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ABOUT OUR CONGREGATION

The Church of Sweden in New York City and Washington, DC

 

The Church of Sweden in New York City -- Our "Mother Church"

Brief History of Augustana Lutheran Church in Washington, DC

Our Congregation

Worship Services, Baptisms, Confirmation, Weddings

 

The Church of Sweden in New York City -- Our "Mother Church"

If you are planning to go to New York City, you absolutely ought to visit the Church of Sweden there. It is located in midtown Manhattan, 5 East 48th Street (near 5th Avenue). The Swedish flag above the entrance will warmly welcome you. The Church is open 10 am to 8 pm Monday and Wednesday and 11 am to 6 pm Thursday through Sunday. In an attractive, comfortable reading room you will find Swedish newspapers, magazines and books. Coffee and soft drinks are available, as are Swedish sandwiches and homemade cinnamon rolls! The Sunday worship service begins at 11:00 am, and during the week various programs are offered for young adults. You can contact the Church by telephone at 212-832-8443 or by email at newyork@swedishchurch.net.

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Brief History of Augustana Lutheran Church in Washington, DC

In Washington, worship services are conducted in Swedish by Pastor Ingemar Hansson, who comes to Washington once a month, at Augustana Lutheran Church -- New Hampshire Ave and V St., NW (one block east of 16th St.). Augustana Lutheran Church is a fine and beautiful church whose congregation was started in 1918 by Swedish immigrants who wanted to carry on Swedish traditions. The original name of the church was St. Erik's! In the 1930s the congregation was still mainly Swedish-speaking, and in the 1950s nearly all members were descendants of Swedish immigrants. Today, most of those who come to the Church are either English- or Spanish-speaking, and the only remaining Swedish tradition is the Lucia pageant each December. But the Church is very friendly toward Swedes and generously lets us use the sanctuary and related articles for worship services.

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Our Congregation

Worship services in Swedish have been held in the Washington area since the 1970s; the current congregation -- the Swedish Lutheran Church of Washington (SLCW) -- was formally established in 1996.

The Swedish congregation in Washington is an active one with 124 paid adult members ($30 for families; $20 for individuals). Ann-Marie Brisbois (tel 703-536-7244) is responsible for membership. The membership fee provides for monthly worship services, including a Sunday School; an annual directory of members and a monthly newsletter (Församlingsbladet). In addition, last year 10 young people went through Confirmation. The Church has a new, expensive pipe organ. Our organist, Steve Brodd, who is of Swedish heritage and speaks excellent Swedish, is very familiar with Swedish hymns, songs and folk music.

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Worship Services, Baptisms, Confirmation, Weddings

Worship Services

Our Pastor, Ingemar Hansson, head of the Church of Sweden in New York, comes to Washington the first Sunday of each month from September through June. He conducts the Sunday Mass (usually at 9:00 am), as well as baptisms and weddings. Members take an active part in the worship services. Each service begins with a procession in which members carry in the bread and wine for Communion, a large cross and tall candles that are placed by the altar. Members also read the scripture, lead the congregation in prayer, take up the collection and prepare Church Coffee which follows the service.

Baptisms

Pastor Hansson is available to baptize infants at monthly worship services. If you are thinking of having your infant baptized, contact Pastor Hansson at newyork@swedishchurch.net.

Confirmation

Saturday, May 5, 2001, was a big occasion for our congregation. For many years, Confirmation had not been available to Swedes in Washington, but that day we confirmed 10 young people who for a year had met regularly for instruction and participated in worship services both in Washington and New York, under the guidance of then-Pastor Jan Kesker. The Church was decorated with big, beautiful flower bouquets in yellow and blue, a gift from Eva Perdahl Wallace.

The service began with Swedish folk music played by Steve Brodd, Christina F., and Kristina G. on violin; Kerstin Hendrickson on "nyckelharpa," and Kerstin Gaddy on flute. After the first scripture reading, the candidates acted out different Bible stories in a modern context--for example the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son--and discussed the Christian lifestyle.

After the Confirmation ceremony, the Swedish Song Group sang. Then, Benjamin G. played a cello solo. During the actual Communion service, Steve Brodd, Kerstin Hendrickson and Kerstin Gaddy played violin or flute.

In his remarks, Pastor Kesker said that Confirmation is not the end of, but a station along, the road of life. Swedish Ambassador Jan Eliasson offered the newly Confirmed young people a few words of congratulations. Arne Dunhem, chairman of the Church Council, gave a gift to each of the young people on behalf of the congregation -- a silver necklace with a pendant in the shape of a drop of water and the reflection of a cross, the symbol of SKUT, the Church of Sweden overseas.

Vigsel

If you are thinking about getting married, Pastor Hansson is available to perform the ceremony. Contact him at newyork@swedishchurch.net.

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