The Swedish Church of Florida (SCIF), serving the Fort Lauderdale-Miami area, is the youngest church among the Swedish churches abroad. After five years with Olof and Marie Ohlsson as our first priest couple, it was time to greet a new vicar, Louise Linder, and her family.
Louise Linder comes to SCIF from the Kungsholmen parish in Stockholm. She is the CEO and founder of Prästbyrån AB (The Priest Agency Inc., a management and leadership consultancy) in Sweden. She is an ordained priest, a licensed psychotherapist, coach and sexologist. She is renowned for her inner strength, decisiveness and for never giving up a fight for her clients to return to good health and well-being.

The installation of a new priest is always led by the diocesan bishop or by a bishop appointed priest. All Swedish churches abroad are administered by Visby, Sweden's smallest diocese. Bishop Sven-Bernhard Fast flew in from Visby with our regional manager Elna Wahlgren Lundqvist and diocesan curate Annika Hakalax to welcome Louise and meet with the congregation.

A powerful experience
The February 15th installation was a powerful experience. In addition to Bishop Sven Bernhard, Elna Wahlgren Lundqvist and Annika Hakalax, four other priests also attended. The opening remarks were read by the church council president Per-Olof Lööf, and the Bishop proclaimed and blessed Louise's official installation. After she was introduced by the bishop, Louise continued the service. As always, SCIF offered plenty of music during the service. The choir sang with solos by Per-Olof Lööf, Marlene O'Reilly and Hanna Linder, and Lennart Persson played the trumpet. Parish members expressed their greetings, as did priests from the Finnish and Norwegian churches in Florida and visiting priests from Sweden. Communion vessels that previously belonged to the now defunct Swedish church in Gdansk, Poland were given as a gift. The vessels had been used in Poland since the early 1930s and it was touching to accept this gift that had experienced so much history in Europe during both war and peace.

The procession went out singing Härlig är Jorden (The hymn "Glory"), a beautiful ending. Afterward, everyone was treated to tasty snacks, drinks, coffee and homemade semlor (Lenten buns). God is good.
Philippa Leijonhufvud-Reading