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Employees in the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Denmark bring work environment issues into focus 

The issues have led to the establishment of a whistleblower unit and a permanent unit focused on resolving conflicts

Foto: Folkekirken.dk arkiv

Work environment has become a topic of interest for the church. In the media and among church politicians  work environment has been on the agenda as well as in the ongoing election campaign in the Diocese of Roskilde in which 5 pastors are competing to become the next bishop. 

Army and parish chaplain Katrine Blinkenberg, as well as 49 other ministers from all over the country, have signed a declaration stating that they are unsatisfied with the work environment in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark and find that it is full of secrecy and harassment. The declaration was issued in Clergymen’s association’s magazine.

This declaration has sparked a conversation about challenges in the church that need to be addressed. Peter Skov-Jakobsen, bishop in the Diocese of Copenhagen, explains that the ministers need to discuss the problems in general and figure out which challenges they face. They, furthermore, have the option to talk to their dean, bishops and their work environment representatives.

A national unit guiding pastors and parish councils in cases of conflict and work environment problems was on a trial basis but has now become permanent.

Furthermore, The Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs has recently established a whistleblower unit thus creating space for employees, e.g., pastors, to anonymously contact the unit if they experience problems with the work environment.