So you must vote in church elections

So you must vote in church elections

The facts: Several lists in church elections show conflict lines in the church.

  • Dorit Vision
    Dorit Vision

    Second candidate, People’s Party open list in church elections, Stavanger diocese

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This is a discussion post. The entry was written by an external contributor, and the quality is guaranteed by the debate department of Aftenbladet. Opinions and analyzes are the author’s own.

“Should I vote on?” Church electionsYou might ask. Yes, I think so, and I encourage all members of the Church of Norway in the Diocese of Stavanger to exercise their right to vote.

Since the Christian faith came to Norway, the state and the church have been close, and the people’s church has had a great influence on society.

At its best, it organized charitable actions in local communities, such as establishing schools and hospitals, and worked for better living conditions. At its worst, with the social exclusion of people who break church norms.

In recent years, large-scale organizational changes have taken place in the Church of Norway. And since the state ruled the church, the members now had their hands on the wheel.

The separation of church and state is a major organizational change. New structures must be created, new lines of decision-making must be established. An important part of this is the election of the diocesan council.

Diocesan Council

The diocese of Stavanger geographically includes the county of Rogaland. The council consists of the bishop, priest, lay church official, and seven lay representatives.

If you are a member of the Church – and are not appointed – you can influence the election of the seven secular representatives – those who represent the people.

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The goal of the Diocesan Council is to stimulate and nurture Christian life in parishes, and it works to promote cooperation between individual parish councils and other local working groups.

The Church Council, the country’s joint diocesan council, is the highest democratically elected body of the Church of Norway.

Opening of the People’s Church

Open Folkekyrkje was the first organization to submit its own lists of candidates in the parish council elections. The background was multifaceted and was caused by the 2014 church meeting’s lack of will to decide on church marriage for same-sex couples.

Although the Church of Norway had two equal views on same-sex cohabitation, the majority in the church meeting refused to form a ritual so that it would be possible to exercise two views on the matter.

In the 2015 elections, the People’s Open Church won a majority in several parishes. As a result, homosexuals could marry in their local church after two years.

Parish Council elections

In this election, you can vote on the Nominating Committee List, the People’s Open Church List, the Freemodage Church List, and the Prayer List.

In the last elections, she ran for the list of the Nominations Committee. None of us who support same-sex marriage on that list ran in that election. Three candidates came out – all against same-sex marriage.

The assembly formed – along with the prayer list – the narrow majority that wished to uphold the right to discriminate against homosexuals in the process of hiring priests. I am very disappointed with the way the representatives of the Nominations Committee’s list have conducted their duties in the past period.

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You can of course see my list jump as a sign of me being a bad loser – when I don’t get picked for a place I try again on another list. But for me, changing the list meant losing faith in the function of the Nominations Committee’s list, as the system is designed today.

Noticing conflicts

In the recent church elections, I believed that several lists increase the level of conflict. Four years later, I have amended my claim and I believe many of the lists show conflict lines in the church. I no longer see it as a negative.

Discord has always been a part of the Christian community. When the Christian faith spread from the Jews to the Gentiles, for example, the question of the validity of the Mosaic Law was the subject of vigorous debate. The church in Jerusalem, which was composed of Jews, continued to live as Jews, even after they believed in Jesus.

But should pagans also undertake to be circumcised and to keep Musilova’s penance? No, someone arrived at that time and canceled Musilova’s request for circumcision and penance.

In the same way that Paul said no to the demands of circumcision and following the Law of Moses, I want those who call themselves “Biblical Believers” to give up strict demands that do not affect themselves.

Preach without attracting people

Recently, the approval rating for church elections in Rogaland was 12 per cent. It’s very low. In this sense, it is good to have voters who show differences. But with so many lists, it is very important that everyone uses their right to vote.

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In this church election, groups that want to take the church in a more conservative direction and reverse much of what Open Folkekyrkje has achieved are competing.

I am running for the People’s Open Church and I want to contribute to the Church of Norway continuing to boldly preach the gospel of Jesus Christ – without pulling people along the way.

If you are a member of the church and agree with this message, I hope I can vote for you.

(Want to find out more about the different lists? Come to St. Petri’s Church in Stavanger on Tuesday 5 September at 7 p.m. Aftenbladet commentator Solvig G Sandelsohn will host a debate about church elections there, which will also be broadcast online.)

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