Foto: Åke Paulsson

What is the diocese and what do we want - a vision

When the church grew and the number of parishes increased, the bishop became responsible for a region - a diocese. Ever since the early days of the church, the duty of the bishop in the history of Christianity has been to assume the responsibility for Christian doctrine, the unity of the church and consequently, the supervision.

Even though much have changed in the church throughout the ages, the Church of Sweden has been very determined to remain an episcopal church (a diocesan church) and to maintain the bishop´s special function as supervisor of priests and parishes and, no less important, the one responsible for the unity of the Church of Sweden.
The supervising function is not the only duty of the diocese, but also the offering of support and encouragement, described by the words ”to further the development of parochial life”.

The Diocese of Västerås wants to be an important building block in a church that is able to communicate the certainty of God’s errand to everyman

Our duty and vision
The Christian faith is shared and lived in the local parish. That is where the people are. And only there is it possible for a life of faith to develop. The diocesan duty is to be the resource seeking to release the force in the parishes in the form of will, knowledge, experience and ideas to further that developmental work. Encouragement and support are the keywords for the diocese in that work. And carrying on a unifying pastoral-theological vision for the diocese in dialogue with the parishes.

An important task for the diocese is to challenge various phenomena of the times that form people´s conceptions
in both church and society. Catching and analyzing trends and currents affecting the values and views of life. As a result, the diocese may sometimes, through development projects of its own, take the lead and make way for strategies serving as a base for developmental work in the parishes.
The future belongs to the present. It is now that we affect the future. That is why it is important for the diocese to gaze fearlessly into the future with eyes open, without however losing the ability to critically scrutinize whatever that future may bring.

The Diocese of Västerås wants to be an important building block in a church that is able to communicate the certainty of God´s errand to every man, not only at divine service, but in all everyday situations. That the gospel is the centre which may set a man free and give life meaning and fulfillment in the service of others. To be a part of a church which gives people hope that is not applied from the outside, but grows from within in the form of knowledge about and experience of faith within man himself.

We are the Diocesan organisation

The Diocesan Office is divided into several departments. The Episcopal Secretariat assists the bishop in his work. The Department for planning and leadership comprises administration and economy, above all concerning the Office. The Department also has an advisory and supporting function towards the parishes, for example in issues concerning law, antiquarian church objects, economic equalization, computer support and parochial registration issues. The most important duty for the Parochial Department is to assist the 77 parishes of the diocese in their work and development. Issues and duties may concern refugees seeking asylum, development of divine service, Swedish and Finnish-speaking cooperation, young people, theology, the hospital church and the prison church, environmental and sustainable development, spirituality, media and information, computer technology, international issues, organisational development and much more. Further training for the various occupational groups of the church is one of the duties.

An important duty for the unity and sense of fellowship in the diocese, is the organisation of major diocesan events. Festivals, diocesan gatherings and days with common activities for co-workers are often carried out several times every year.
From time to time, the diocese concentrates thoroughly on certain areas in need of special attention and work. Examples of this are Child 2007 and the exhibition “Via Dolorosa”. On the Office’s premises there is a music library and a recording studio. The Diocesan Property Administration takes care of and manages the diocesan forests and land.

The Diocesan organisation has 83 employees, 42 of whom work at the Office in Västerås. Work at the Diocesan Office includes all the various subject fields for which there is room in the parochial life of our church. Our duty also consists of preparing the parishes for facing the development taking place in our society. That is a question of maintaining as well as defending the values that we stand for and of changing our activities to make them relevant for the 450 000 registered parishioners in our diocese.

Fun facts

  • In all, the Diocesan Office staff make visits in the parish at least 790 days in a year. That means that we drive 10 500 miles in our  diocesan cars (2,5 times around the earth).
  • 110 kg of Fair Trade coffee is drunk every year at the Diocesan Office.
  • 1 ton of fruit is consumed every year on our healthy coffe breaks.
  • 8 öre of the church rate goes to the work of the diocesan organisation.
  • We have two sister dioceses: the Diocese of Lebombo in Mozambique and the Diocese  of Gloucester in England.
  • Our contact with Mozambique has been going on for more than two decades, and today it also includes forestry projects.
  • There are 38 000 pieces of work for music and choir in the music library.