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Is there a Gap between the Church and the People? Interviews with Parishioners and Ministers in the Stockholm District

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Twenty-four parishioners and 24 ministers of the Church of Sweden were interviewed concerning their beliefs about religion, the Church and ecclesiastic activities. The results showed that ministers could be placed on a continuum ranging from sender orientation to receiver orientation. Sender orientation means, primarily, directed towards reaching people who proceed from a definite opinion, namely the Church’s teaching. Receiver orientation means, primarily, directed towards reaching people who proceed from their own worldview where religion may be expressed in many different ways. Parishioners gave a total of 5% sender-oriented and 95% receiver-oriented descriptions. Comparable figures for ministers were 48% sender-oriented and 52% receiver-oriented. If more than half the ministers have an orientation that neither interests nor attracts parishioners, this can be a problem to the Church.

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