Chaplaincy in Scandinavia

Report from Rev Mats Linde, Göteborg Landvetter Airport, Sweden

2015-09-22 Landvetter Flygplats. Mats Linde är flygplatspräst. ©Photo by Sören Håkanlind / COPYRIGHT

In Scandinavia there are three Airports where the Church is present; Oslo Gardemoen Airport in Norway, where the new Airport Chaplain Torbjørn Olsen serves. He has been there for over one year and I will see him on June 11th for the first time, when he visits me at Landvetter. The other two are in Sweden, Stockholm and Göteborg. Stockholm Arlanda Airport has no Airport Chaplain since November 2018, when Unni Franck retired. Currently, interviews are under way to find a new Airport Chaplain.

At Göteborg Landvetter Airport I work full time since 2017. I am a priest in the Church of Sweden and employed by the parish in Landvetter where the Airport is located. At the moment, the work is being reviewed and a study is being made on the future of the Airport Chaplainces at Landvetter and Arlanda. We don’t know yet what that investigation will result, but I hope Landvetter will be placed under the Diocease of Göteborg or the National Church. In this way, the organization and economy are safeguarded for the future.

Today Göteborg Landvetter Airport has approximately 4,500 employees in more than 100 companies, but within 15 years it is estimated that up to 14,000 employees. A total of 6,807,631 travellers travelled from the airport in 2018.

In addition to being present, having calls and making visits to the various workplaces, the Airport Chaplain makes home visits.

Some recurrent events
February 14, Valentine’s Day
Every autumn we collect money for “The Children of the World”. This year, on the 5th of October 2018, just over 1,500 people passed.
14th of October it was a Service on Thanksgiving Day in Härryda Church. All the staff at the Airport were invited. Participants did include, among others, Airport Director Charlotte Ljunggren and the border police Mats Nilsson. The theme was “Thanks!”
The four Fridays before Advent Sundays were traditionally offered on mulled wine and choir singing. More than 8,000 people passed on these occasions 2018.

Ideas for the future
The Airport Chaplain wants to continue developing the work at the Airport, which is expanding more and more. The work is mainly about sharing people’s everyday lives, being present at the Airport and standing for the Church’s presence and continuity. This means for example, being available for conversations, walking around among travellers, doing workplace visits, sharing everyday life and being involved in both joy and sorrow and being helpful in crises of various kinds.
But to be able to do more and suffice, the Airport Chaplain wishes to get more resources in the years to come in the form of more staff and finances that make it possible to invest, for example, in “After Work Church” – a meeting place where non-profit employees are active and inviting travellers and employees, discussion groups, Biblestudies…

Please pray for the future of the Swedish Airport Chaplainces!

Rev. Mats Linde, Airport Chaplain at Göteborg Landvetter Airport