Hospital Chaplaincy in Sweden

1862 - 1961 the counties had responsibility for providing Pastoral care in the hospitals. The county employed a clergyman (Church of Sweden) who conducted services and kept a birth registration book. There were only 3 - 4 full time chaplains in Sweden. All other chaplains were part-time.
Due to a growing awareness of the importance of counselling there was proposals during the 1940-ties that resulted 1958 in a decision by the Swedish parliament that 1962 and onwards the pastoral care should be the responsibility of the parish where the hospital was located.
The Free churches had free access to the hospital but had no obligation to do so and got no money. The Free churches organised themselves and appointed a contact pastor, who would co-ordinate the services of the local Free churches.

During the 1960-ties there was a growing number of clergymen in the Church of Sweden who devoted themselves to hospital chaplaincy as a full time job. A working group within the Svenska kyrkans pastoratsförbund (An Alliance of the Parishes in the Church of Sweden) organised conferences once a year from 1969 and onwards. There was no formal education for chaplaincy. A few chaplains had been in USA and had Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) to some extent.

During the 1970-ties there was the emergence of a new category chaplains. Chaplains who were deaconesses and also non ordained chaplains. They were employed by the local parish, which determined the qualifications for the job. 1974 there was appointed a governmental committee which should give proposals how to solve the new needs in the chaplaincy. At the same time there was a committee in the Church of Sweden which suggested a professional education. 1979 the proposal was made and the main new feature was that the responsibility for Hospital Chaplaincy was to be shared between the Free churches and the Church of Sweden.

State money was allotted to the Council of the Free churches to be distributed to the local free church congregations who joined to provide a position for a free church chaplain.
During the 1980-ties there was the consolidation of the new organisation. A new professional education was created (now have about 260 chaplains this education). Standards for co-operation in hospitals were adopted. A central office for the Free church chaplains and another one for the Church of Sweden was set up. Through close co-operation it was possible for the two secretaries to establish a well functioning chaplaincy.