Gudstjänstgemenskap i folkkyrkan. Ett studium av gudstjänstgemenskapens identitet och ställning i Svenska kyrkan

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The dissertation examines the theoretical identity and formal status of a worship community within the Church of Sweden. Two theoretical perspectives form the basis of the investigation. The first is that the identity of the church cannot be reduced to an abstract idea of its essential nature, but what is said about the church must refer to the actual people who belong to it, especially those who participate in worship (ecclesiological concretion). The second is that the construction of ecclesiology is a project that needs to be contextually sensitive, historically rooted and confessionally widened (ecclesiological balance).The concept of the worship community is defined as a number of persons who, by visibly worshipping together, participate in a relational context that generates meaning. Worship communities are described as open isolated communities of interest. As corporative persons they lack formal or judicial status. A discussion of the conditions in modern-day Sweden leads to the proposition that the qualities of openness and durability are to be essential characteristics of worship communities in the Church of Sweden. The discussion ends up with a differentiation between four theoretically discernible variants (ideal types): the occasional, casual, stable and closed worship community. These types serve as an instrument of analysis in the rest of the dissertation. Hereafter the position of the worship community within Swedish ecclesiology of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries is clarified. Analysis shows that Swedish ecclesiology became continuously and increasingly troubled by the problems that arise when the worship community is allowed to remain an undifferentiated entity. Therefore the worship community became a more or less hidden ecclesiological subject in Swedish ecclesiology, behind six other visible ones: the clergy, the people/everyone, the political representatives, the individual among the people, the employed team of parish workers and the voluntary workers. Henceforth the dissertation widens the theological context, addresses the question of the worship community and seeks new paths for Swedish ecclesiology. Six ecclesiological core values of the Swedish Lutheran Folk Church tradition are suggested: the foundation is that which is handed out, the ambition of being inclusive, real response during worship, respect for individual choice, a visible church in a world created by God and vagueness at the boundaries. With the help of nine non-Swedish theologians, and in dialogue with the core values, a contemporary ecclesiology in miniature with the worship community as its hub is presented. In the end the dissertation suggests that the worship community is assigned the judicial responsibility of bearing the ecclesiological basic qualities, that it becomes possible to call that community a parish, that there is a double affiliation for members of the Church of Sweden and that the worship community internally chooses its representatives in decision-making assemblies.


  • Fredrik Modéus
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Philosophy, Ethics and Religion


  • Worship community, ecclesiological concretion, ecclesiologial balance (contextually sensitive, historically rooted and confessionally widened), corporate person, ideal types, ecclesiological subject (hidden, visible and structuring), ecclesiological core values and ecclesiological basic qualities.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2015 May 13
  • Verbum
Print ISBNs978-91-526-3457-8
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2015-05-13 Time: 13:15 Place: Sal C116, LUX, Helgonavägen 3, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Vikström, Björn Title: biskop Affiliation: Borgå stift --- The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (015017000)