The Swedish Church lost 86,000 members in 2016, compared to little under 47,000 in 2015. That sets a record according to the Church of Sweden.
From the formal separation of Church and State in 2000 – when 82,9% of the population were members of the Church – membership has dropped to 63% of the population. Membership comes with fees and currently 6,2 million Swedes pay this bill. Fewer will in the future. The Church projects o that by 2030 membership will be down to 45% of the population. That will also reduce funding for the Church.
Archbishop Antje Jackelén told TT agency that the “deeply troubling” drop is consistent with a social pattern that goes beyond the Church, as parties, environmental organizations, and other institutions are shedding membership.
However, public rage on the use of Church membership fees for lavish trips abroad by certain clerics may account for the 2016 record, Swedish Radio reports.