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Nathan Söderblom anniversary

Message from the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit to Archbishop Antje Jackelén of the Church of Sweden at the occasion of 100 years anniversary of the consecration of Nathan Söderblom as Archbishop of Uppsala.

07 November 2014

Dear Archbishop Antje Jackelén,

Nathan Soderblom was a remarkable leader in the church of Jesus Christ. He offered his gifts and time to the leadership of your church, but he also gave significant and unique leadership to the ecumenical fellowship of churches.

Just as you pass his statue every day, so too I see his statue in front of my office here in the World Council of Churches (WCC) and am reminded of and inspired by his legacy. You carry his cross as Archbishop of Uppsala, and with your own faith and love you carry forward the great task of bringing his visions for unity, peace and justice into the daily life of the Church of Sweden. We are greatly encouraged by how you and your predecessors have continued in his commitment to the one ecumenical movement.

Through his initiatives for an organized ecumenical movement, particularly through the great and unprecedented meeting in Stockholm 1925, Nathan Soderblom opened a new chapter in the history of the churches and their common witness in the world. He was instrumental in planning the institutional embodiment of the ecumenical movement, which later became the WCC.

In 1930, in Oslo, he was rewarded the Nobel Peace prize for his initiatives to make the fellowship of churches a movement for justice and peace. That was a significant recognition of how the churches can contribute something together for just peace of the world. It reminds us of the potential and duty to do also in our time.

Therefore, it is with gratitude to you and your colleagues for marking this event I greet you in the name of the World Council of Churches. The WCC is, with its new theme "A Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace," very close to the ideas and the understanding of our calling as churches that Soderblom expressed in such a strong way.

Recently I have been enriched by reading the new biography of Soderblom written by your colleague Rev. Dr Jonas Jonson, and I am supported in our work by your predecessor Anders Wejryd as president of the WCC.

Together with you and the many colleagues and friends in Sweden, I celebrate this event, proud of belonging to the same church family as you and your predecessor, Nathan Soderblom.

May God continue to bless you in your ministry, and your days together in this event special event!

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary