Monday, March 10, 2014

Popular Swedish pastor converts to Catholicism


Thirty years ago Ulf Ekman left the Swedish Lutheran Church and founded a very successful nondenominational church in Sweden (Pentecostal/charismatic). He has written over 50 books and established a seminary. I watched a video of one of the services (over 2 hours so you have to move in about 60 minutes to hear him) and they are incredibly up to date in everything dealing with church technology and evangelization. I didn't know the words they were singing, but recognized the repetition, swaying and hand clapping style (voiced translation of the sermon into English is just so-so).

Word of Life’s local church is located in Uppsala, which is the fourth largest city in Sweden, some 70 kilometres (45 miles) north of the capital, Stockholm. The church has around 3,000 members and offers a broad variety of activities, services and gatherings for both young and old, a rich music life, educational facilities and different social projects.

Word of Life has 12 pastors, sharing the responsibility for the church’s everyday life and activities, such as ministry of the Word, prayer groups (also called cell groups), the Bible school, missions, children’s and youth ministry, care for the elderly and sick, as well as outreach projects and social activities.

In the last 7 years Ekman has been moving toward a more classical, historical stance, and yesterday in the Sunday service he announced he and his wife have converted to Catholicism. He retired as senior pastor about a year ago.

“Rev. Ekman was born in Gothenburg, Sweden, and in 1970 – a few days before graduating from high school– he had an encounter with Jesus Christ and became a Christian, an incident that left him totally transformed and that radically changed the direction of his life. He enrolled at Uppsala University and acquired degrees in theology, history and ethnography. In 1976, he met and married Birgitta, daughter of a Methodist pastor and his wife and raised in India where her parents were missionaries. In January of 1979, Rev. Ekman was ordained minister of the Swedish Lutheran Church, and for some years he worked as a student chaplain at Uppsala University.

In 1983 Rev. Ekman founded Word of Life Church and Word of Life Bible Centre in Uppsala, Sweden and resigned from the Lutheran Church and his name and face become known all over the nation. Already from start Word of Life has been the biggest church of the faith movement in Sweden and Ulf Ekman is a highly appreciated and often-invited speaker at churches and conferences of various denominations, not only in Scandinavia but also internationally.”

His blog has not been updated for 2 years, but reading through his own page, I see that the Bible school is being phased out, and the Spring seminar ended last year, as did his ministry at the church.

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