Kulturarv för evigheten? Studie av kyrkans utveckling och framtid med exemplet Skallsjö kyrka
Cultural heritage for eternity? A study about history and future of the Church of Sweden with the example of Skallsjö church
The aim of this study is to describe and analyze the history and the current situation of the Church of Sweden. The renovation of Skalljö church in Lerum municipality has been used as an example to enlighten the common changes in the church buildings. The long history of the Church of Sweden as the state church has resulted in the fact that it carries a remarkable part of the Swedish cultural heritage. The reason why the Heritage Conservation Act (1988:950) was altered in January 2000 was due to the change of relations between the State and the Church of Sweden. According to the Act, all church sites owned or managed by the Church of Sweden shall be maintained in such a way that their cultural historic value is not diminished and their appearance and character are not violated. Sweden is today considered to be a secularised country where religion is an individuals’ private matter. The social role of the church has undergone changes and church buildings are now used for a variety of new activities, such as concerts and art exhibitions. The new uses of the churches initiate an adaptation of them. This study examines the following questions: Is the value of the cultural heritage diminished by the adaptation of the churches? How have the churches already been adapted throughout the years? How has the relationship between the Church of Sweden and Swedish heritage organization developed? What does the future of the Church of Sweden look like? My conclusion is that churches have always been adapted to the changing society, and to keep churches alive they must continue to adapt. The most common changes made are done to integrate more activities to the churches, such as room for private conversation, storage and sanitary facilities. Most of the changes to the churches are done so that they are reversible and well thought through. In the cities churches are visited more frequently and can easily be adjusted to new activities. The problem is in the countryside where churches lack visitors and are harder to find new uses for. Guidelines for the altered use and changes in the church buildings are needed. In addition, I believe that the Church of Sweden and the cultural heritage organizations must improve their co-operation to ensure that changes are made with respect for the values of the cultural heritage that churches contain.