Minutes from Congregational meeting 13 November 2022

Present: Approximately 105 members
Interpreter: Marco Helles  

§ 1 Introduction and opening of the meeting
The Chairman, Greger Hjelm, welcomed those present to the congregational meeting and declared the meeting open.

§ 2 Adoption of the agenda 
Another question was added to the agenda and two others switched places after which the agenda was adopted.

§ 3 Election of adjusters
Ruby Bleppony and Thure Thorgren were elected as adjusters for the minutes together with the chairman.

§ 4 Information regarding the suggestion  of the new Senior Pastor
The chairman began by summarizing the process regarding the recruitment of a new Senior Pastor, (see the minutes from Sept. 25, 2022). Furthermore, he informed that the board proposes to the congregation to call Pastor Carin Dernulf as the Senior Pastor. Carin is an ordained pastor in the Equmenia church and has been the General secretary for Equmenia, the Equmenia church’s children and youth work for the past seven years and is also responsible for about 20 employees. She also has many years of experience working as a pastor and Senior pastor in Centrumkyrkan in Sundbyberg. A congregation with about 700 members and different language groups.

Carin Dernulf will preach in the joint service on Sunday, December 4 and there will be a session for questions and answers at the congregational meeting on the same day. Sunday, December 18 is the extra congregational meeting, where the board hopes that the congregation will call Carin as the new Senior pastor. She can take office sometime in March-April 2023. Claes-Göran Ydrefors will end his assignment as the Interim Senior pastor on Dec. 31 and the board will return to the congregation with a solution to handle the gap in-between the two.

The floor was opened for questions.

The board was thanked for its work and it was requested that there be room for dialogue with the board and with Carin Dernulf, and that the questions and answers session on  December 4 also be translated into English. The chairman replied that it will be interpreted in the best possible way, just like at all congregational meetings. 

§ 5 By-elections to the International council
Anders Andersson, the current chairman of the election committee, informed that two people who were elected to the International council at the annual meeting in May have moved from Stockholm. The election committee therefore proposes to elect Christopher Dalid as a new member of the International council until the annual meeting in 2024.

The Congregation decided according to the proposal.

§ 6 Decision regarding the scope of work of the nomination committee 
The chairman presented the board’s proposal for the scope of work of the nomination committee. The board proposes that the nomination committee be responsible for developing proposals for selecting people for the following:

Constitutional bodies

  • The Board 
  • Auditors
  • Ministry plan Committee


  • The Swedish council
  • The International council
  • The Korean council

Committees (all members)

  • The Diaconal Committee
  • The Christmas fair Committee
  • The Mission and Aid Committee
  • The Music Committee
  • The Music School Committee
  • The Tegnergården Committee
  • The Translation Committee

The Committees (conveners only)

  • The Archives Committee
  • The Immanuel Serving Committee
  • Bequests, Gifts and Wills Committee
  • The Committee for Information Hosts

Furthermore, the board proposes that the congregational groups are not included in the election committee’s tasks. The board needs to review and get back to the congregation regarding how groups can be formed, who can form groups and how they can be presented, etc.

The floor was opened for questions.

The board’s proposal for limiting and clarifying the election committee’s work was considered urgent, and requests were made to also create clarity around people in groups as they are an important volunteer force, contributing a great deal to the congregation. A request was also made to get the music committee started again so as to take a comprehensive approach to the congregation’s multifaceted musical life.

The Congregation decided according to the board’s proposal with regards to the limitation of the election committee’s scope of work.

§ 7 Election of the election committee
Marco Helles, convener of the nomination committee, presented the committee’s proposal for a new nomination committee, with three members from the Swedish, two from the Korean and three from the International councils:

Karin Sandström, convener
Inga Johansson
Mikael Ivarsson  
Dadae Choi
Jungyoun Cho 
Vida Afua Attah
Sujata Lalit Kumar
Esther Nyiramugisha

The Congregation decided according to the nomination committee’s proposal. The outgoing election committee was thanked with applause.

§ 8 Calling of Jacob Molander as Pastor Assistant  , appendix 1
The Interim Senior pastor Claes-Göran Ydrefors gave a presentation of Pastor Assistant Jacob Molander, his previous assignments in the Congregation and informed that Jacob has now been accepted as a pastor candidate in the Equmenia church. The chairman then read out the board’s decision; “The board proposes to the congregational meeting to call Jacob Molander to the position of pastor (100%) with a focus on working with the youth in the Swedish group. Until he enters the guidance year of the Equmenia Church, he holds the professional title of Pastor Assistant. After his  ordination, the congregation will receive Jacob as pastor through installation.”

The floor was opened for questions.

The congregation had an in-depth and engaged discussion about the process for this calling of a non-ordained person, the position as such and also wanted to understand why decisions are hurried and how similar processes should look in the future. The presentation via video link during the church coffee on Sunday, November 6 was considered by several members to be deficient and there were requests for more time and a clearer presentation of Jacob in the various groups. The chairman made it clear that it is the congregation that is the decision-maker when it comes to pastors and deacons with regard to permanent positions (not temporary) and the meaning of the guidance year was explained. The chairman also clarified that according to the Equmenia Church’s order for pastors and deacons, it is only when the person enters the guidance year that he/she may call himself pastor or deacon. Pastors receive the legal rights, such as the right to officiate marriage ceremonies at ordination, which takes place after the guidance year.

Ingrid Östlund, vice-chairman of the board who is also part of the staff committee, informed that the committee has been tasked with writing a proposal to the board about a future policy regarding unordained pastors and deacons.

The chairman regretted that the process turned out the way it did and wished it had been different. He summarized by saying that no one has anything against Jacob regarding the position, but that it is how the process went that is being discussed. Two proposals emerged; to say yes to the board’s proposal or to postpone the decision until the congregational meeting on Dec. 4 and until then schedule meetings with Jacob Molander and various groups in the congregation.

The congregation decided to say yes to the decision made at today’s meeting.

The congregation decided to say yes to the calling of Jacob Molander as Pastor Assistant with a focus on the youth in accordance with the board’s proposal as mentioned above.

§ 9 Information regarding the budget 2023
Hans-Olof Hagén, chairman of the finance committee, informed about how difficult it has been to work on the budget for 2023 where the budget will probably be out of balance. He still considered this to be acceptable because the congregation sold a condominium and the finances therefore are good. The Congregation’s finances will probably be in the red for a couple of years, but in the long term the financial situation looks good despite the inflation hitting the Church’s finances hard.

Hans-Olof informed about the finance committee’s proposal to focus on the internal and external communication for a period. He also appealed to the congregation to increase their offerings, as the raised funds itself is significantly lagging behind in the budget.

The floor was opened for questions.

Many in the congregation spoke about issues such as reforms and review of staff costs, and a plan to reduce the deficit was requested. Suggestions were made to equip members as volunteers as well as to tap into the gifts and talents that already exist in the congregation. This should be seen as a possible way to hold down staff costs.

The board will return to issues concerning the budget at a later congregational meeting this year.

§ 10 Other matters

a) Revised document- About Immanuel Church Congregation, appendix 2 & 3
The chairman informed that a revision had been made to the document about Immanuel Church’s congregation that was distributed at the congregational meeting in March 2022. This document came up due to the different views in the congregation of Immanuel Church and what it stands for. It is a summary of the most basic decisions previously taken by the congregation or as a long-standing practice.

The board has taken into account all the comments that were forwarded to them last spring, some paragraphs have been reformulated and all paragraphs have been supplemented with references. The idea was to present the document to the councils in October and discuss how the knowledge can be passed on to the respective groups. That meeting was canceled and the chairman encouraged everyone to take the document with them and read it at home, in order to later discuss it in small groups at a congregational meeting.

If the congregation wants to reconsider any part of previously taken decisions, there are arrangements in the constitution for that. All members have the right, according to those arrangements, to send their questions to the congregational and annual meetings.

Copies of the document were available to all present in Swedish and English.

b) Other information from the Interim Senior pastor
The Interim Senior pastor Claes-Göran Ydrefors reminded the congregation of the Christmas market on Saturday, November 26 from 10-14.30 where the entire proceeds go to our sister congregations in Congo and India. He encouraged all to take the information sheet available at the information desk and see how they can contribute. Furthermore, he highlighted the Teen Choir’s concert on Friday, November 18  at 19.00 and concluded by expressing his joy of welcoming 27 new members in today’s service.

§ 11 Conclusion
The chairman thanked everyone present and especially the technical team and the interpreters for their efforts. The Interim Senior Pastor Claes-Göran Ydrefors said the blessing, after which the chairman declared the meeting closed.

Congregational Secretary:
Cathrin Sjöström,

Greger Hjelm, Chairman                           
Ruby Bleppony & Thure Thorgren