(Exhibition text in English, referring to a QR code in the exhibition)

“for the Church, for Women and Against the War”

Name: Ester Lutteman, née Lundström
Born: 1888 in Härnösand
Died: 1976 in Uppsala

A driving force in the fight to allow female ministers in the Church of Sweden.

Ester Lundström grows up the daughter of a clergyman and participates in the Christian student movement while studying at Lund University. She marries the clergyman Axel Lutteman and they both participate in parish life. Ester receives an inner calling to become a minister in 1919, and after her husband’s untimely death, she studies theology and graduates in 1924.

As women vote for Parliament for the first time in 1921, the question of whether to allow female ministers in the Church of Sweden arises. Two years later, the Eligibility Act is adopted by the Swedish Parliament. It gives women the right to hold government and Civil Service positions, but the Church Assembly decides to postpone the issue regarding women’s ordination. Instead of becoming a minister, Ester Lutteman works as a teacher. In 1929, she preaches to a full house in Gustav Vasa Church in Stockholm and is subsequently dismissed from her position on the Diakonistyrelse (Church of Sweden Board for Parish Life).

The matter of women’s ordination was raised on several occasions and a new bill was proposed in 1957. The Church Assembly rejects it again, and Ester makes the decision to leave the state church. On Palm Sunday in 1960, the first three women are ordained as ministers in the Church of Sweden.

Assembles the first Meeting of Minstry Wives

Name: Julia Aurelius, née Marx
Born: 1886 in Herrnhut, Germany
Died: 1976 in Uppsala

Introduces the Moravian star to Sweden, the origin of the Swedish tradition of ‘Christmas star’ decorations.

Julia Aurelius grows up in Herrnhut, Germany. Her parents are both from devout families within the Moravian Church and her home is characterised by piety. At the age of 20, she spends some time living with her uncle and his wife in Jerusalem. There, she meets her future husband Erik Aurelius, a clergyman and reader in exegetics, the study of biblical interpretation, in Lund. They marry in 1912 and she becomes the wife of a clergyman and professor.

After 15 years in Lund, Erik Aurelius is consecrated Bishop of the Diocese of Linköping. Julia is influenced by the radical gender views characteristic for the Moravian Church, where women are regarded as strong and independent. The Moravian Church is a Christian movement that becomes known as the Evangelical Brotherhood in Sweden. In 1929, Julia Aurelius initiates the first meeting of ministry wives in the Church of Sweden. This spreads to other dioceses and eventually male spouses of female clergy are invited to participate in the associations of ministers’ wives.

Is the Clergy a Female Calling?

”Everyone knows that not all men are fit for ministry, nor are all women. It is t h e man or t h e woman to whom the calling applies, not men and women in general. This issue becomes crucial, as it should be, it cannot be emphasised enough. – Because Christianity considers us alone one by one and asks about gender just as little as it asks about nationality and social status.”
Lydia Wahlström, in the magazine Hertha 1923

A New Interest in Cemeteries

In 1923, the International Urban Planning Exhibition in Gothenburg features a section on cemeteries. Among the architects only one is female – the landscape architect Ester Claesson from Stockholm. At the beginning of the 20th century, a new interest in cemetery landscaping emerges among architects. In 1915, the competition for a new cemetery in Enskede in Stockholm, now known as Skogskyrkogården, arouses great interest and in 1920, a competition is arranged with the purpose of finding new, artistic tombstone designs that can be distributed among the country’s manufacturers.

The Church at a Crossroads

Some reflections on the ecumenical council of 1925

”The Church, whose representatives gathered in Stockholm on the historic day of 19 August 1925 was not an ecclesie triuphans. Despite the royal uniforms and the episcopal gold crosses, there could be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Church was, spiritually speaking, arriving in sackcloth and ashes.”
Alf Ahlberg, in the magazine Bonniers Veckotidning, 1925



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