Need a sacrament in a hurry? Consider the Church of Sweden. According to the Christian Science Monitor, churches in every major Swedish city, along with many smaller towns, offer drop-in weddings and baptisms. The idea was the brainchild of Jerker Alsterlund, a pastor in the city of Vasteras. He performed a pre-arranged wedding at a 2008 car show, but then another couple at the event asked Alsterlund to help them tie the knot. "I said, 'That’s not how it works; you have to be prepared,'" he says. "But afterwards I realized that it's the church that’s not prepared. And I realized that there are lots of couples like them." With the help of nine other pastors, he offered drive-in weddings at the next year's car show.
Though the idea was at first poorly received by church officials, the practice of drop-in weddings has since flourished, with drop-in baptisms soon added. In fact, a few years back, Alsterlund received the church's Innovator of the Year award. A typical drop-in wedding, per pastor Josefin Andersson, includes a 20-minute talk with a pastor and a 20-minute ceremony, for which the couple chooses two hymns and a song. "You get to the important parts straight away," she tells the CSM. Church officials say offering quickie weddings and baptisms is a way to get people back into the fold. "I get a lot of emails from the couples and families," Alsterlund says. "And many do get involved in their parishes." (Read more Sweden stories.)