Swedish Lutherans, Mission Covenant Sign Worship Agreement

Post a Comment » Written on January 11th, 2007     
Filed under: News
UPPSALA, SWEDEN (January 11, 2007) – A new agreement promises to expand opportunities for common worship and service between the Swedish Lutheran Church and the Mission Covenant Church.

In December the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden and the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden signed an agreement to recognize “each other as apostolic churches, participating in the Church of Christ … holding the same confession of the apostolic faith” and “the same understanding of the sacraments.”

The agreement comes nearly 130 years after reformers organized the Mission Covenant Church in 1878 – those who made their way to the United States formed what is now the Evangelical Covenant Church in 1885.

Under the new agreement, the churches state they will “aim to be open for a common worship at the local level and to work towards joint responsibility in the society and in the world.” The denominations held a joint worship service in Uppsala Cathedral to celebrate the agreement.

The Lutheran Church is the largest denomination in Sweden, followed by the Mission Covenant Church as the second largest.

As a result of the agreement, the two churches will recognize each other’s ordained deacons, priests and pastors. The denominations also will allow “each other the use of church buildings and chapels for weddings, funerals and other services and confirm their wish to contribute to a growth in communion between other partner churches both in and outside Sweden,” the statement said.

Church leaders are encouraging local congregations and parishes to promote the agreement and come together for times of worship.

In some local situations, the two churches already share common services, church buildings and ministries.

“I think it would be fair to say that this ecumenical agreement acknowledges was has already been taking place for years on a local level,” says Doug Fondell, who with his wife, Jodi, pastor Immanuel Church, a Mission Covenant Church in Stockholm. “We have a fine partnership in mission with Engelbrektskyrkan, which is a Swedish Lutheran Church located one block away from us. Joint worship services are held a few times a year. Officiating at funerals, weddings, baptisms and over the Eucharist have never been points of contention.”

“The Covenant is very Lutheran, especially here in Sweden, so I think it’s more a gesture of goodwill and trying to make pathways for ministers to move more easily from one denomination to the other,” Jodi adds.

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