In God’s House, people set an example for finding a common road to peace and integration. As people from different nations, cultures and religious backgrounds come together in Fisksätra, a Stockholm suburb, they are making the world a little bit better every day.
Since this collaboration between Christians and Muslims started at the beginning of the new millennium, it has continuously developed its vision and improved its realisation. We are doing important social work for newcomers and vulnerable groups of people in Fisksätra by helping with basic needs such as food and clothing and support with getting an apartment and work. They can also get help with paperwork for authorities and receive information on the rights of citizens living in Sweden.
We have special themed weeks with topics like Global Goal, Equality, Democracy and also a partner association that arranges lectures and dialogue meetings. Additionally, we organise a big cultural festival in October and a peace prayer on Pentecost every year. Apart from that, we receive about 50 study visits from politicians, students, parishes and faith-based organizations. We have built a network with HMI in India, Network for Dialogue, Inclusive Church GB, House of One in Berlin and many others.
Currently, we are fundraising for the building of a mosque side by side with our Evangelical Lutheran church. When that is finished, we will also have God´s House in a material way! Inshallah!
Although our collaboration with Stockholm City Mission ended last year, we, Lutherans, Catholics and Muslims of Fisksätra, continued our collaboration. In some ways feeling even more inspired to make use of religion as a resource in our social work.
During the pandemic, most of our ordinary activities had to be adapted. First of all, we had to ensure that people in Fisksätra had correct information on the risks of Covid-19. Wanting to avoid the emergence of bigger clusters, like in one of the other Stockholm suburbs, we distributed important information in the most widely spoken languages in every staircase of Fisksätra’s real estate and spread contact details for support with medical or psychological needs.
For that purpose, we started a project supporting children during the long summer holidays and another project for young adults seeking places to sleep and looking for ways into the labour market.
We also received a visit from Amanda Lind, the Minister for Culture, and Åsa Lindhagen, the Minister for Gender Equality, in September which was their first study visit in person since the start of the pandemic. During that time, the situation in Sweden was temporarily better. They were very inspired by our work and confirmed the importance of local collaboration between different organizations and religious associations for the benefit of people in need.
If the pandemic allows for it, we will participate in the postponed ceremony to lay the ground stone of the House of One in Berlin in May. We dearly hope for this to happen!
Hoping to return to some kind of normality next autumn, we are looking forward to celebrating the cultural festival with special guests from Hyderabad, India. We have a lot of joint activities and social work to catch up on!
Above all, the vision and the joy of people coming together in God´s House still carry on! We feel connected with so many people around the world that find new ways in small, local communities for bringing inner and outer peace to our wonderful world.
To be continued!
Carl Dahlbäck, Vicar Nacka Parish, one of the leaders of God´s House in Fisksätra