SUNNE, SWEDEN (January 15, 2013) – Evangelical Covenant Church leaders shared their expertise in church planting and developing ministries of compassion, mercy, and justice during a national gathering of pastors that was inspired by the Covenant Midwinter Conference.
Covenant leaders who led workshops at the Vinter Konferens 2013 were Efrem Smith, superintendent of the Pacific Southwest Conference; David Olson, executive minister of the Department of Church Growth and Evangelism; and Donn Engebretson, executive vice president. Smith also preached during the opening worship service and focused on evangelism in a multicultural world. Olson led plenary sessions on servanthood and the necessity of evangelism.
The three executives were among 10 international presenters invited to the conference, which was held January 7-10. Its theme was “Follow, Meet, Learn, and Serve.”
The 400 pastors who attended are part of the Gemensam Framtid (Common Future) denomination. The ecclesial body was formed through a recent merger of the Covenant Church of Sweden, Swedish Methodist Church, and the Swedish Baptist Union.
The Swedish Covenant Church was the sister denomination of the Evangelical Covenant Church, both springing from the Pietist movement that began within the German Lutheran Church. Gemensam Framtid is a working name for the new denomination, which expects to finalize a new name in 2014.
The conference was the third for the Covenant’s sister church and is held every two years in January.
Engebretson said representatives from the denomination visited the Midwinter Conference for two consecutive years beginning in 2003 and consulted with Covenant leaders about starting their own ministers’ conference.
The latest Swedish gathering “was a reminder of how much we have to contribute to each other as partners in a shared work in God’s Kingdom,” Engebretson said.