Up close with the Swedish Church, California's new assistant in San Francisco, Carina Hannus.
Carina Hannus is the new assistant at the Swedish Church in San Francisco since Dec. 1, 2010.
Why did you apply for this job?
"I had this thought years ago that I at some point in my life would want to work abroad, then I saw this position being advertised and I sent in my application Ö and thatís that."
Whatís your background and your education? Where in Sweden are you from?
"I used to work as a nurse and a midwife, and then in 2004, I was ordained a deacon in the Swedish Church. I come from Uppsala, but my last job was in ÷stervŚla-Harbo parish, which is about seven miles northwest from Uppsala."
Tell me about your family.
"My family consists of my two girls, who are 21 and 23 years old respectively, as well as all my friends. I have a lot of interests: creative activities, dance and music, and meeting people. Well, really anything that makes life good and worth living!"
Whatís your impression of San Francisco so far?
"Thereís a lot to understand, both when it comes to my job and my private life, things that are new to me. So I take one day at a time. I think San Francisco is an amazing city with a lot to offer. I meet friendly, welcoming and helpful people almost every day."
Whatís best about your job?
"The flexibility and all the meetings with all sorts of people. The opportunity to be able to share everything―big and small, simple and difficult―in life."
What are your visions for your job?
"At the moment it is all about structure and organization. After that I hope itís possible to meet as many Swedes as possible in the Bay Area and to be able to be of support to them. 'What can I do for you?' Thatís the motto I have set for myself for this job."
Whatís different about working here versus working in Sweden?
"Even in Sweden, there are differences from one parish to another. But of course the language is a big difference and the fact that physical distances are so much greater here, so I have to think differently. Another big difference is that here I am, for the most part, the only employed Swede."
Whatís it like to work at the Norwegian Church?
"I have some amazing colleagues in the Norwegian staff, and I love their waffles!"
Do you have any new ideas youíd like to try?
"Sure, there are some things that Iím thinking about, but as I said: I have to take one day at a time. First we are reviving the SmŚbarnstršffarna each Wednesday at 10 a.m. and the au-pair meetings every 4th Sunday of the month at 4 p.m. I am open for suggestions and I want to hear about different needs in the parish."
What are your main assignments?
"Being the only Swede, itís everything really. Obviously children, families and young people are especially dear to my heart, since my background is that of a midwife. The second Sunday, Iíll be around for the Swedish service, and on Wednesdays Iíll be responsible for the waffles at the church. I am also available for confidential conversations of support, and will also be making home visits, sick visits and prison visits. I will also cooperate with the consulate. I wonít be lacking things to do!"
For more information on the Swedish church in San Francisco, see Svenska Kyrkan San Francisco (Working out of the Norwegian Seamen's church) or, in California: Svenska Kyrkan Los Angeles