In John 10:11, Jesus proclaims “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” The shepherd dog’s main mission is to assist the shepherd in driving the livestock in a desired direction. Can the church likewise, with help from dogs, lead human beings closer to the church and to God? In Svedala parish, a part of the Church of Sweden that is found in the south of Sweden, there is a confirmation group called hundgruppen, the dog group. The parish has developed a confirmation group in which dogs who are owned by the youths participate in the confirmation process. Confirmands who have an interest in dogs can bring their own dogs to the confirmation group in order to work with their dogs and learn more about dogs in general. This thesis will examine the work of hundgruppen in order to determine whether the presence of dogs complements the confirmation process. This examination will take place by comparing the goal of confirmation, as it is expressed in contemporary literature, with the confirmands’ and employee’s experience of dogs’ participation in confirmation, as it is expressed in qualitative interviews. Study of relevant literature reveals that the Church of Sweden understands the purpose of conformation to be confirming and actualizing the grace and vocation that were bestowed on candidates in baptism, and that developing and deepening relationships play an important role in this process. I then show that, based on the experience of participants in the dog group, dogs may be a positive addition to the confirmation process because, in furthering the development of relationships, they contribute to a key goal of confirmation.
|Translated Title||The Good Shepherd's Dog. Confirmands and employees experience of the dog's participation in the confirmation|
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