A view from Sweden
In the Norra Öland benefice – or more precisely in the Köpingsvik parish centre – from 9 to 11 June 2014 – we have carried through a project we call ‘Try This’. It is what it sounds like – a chance to test something! Young people who have just completed the second year of school were invited to three days of trying something out – in camps the week before midsummer, as preparation for next summer’s confirmation studies.
18 Swedish young people took part this year. There were three youth leaders from the Diocese of Oxford: David and Alice Benskin and Olly Shaw. The Swedish speaking leaders were Simon and Linnéa Leander and Magdalena Ordell and associate priest Julle Lund.
The days were intensive for everybody, for both participants and leaders! Various forms of “getting acquainted exercises” built up the group-participants’ reliance on one another, the idea being that this was laying the ground for next year’s longer camp. Group discussions were mainly in English with some Swedish.
In the evaluations the participants were unanimous in the view that what made the strongest impression was taking part in worship and listening to personal testimonies about the meaning of faith, what answers to prayer were – that sort of thing. The contribution of the young leaders from Oxford has helped to bridge the language barrier and given access to the personal encounter where faith is born and grows.
The idea of the ‘Try This’ project was to awaken the interest of young people in a three weeks long bilingual camp next summer (2015), but also to give the leadership teams from Sweden and England the opportunity to get to know one another and find ways of working before next summer.
We can affirm that the project has worked out well. Both the leadership team and the young people are looking forward to the continuation next summer! We are very happy about the link with Oxford; it has enriched us personally and given an extra glow to us in our work.
The Swedish team would like to send a big THANK YOU to our friends in Oxford, to the three who took part and to those at diocesan level in Oxford who have coordinated the work.
Anna Lundin Leander
Pastor, Norra Öland Benefice