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SST is a government agency that provides support for faith communities in Sweden. The aim of this support is to enable congregations to work actively with a long-term focus on worship, education, and spiritual and pastoral care. This means that:
SST allocates the funding provided by the state
The Government decides which faith communities are to receive state funding. Each year SST allocates this state funding to these communities in the form of organisational grants, operational grants and project grants. SST does not allocate funding to the Church of Sweden.
SST provides general support for the faith communities
This general support takes the form of training, advice and administrative support for the faith communities. This is particularly important for newly established faith communities that need extra assistance to find out how Swedish society is organised.
SST coordinates the role of the faith communities in contingency planning and encourages cooperation between faith communities and the public sector
Faith communities play an important role in civil society when crises occur. In recent years many municipalities have had their attention drawn to the importance of contacts with civil society and in particular with faith communities that have unique experience of helping people during crises and catastrophes. These contacts can be strengthened at an early stage through dialogues with the faith communities. In several parts of Sweden this cooperation is arranged through interfaith and intercultural councils.
SST is a forum at which issues relating to social values can be discussed
The collaboration between SST and the faith communities enables discussion of issues relating to values, respect and tolerance. Within this framework SST organises discussion and dialogues about freedom of religion and the role and responsibilities of the faith communities in a democratic society.
SST is an agency with expertise on general issues relating to faith communities
SST is consulted when proposals are made that affect belief and faith communities in Sweden and acts as the agency with expertise on these issues.
Most of the financial support provided for the faith communities takes the form of Organisational grants and is allocated primarily for local activities. Allocation is based mainly on the number of members reported by a faith communities and the numbers of people it serves.
Operational grants mainly take the form of support for spiritual care in the health services. There are individuals working with spiritual care at every major hospital in Sweden who receive financial support from SST. Smaller amounts are also granted to theological colleges and seminaries.
Project grants are mainly offered to support the building or rebuilding of places of worship or their purchase and also for their adaptation for people with functional disabilities or to improve their security. Smaller amounts are also granted to students from faith communities which have no educational institutions of their own in Sweden who seek theological training abroad.
When individuals are afflicted by sickness spiritual and social care is needed. In Sweden this is often referred to as pastoral care and has been provided by the Church of Sweden and the minority churches. As Sweden is changing and has a greater diversity of faiths, pastoral care needs to include representatives from more faith communities. SST provides support for this process. SST does not deal with support for other forms of institutional pastoral care (in the prison system, police, armed services, education).
In recent years SST has also received several specific assignments from the Government that have, for instance, involved measures for further training of the leaders of local faith communities as well as longer assignments involving promoting dialogue between the faith communities intended to enhance their work with democracy and democratic values.
The commission for Government Support for faith communities (SST)
Postal address: Box 14038, SE-167 14 Bromma, Sweden
Visiting address: Ekumeniska centret
Gustavslundsvägen 18, 2 tr, Bromma, Sweden
Tube, Tvärbana: Alviks torg
Swichboard: + 46 (0)8 453 68 70
Fax: + 46 (0)8 453 68 29
Corp. reg. no.: 202100-5141
Act on religious communities, pdf
Act on support to religious communities, pdf
Act on Fees to Registered Religious Communities, pdf
Ordinance on Registration of Religions Communities, pdf
Act on Church of Sweden Act, pdf
Fact sheet about state-church relations, pdf
Besöksadress: Gustavslundsvägen 18, 2 tr, Bromma / Postadress: Box 140 38, 167 14 Bromma
Telefon: 08-453 68 70 / Fax: 08-453 68 29 / e-post: firstname.lastname@example.org