members of the congregation. We all enjoyed lovely home cooked Swedish food, which for some of us included reindeer stew!

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Then in the evening there was a big football game so a few went to cheer Norrköping FC on to a 3-1 victory (they won the league the following weekend).

And finally, we all met up to share our stories over a pre-bed drink.

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Monday

Day 3 in Sweden and for most of us it is our last full day. We ventured a little further afield and took the short train journey to the nearby city of Linköping.

When we arrived we had a tour of the Domkyrka (the cathedral), a beautiful building with some interesting and powerful paintings and sculptures. Linköping diocese is linked to our own diocese of St. Albans and so it was great to make that link.

Linköping also has a fascinating living museum (Gamla Linköping or Old Linköping) where they have rebuilt a collection of old houses which are occupied by traditional craft workshops.

Our last night in Norrköping.

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Tuesday

Our last day. We spent the morning having a final look around Norrköping, including the old industrial area which has been converted into shops, cafes and museums.

A fond farewell to our new and old friends in Norrköping and thank you for the great hospitality.

Tack så mycket! (Thank you very much)