United Methodist Pastor Heads Swedish Church Union Team
Stockholm, Sweden, February 1, 2012--A United Methodist pastor is the leader of a management group guiding the formation of a new ecumenical denomination in Sweden.
The Rev. Lasse Svensson was chosen in mid-January to head a new three-member team charged with completing the union of three small Swedish Protestant churches: the Mission Covenant Church, the largest of the three with 63,000 members; the Baptist Union, with 17,500 members; and The United Methodist Church, with 4,000 members. He was formerly the facilitator of a council pursuing the merger.
Svensson will be assisted in the new role by the Rev. Sofia Camnerin and the Rev. Olle Alkholm, both pastors of the Mission Covenant Church. Formal election of the officers will take place in May at the new church's first conference.
United Methodist participation in the church union was approved in late 2010 by the Northern Europe and Eurasia Central Conference. The move was overwhelming favored on a vote of 52 to 2.
Rev. Svensson, 40, became a pastor in 1997. In announcing the new management team, Ann-Sofie Lasell, chair of the Church Council for the Joint Future, said, "We believe that Lasse Svensson, Olle Alkholm, and Sofia Camnerin have the qualities to build our common future so that the new church may become an important voice in our society."
Sweden is predominantly Lutheran. Methodism arrived there in the mid-19th century and grew to some 15,000 members by 1900. Participation declined across the 20th century.
Date posted: Feb 01, 2012