CHR Comment: The Church of Sweden, a historically Lutheran state church, has rapidly lost members and witnessed a drop in church involvement. Pastor Jerker Alsterlund’s solution has been to offer short-order arrangements for marriages and Baptisms, which other churches have adopted. Supporters argue that this is an avenue for renewal in the churches, stripping away the cultural trappings that make arrangements for church services awkward.
On Sunday, with the city in a reflective mood, churches were packed, and many headed to the statue of Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic.
CHR Comment: As a modern, secularized nation, churches in France are normally nearly empty. According to Sara Miller Llana and Jason Walsh, churches were packed on Sunday with only standing room at the back. People were drawn to church, as well other public venues, in their search for meaning and comfort. One wonders whether the ideological clash between Islam and western freedom will lead to a renewal of church life, which teaches freedom through God’s forgiveness in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.