Declaration of Intention

The Church Conference of 2008 decided to accept the Declaration of Intention concerning the creation of a new join denomination/church. The same decision was taken respectively by the Methodist Church Conference and the Baptist Union Conference.

The challenge of the Gospel
Jesus’ prayer for his disciples challenges the Christian Church to manifest the unity which is a gift of God. All Christians living in the same place are called to a full fellowship with each other and with the whole Church of Christ. Worship service, proclamation, Holy Communion and service witness to this unity.
 The sending of the Son by the Father has been passed on by Jesus to his disciples. The Church of God represents the body of Christ – evident, visible and active in the world we share with all people. With Jesus Christ as a centre, we want to form a Church living its assignment to meet people in today’s society.

Steps on the way
In terms of steps on the way, the Baptist Union, the Methodist Church and the Mission Covenant Church have since long been approaching each other. This development has been confirmed by the increasing number of joint congregations.
 Therefore we want to build, together, a new joint church for our time and for the future. This church will be a provisional one on our way to the visible unity of the Church of Christ in openness to other churches and denominations in Sweden.
 Our historic roots from different traditions are gifts that we hand to each other. We constitute diversity in the joint assignment of serving God and our neighbour.
 We are called to serve God and our neighbour. Together we can renew our congregations and in a new joint church we can develop the work looking ahead towards the future.
 It is the denominations that seek fellowship – what the consequences will be for the local congregations and their fellowship depends on the decisions taken by the respective local congregations.

Unity in Diversity
The new denomination/church holds congregations of different nature and orientation in the same way as we as individuals are different and have different gifts, but in Christ we are one. Together, this fellowship in diversity will support and develop the work in the congregations.
 The historic ties between the “Alliansmissionen” and the MCCS on one hand and between the Baptist Union and the “Evangeliska Frikyrkan” on the other hand will be maintained. The respective ecumenical agreements between the Methodist Church on one hand and the MCCS on the other, with the Church of Sweden will continue. Joint congregations also belonging to other denominations will still have their place in the new joint denomination.
 The international commitments of the three denominations are important and could be further developed together. Obligations in reciprocal mission to sister churches in other countries will be taken over by the new denomination.
 On the basis of what has been said above, the Boards of the Methodist Church, the Baptist Union and the Mission Covenant Church transmit the following declaration of intention for consideration and deepening before the decision to be taken at the Conferences of 2009:

- The Methodist Church in Sweden states its intention to form a new joint denomination together with the Swedish Baptist Union and the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden.
- The Baptist Union of Sweden states its intention to form a new joint denomination together with the Methodist Church in Sweden and the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden.
- The Mission Covenant Church of Sweden states its intention to form a new joint denomination together with the Methodist Church in Sweden and the Swedish Baptist Union.

Our Common Process
The Church Conference of 2008 decided to accept the Declaration of Intention concerning the creation of a new join denomination/church. The same decision was taken respectively by the Methodist Church Conference and the Baptist Union Conference. At the prospect of this year’s Conference, three working groups have submitted the report “The Way Ahead”. This work may form the basis of subsequent work on the Constitution and on organisational issues and on issues concerning the forms in which the transfer can be done into the new joint denomination/church. Some twenty regional meetings have been held giving information and providing exchange of thoughts about the common process and the document “The Way Ahead”.

In the next phase a joint working group will be appointed which will start working with the issues about Constitution, democratic structures, decision-making bodies, leadership, organisation etc. on the basis of among other things “The Way Ahead”.

In addition, each denomination should reflect, separately, on the carrying out of the new forms of international commitments within a new joint denomination/church. Here negotiations are needed with the sister churches but one must also take into account obligations within the international mission work. This work should be checked with the other denominations.


Proposition
On the basis of what has been said above the Boards of the Methodist Church, the Baptist Union and Mission Covenant Church propose that their respective Church Conferences decide:
- to adopt the proposition of a Declaration of Intention concerning the forming of a new joint denomination/church.


Svenska Missionskyrkan