Photos: Magnus Aronson/Church of Sweden

Photos: Magnus Aronson/Church of Sweden

As the Church of Sweden’s highest decision-making body – its Church Assembly – opened in late September, World Council of Churches (WCC) president for Europe Archbishop emeritus Anders Wejryd spoke on the legacy and present-day importance of ecumenical efforts.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continuing to place restrictions on physical meetings, the arrangements for this year's Church Assembly meetings are unprecedented – as a reduced number of delegates gathered for a blended meeting, chaired physically in Uppsala, Sweden, but with the remainder of 44 delegates gathered around the table digitally, online.

Addressing this first of two Church Assembly meetings planned in 2020, Wejryd noted that “Ecumenism is about context. It is about ecology, economy, eco-theology.”

The ecumenical movement’s mission, he continued, is “to remind churches of their responsibility to build societies that are good. Churches, which may otherwise so easily become introvert and centred on their own internal business…” he added.

Wejryd observed how the ecumenical movement has influenced the Church of Sweden’s work and self-understanding for decades.

WCC president for Europe Archbishop emeritus Anders Wejryd addresses the Church Assembly.

“But what about today? What does the WCC do today? They keep at it,” he said, referencing the council’s ongoing work in areas such as human dignity, for refugees and asylum seekers, women’s rights, child rights, and climate justice.

“The Church of Sweden is needed within the WCC. This is quite easy for a Swede to think. What is more difficult is to realize that we also need the WCC. The WCC has helped bring renewal to our church,” he concluded.

Church of Sweden