SCUC

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Fluff

"Someone has to keep the torches burning bright." Father Benjamin

"But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah: For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." From the Gospel of Matthew

Basic Information

The Scandinavian Church United in Christ (SCUC) came into being a few years after the bombs fell - the brainchild of the former bishop of Bergen, Lars Quinnel, and a cadre of fellow Christian intellectuals. Providing succour to small Norwegian coastal communities, Bishop Quinnel had been disturbed by both the resurrection of pagan superstition and the prominence of apocalypsists who argued that the devastation of society was the advent of the Rapture. Quinnel took advantage of the skeleton of a whale washed up on the shoreline to publicly preach the sermon he'd been working on for years in private; standing inside the beast's rotting ribcage, he read out the story of Jonah inside the whale and raised its parallels to Christ's time in hell and the fables of Lazarus and Noah - the sorry state of mankind was not the apocalypse, he argued, but a "night journey", a "mere three days and three nights" of trials and suffering before humanity would rise again, greater and more noble than it ever had been. And, therefore, it was every person's duty to attempt towards a new, 'good', united society.

Thanks in part to the wily PR of Quinnel's friends, and also to their much-sought-after functioning printing press, the sermon was widely distributed, travelling fast through Norway and beyond in the hands of merchants through the next few years - though its success must also be attributed to its hopeful, aspirational message. Soon Quinnel had a large, devoted following amongst the laity and the scattered clergy in the settlements he visited.

Quinnel and his companions, seeking to unite the message of Christianity in Scandinavia, began to invite priests from around Norway and Sweden to a gathering-place outside the ruins of Oslo. Though it is now widely publicised that clergy flocked in from every corner of the wilds, the truth is that it was a largely insular gathering (some cynics even speculate that Quinnel deliberately chose the date in the first months of the year to ensure that few would brave the intense cold to attend). At the so-called 'Scandinavian Resurrection', Quinnel announced the formation of a new united Christian church. Any priest whose chapel or church did not bear the symbol of the whale was illegitimate; a delegation would be set up to travel far south, and hopefully discover whether or not Rome had survived. Old-fashioned tithes would be set up wherever possible to help fund the spread of the church, and to help refugees in distress.

Grandiose though Quinnel's plans were, his popularity in certain swathes of Norway and northern Sweden ensured that his instructions were followed; he was quickly voted in as the church's new Archbishop, and he began to instate priests and bishops of his own to preach in certain towns. It is not known whether or not Quinnel approved of their use, but it was at around this time that local volunteers in a few towns began to scrawl the sign of the whale onto their clothing in chalk, devoting themselves to eradicating superstition and throwing unlicensed preachers out, sometimes with violence. Good Catholic folk approve of these attempts at order and regulation, and the volunteers themselves proudly call themselves by the nickname given to them by scattered followers of the Old Ways - 'Night Visitors', after their tendency to burst into homes without warning in the darkness before dawn.

SCUC priests unlucky enough to be chosen as missionaries to the lands in southern Sweden and most of east Finland where Quinnel's message has not spread often find themselves subject to abuse or even anger from the local communities, who don't take kindly to the suggestion that their own local clergyfolk should be removed. Sledfuls of printed pamphlets, Bibles and other propaganda have helped the church's efforts up until now...but the recent bad weather has prevented their ease of travel.

The monastic arm of SCUC has hardly spread at all - though reports linger of a couple of monasteries that have taken up the church's banner, and one makeshift nunnery in western Norway that calls itself 'The Sisterhood of Saint Lars' - an unwelcome gift to Quinnel's enemies even inside the church, who claim that the now elderly and frail archbishop, confined to his 'palace' - a great monstrosity of makeshift tin and bricks, largely underground - has immense delusions of grandeur. It is speculated by some that the new, sometimes contradictory sermons that are published by SCUC are not written by Quinnel at all, but by his vying subordinates.


Aims

Christianity vs. paganism, obviously, but also a central message of hope over despair...which we know to be wrong. Hence we can work in some really heartbreaking stuff with priests and believers in a glorious new world being faced with the reality of their own destruction.

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