Nya andliga praktiker i Svenska kyrkan – från exklusiva retreatmiljöer till kyrklig vardagspraktik


  • Linnea Lundgren
  • Katarina Plank
  • Helene Egnell




The research project "New Faces of the Folk Church – Lived Religion, Spiritual Practices and Theological Legitimacy" aims at investigating everyday spiritual activities laypeople engage in within an ecclesial institution, the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Sweden, and how these practices are linked to notions about religion and health. In this article we give an account of our preliminary findings. In a netnographic survey of the websites of the parishes in the diocese of Stockholm, counting all activities except services and concerts, we found that there is a plethora of new activities going on which have emerged during the last fifty years. Many of these activities were geared towards community building, and 15 percent of them fall into the category of holistic practices. Such practices, comprising of, for example, meditiation groups, yoga classes, and dance, can be found in eight out of ten parishes. Our material indicates that the church has quadruple functions: (1) theological, (2) life cycle related, (3) ordinary community building, and (4) holistic everyday spiritual practices. These new spiritual practices were first offered in exclusive settings like retreat centres, but have now moved into ordinary parish life, accessible to all parishioners. Some of the practices, like zen meditation and yoga, have been contested but are now broadly accepted. In the next step of the project, we will conduct interviews and participatory observation to investigate how these practices are integrated in individuals' lives, as well as how they are negotiated and legitimized on the institutional level.