The Central Church Office
SE-751 70 Uppsala
Phone: +46-18-16 95 00
Fax: +46-18-16 97 72
Karin Axelsson Zaar
Programme Director Middle East
Phone: +46-18-16 99 66
Mobile: +46-768-000 170
Alongside other churches and organizations all over the world, our international work strives to achieve a fair and just world that is free from hunger, poverty and oppression.
We aim to provide food and water for everyone, and we also work with disaster relief, rural development, assistance to churches so that they can operate in their communities, microloans and savings, peace, reconciliation and religious dialogue. The objectives of our work are fair trading, human rights and equality.
Our efforts are largely financed by money raised in Sweden. Donations of about SEK 180 million from parishes, individuals, clubs and associations fund much of the work carried out for a fairer, more just world. Grants from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the EU are other important sources of funding.
Our evangelical Lutheran church has around 6 million members and the local parishes form the basis of the Church of Sweden’s international work; they inform, train and raise money through collections, bazaars and other activities.
Provision of aid is important, but does not solve all problems. Unfairness and injustice that prevent people living with dignity must be eradicated. Everyone must be able to provide for themselves, but the Earth’s resources must also last for future generations.
The Church’s international activities support local churches and organizations in Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East through cooperation in international networks of churches. This is an effective way of working towards lasting change.
The Central Church Office in Uppsala plans collections, general education and lobbying. The office decides which projects around the world should receive funding or staff. The international department has around 70 employees and draws expertise, about 30, from other departments.
In Palestine the CoS is co-operating with:
School Operations, Youth and Care Takers, Education for human Security and Empowerment/Diyar, Acting for Sustainable Change in Palestine/EEC, Nature’s Classroom/EEC
Augusta Victoria Hospital, Vocational Training Programme, Adolescent’s Right to Education and Employment in the oPt
General Operation, Children West Bank and Gaza
Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre
Children Support at Al Ahli Arab Hospital
Mission, Vision and Values
The vision of the Church of Sweden’s international work expresses a holistic view of humanity, societies and the earth’s ecosystem. We share this vision with a multitude of ecumenical, church-related development actors that formed the worldwide ACT Alliance in February 2009:
“United in the common task of all Christians to manifest God’s unconditional love for all people, the ACT Alliance works towards a world community where all God’s creation lives with dignity, justice, peace and full respect for human rights and the environment.”
This translates into the Church of Sweden’s vision/theory of change:
- Sustainable and fair societies
- Freedom and dignity for all human beings
- A whole, healed and reconciled world
The Church of Sweden’s understanding of development is rooted in its theological interpretation that all people are created in the image of God with the right to live just, humane and dignified lives in sustainable communities. Our faith requires that we work to overcome those conditions, structures and systems that perpetuate poverty, injustice, and the abuse of human rights and the destruction of the environment. In an increasingly globalised world, lives are interlinked. Together with our partners in the ACT Alliance, the Church of Sweden believes in (transformational) development, which is about taking action so that the human and God-given rights of all people are upheld. Transformational development involves change for all those involved: those with power, wealth and influence who control and use more than their share of resources; and those who live in vulnerable situations and are subject to oppressive structures and systems.
In order to meet the four-fold challenge of affirming human rights, building peace, reducing dangerous climate change and eradicating poverty and hunger, we have introduced three overriding perspectives that will permeate all our programme activities, namely:
- A rights and gender perspective
- A sustainability perspective
- A reconciliation perspective
Human Interest Story
“Our lobbying work is directed at the trade policy of the government and the EU and at companies.” “Through strong global networks and contacts with churches and other organizations, the Church’s international efforts can highlight and counteract unfairness and injustice.” These are the words of Erik Lysén, Church of Sweden’s Director of International Affairs. More on how we lobby for fairness and justice »
How Can I Help?
Church of Sweden is one of the actors in Sweden working with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel.
In an act of practical solidarity, followers can spend time in the area and through their presence bring hope and support for people working for peace and reconciliation.
Accompaniers also continuously inform to the Swedish general public about developments in the region.