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The Church Conference
The Church Conference is the annual meeting which constitutes the highest decision-making organ of the Uniting Church in Sweden, to which each congregation may send representatives in proportion to its membership. This makes the Church Conference one of Sweden’s largest congregations of delegates.
The conference makes decisions on joint projects, for example, cooperation with churches in Sweden and other countries, operational plans and budgets. Pronouncements are often also made on current issues.
Also, people are appointed to various boards and positions in the leadership of the Uniting Church in Sweden.
Strategic platform for the Uniting Church in Sweden
Adopted by the Church Conference of 2012
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said (Mark 1:17) and everything became new. In this calling the church is born and renewed every day.
Jesus Christ is the centre and we wish to have a church which pulls in and strives towards the centre, and allows itself to be formed by the Lord of the church. We wish to be a church which tells as things are – a true voice in the world which is challenged by the Kingdom of God. Therefore, we must also be honest about our own history. We have not managed to impart the Gospel which transforms the world, nor have we ourselves been changed. Now we need to take new steps.
“A church for all aspects of life where the encounter with Jesus Christ transforms – me, you and the world.”
There is only one church, the worldwide church of Jesus Christ, of which we are a part.
- We wish this unity to deepen and develop and we are open for unity with other churches, inside Sweden and outside Sweden.
- We strive for the church to be present throughout Sweden – geographically, culturally and as regards to expression.
- The church shall also accommodate all aspects of life; happiness, sadness, success, failure, belief, doubt, life and death.
- God invites each person to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, the congregation is a means to gather together in worship, prayer, bible meetings, in community in work or during relaxation, and through baptism and Holy Communion.
- The encounter with Jesus Christ leaves nothing unchanged, it has consequences throughout life for the individual, for the congregation, the community and, through it, for all our world.
Our yearning is that the new church relates to God, the world and itself. A church which lives up to its attitudes and is dependable. This challenges us as a religious community and all our congregations.
We want the church to ….
… be characterised by God’s mission. Jesus Christ has given us the task of bringing people to believe and the church is there for us to be able to do this.
This means that the new church must always look outwards, to see God’s works in our world and be challenged by the spirit of service we learn from Jesus himself.
… be permeated by prayer. It is in the relation between God and people that the church exists and the expression of this relationship is prayer, discourse with God.
This means that God turns His face to us …
… is characterised by the Word of God – which awakens belief and preaches the grace of God – and in which each “reader, who in his own theology” and in fellowship interprets and lives the will of God and speaks to the world.
… we look into the will of God.
… see diaconal work with testimony and fellowship, as the distinguishing mark of the church.
A dependable church lives as it teaches. Jesus’ exhortation to the Church leads to community involvement, we shall be a voice in society which makes a difference.
This means that the church is a tool owned by God and the aim is to form the Kingdom of God in our world.
… characterised by diversity. We are all different as people and this is reflected in the church. Everyone shall be included.
The core is the same and there we are all one, the creed is the basis, eternal and steadfast.
This means that we maintain our diversity and are open for more people in our community.
… be relational, a place with room for all of life, a place for failure, for happiness and joy.
A community where one can share all the stages of life and in which genuine relationships are formed. Irrespective of one’s situation in life, it shall be possible to come to the church as one is, and be received in accordance with one’s needs.
This means that we must always be ready to open new doors in our community.
… live in mutuality. Alone one is not strong. The church consists of a rich diversity in which the congregations together constitute a whole.
This means that we need one another.
… convey the forgiveness of God which liberates people.
This means that we must dare to take a position, deal with conflicts and tensions and show the “otherness” of the Kingdom of God.
… offer fertile ground for life in which each person develops in discipleship, responsibility and love.
This means that “lifelong learning” makes us better equipped for our lives, discipleship, the good discussion and trusteeship.
… be sustainable. An ecologically sustainable church in environmental awareness, a socially sustainable church in community and an economically sustainable church in trusteeship.
This means that we persevere in interaction with God in creation.
… dare to prioritise. Good must not stand in the way of what is best. The vision shows us what is most important right here and right now.
This means that in strategic orientations, we dare to prioritise that which is most urgent.
… be responsible for renewal, and seek new ways of being a church, better suited for our times.
This means that we follow Jesus in each new time.
In preparation for the operational plan for 2012/13, and on the basis of the strategic platform and in dialogue with the congregations, the Church Board has formulated four strategic directions for the Uniting Church in Sweden to prioritise resources in these strategic areas:
Follow – Meet – Serve – Learn
The Uniting Church in Sweden wishes to be:
A church for all aspects of life where the encounter with Jesus Christ transforms – me, you and the world.
What does this mean? For me as a person, for our lives together in society and for the challenges our world confronts us with?
This can be expressed in many ways. One is that Christ at all times sends his disciples with the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Through preaching the Gospel the teachings of Christ are passed on, through diaconal work our fellow beings are supported, and through community people are restored.
These three, preaching of the Gospel, diaconal work and community are indivisible expressions of our task – as a church and as christians.
In the world
International work is an important part of our church and will continue to be so. It is about reliability and global awareness. And long-term involvement for all humanity, for people’s necessities of life.
The Uniting Church in Sweden performs missionary work in a large number of countries throughout the world. In some countries, cooperation has existed for a long time with one of the Uniting Church in Sweden’s educational associations, in other countries cooperation is relatively new. The work may vary, depending on the situation in the country, desires and needs in the sister church, etc. In a number of countries, the Uniting Church in Sweden has its own staff, in other countries there are exchanges of various kinds. The cooperation can include both church work and work of a more social development character. Today, we see missionary work abroad and the mission in Sweden as integrated parts of the same task. International and national work belong together and are often interwoven.
The preaching of the Gospel consists today of pioneer missions, such as support for activities in areas with a weak christian presence and in establishing congregations. It is also about making the Word of God available, for example, through translations of the Bible. Congregational development is a result of the preaching of the Gospel. The main task today is not primarily to send preachers or pastors out to serve congregations, but to support education and theological research in order that the cooperating church can educate its own staff of pastors and evangelists. Organisational development is another area of support.
Social development throughout history has primarily been about education, medical care and health care. Basic school activities have created conditions for work and skills, and a basis for free thought, human dignity and democracy. Education also gives people a greater opportunity to earn their living.
Health is another important factor for people to be able to build a functioning society. This has involved considerable investments in health care and medical care. Despite these investments, poverty is perhaps the greatest hindrance to social development. Never before have there been so many democratic countries as now, while at the same time many people are marginalised.
The Uniting Church in Sweden wants to strengthen various groups in a more defined way so they can discover their ability to change society. Working for human rights to be observed and respected is one way of implementing this. Other ways can be through education in democracy or supporting individuals and groups by finding a basis for them to support themselves. Sister churches in countries with a lack of religious freedom need our support in a particular way.
The Uniting Church in Sweden consists of 790 congregations and is present throughout Sweden.
If you would like to know where we are and how you can join us, contact us where you live.