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Ecumenical Relations

Ecumenism strives to reach greater fellowship och ultimately unity between divided Christians.

This search originated in experiences in the mission fields during the 19th century, when divisions between the churches undermined the credibility of the Gospel. This was brought out at the World Mission Conference in Edinburgh in 1910, which therefore in some ways is considered the starting point of modern ecumenism.

Dividing questions were addressed

Its urgency was further accentuated by the suffering caused by the First World War. Then many realized that more could be done to alleviate the problems if Christians worked together. The World conference of Life and Work was therefore organized in Stockholm in 1925 to discuss how churches could cooperate in social endeavor.

It was soon realized that cooperation in spreading the Gospel and diaconal service would not ultimately increase unity unless the questions of doctrine on which the churches are divided were addressed. This led to the Faith and Order movement, which was inaugurated at a conference in Lausanne in 1927.

Active from start

The Church of Sweden has been active in the ecumenical movement from the start. One of its pioneers was the Archbishop of Uppsala, Nathan Söderblom, who arranged the Life and Work conference in Stockholm. Various Swedish theologians have also been active in the doctrinal wing of the ecumenical movement. 

The two branches of the ecumenical movement, Life and Work and Faith and Order, were amalgamated into one organization when the World Council of Churches (WCC) was founded in Amsterdam in 1948. The Church of Sweden has been represented in this body since then. 1968 it hosted the Fourth General Assembly in Uppsala.