Church of Sweden launches app for children

Children aged 3-6 helped develop the application, which invites children of preschool age to discover the church and learn more about church beliefs and traditions. The app is free to download. Photo: Church of Sweden

Teaching young church members about the faith and traditions of the church

(LWI) An application named Church (Kyrkan in Swedish) puts children in front and centre. Interactive games offer young children a chance to use smartphones and tablets to explore the church building and learn about the faith and traditions of the Church of Sweden, a member church of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). The application was launched on 29 May and can be downloaded for free.

“Jesus met children where they were and children should be at the centre of the church. They are an important part of the church. Today many children are online, so of course the church should be there with good applications,” says Mikael Mogren, bishop of Västerås diocese in Sweden.

When children open the application they find themselves at a church, they can ring the church bells and say hello to the rooster on top of the church. A tap brings them into the church, where they can watch films, light a candle and furnish a nativity scene at the altar.

“Children are open to God and it is important that they are offered good material about the church and about Christian faith. That is what we want to do with this application,” adds bishop Mogren.

Short films on baptism, marriage and funerals

The application also offers children three short films that explain what takes place at a funeral, marriage ceremony and baptism in the church.

“The films can be used to prepare a child that is, for example, attending a funeral. They also explain in a simple way why these three life-events are important for the Church of Sweden. The films speak both to children and to adults,” says communicator Liselotte Rogberg, who works with for digital communication in the Church of Sweden.

Child using the Kyrkan App. Video: Church of Sweden (Svenska kyrkan)

Learning from children to teach children

The idea for the app came from the diocese of Västerås who called for digital material for children.

“Many members of the Church of Sweden are children. They have the same right as adults to receive and understand the proclamation and communion of the church. This application is a way of making them feel extra welcome. We hope that exploring the digital church will make them feel at home when they visit the church buildings,” adds Liselotte Rogberg.

The application is tailored for young children and usability tests were done with children aged 3-6 at one of the Church of Swedens kindergartens and in Church of Sweden children’s work.

“It has been valuable to see how children use the app and how they speak of it. This has shaped the application in a way that the adults leading this project could never have imagined”, Rogberg says.