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In Sweden, Three Denominations Become One

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN (June 10, 2011) – The Swedish Mission Church, Swedish Methodist Church, and the Swedish Baptist Union have finalized their vote to become one denomination.

The Mission Church was the second-largest Christian denomination in the country, after the national church, the Church of Sweden. It is a sister denomination of the Evangelical Covenant Church, both springing from the Pietist movement, which began within the German Lutheran Church.

Four hundred representatives from the three Swedish denominations voted on the agreement at a Formation Meeting earlier this month. The church will begin its operations later this year or in 2012. The central office will be housed in the Ecumenical Centre, currently under construction in Alvik, Stockholm.

The working name of the new church is Gemansam Framtid (Common Future). A final decision on a permanent name will by made by 2014.

The vote was the culmination of years of cooperation. The three denominations voted in 2008 at their respective annual meetings to accept the Declaration of Intention concerning the creation of a new joint denomination.

The Declaration explains the biblical reasons for the churches’ decision. “Jesus’s prayer for his disciples challenges the Christian Church to manifest the unity which is a gift of God. All Christians living in the same place are called to a full fellowship with each other and with the whole Church of Christ,” the document read. “Worship service, proclamation, Holy Communion, and service witness to this unity.”

Prior to the Declaration, the three denominations already had started planting joint congregations. The document noted that the differing histories will strengthen Common Future. “This church will be a provisional one on our way to the visible unity of the Church of Christ in openness to other churches and denominations in Sweden. Our historic roots from different traditions are gifts that we hand to each other. We constitute diversity in the joint assignment of serving God and our neighbor.”

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