Please Note

This text was published first on 19 October, 2022. It can therefore contain information or views that is inaccurate. It is online for archival purposes.

Minutes from the Congregational meeting 25 September 2022

Present:        Approximately 75 members
Interpreter: Tomas Eriksson 

§ 1       Introduction and opening of the meeting

The chairman of the Board, Greger Hjelm welcomed those present at the congregational meeting, then said a prayer and declared the meeting open.

§ 2       Adoption of the agenda

The chairman informed that the question regarding the election of the new election committee is omitted because the proposal for a new election committee is not complete. The matter will be taken up at the congregational meeting on November 13. Then a proposal will also be presented to the Congregation for a decision regarding the scope of the election committee’s mission.

Vida Afua Attah, a member of the current election committee, raised the issue of by-elections to the international council. A question that was raised with the chairman of the election committee already during the summer, when it was known that a member of the International Council needed to step down from his position. There is a name proposed for the by-election, but the question is missing from today’s agenda.

The chairman regretted that the election committee, before today’s congregational meeting, had not submitted this matter earlier. He assured that this will be taken up at the next congregational meeting on November 13.

Two other questions were added to the agenda, after which the agenda was adopted.

§ 3  Election of adjusters

Alison James and Eva Pilenvik were elected as adjusters for the minutes, to adjust the minutes together with the chairman.

§ 4       Information regarding the recruitment of the new Senior Pastor and other matters

a) Recruitment of the new Senior Pastor

The chairman began by summarizing the process when Ulla Marie Gunner left her position as Senior Pastor in January for health reasons and Claes-Göran Ydrefors took on the role as acting Senior Pastor in 2022. In the spring, the board asked the International Councils to submit their desired criteria for a Senior Pastor, which were presented at the congregational meeting in April. The advertisement x then went out deliberately did not have a cut-off date to give the process space over the summer.

The board’s recruitment group consists of Barbro Ericsson (chairman of the Staff committee, Ingrid Östlund (vice chairman of the board) and Greger Hjelm (chairman of the board). The chairman informed that talks are ongoing with two candidates that the recruitment group considers to be potentially fit for the position. The candidates have requested for confidentiality, which is why the board is not revealing any names at this stage.

The next process is the interviews that will take place next week with the two candidates with a larger group within the board and then a meeting will be planned with the entire board. The congregation will be informed of any proposal that the board receives. If the schedule permits, the chosen candidate can preach in the joint service on November 13. There will also be an opportunity for questions and preferably also a decision on calling the subsequent congregational meeting. A new Senior Pastor could then be in place from 1 March 2023.

The floor was opened for questions.

The congregational members feel that it is inappropriate to make a decision to call a person on the same day they are preaching. A need for time in-between was wished and these wishes were put in a different order in the process. The chairman replied that a decision may need to be made at an extra congregational meeting, but this also has to do with the process around the notice period and the possible start for the new Senior Pastor. He also informed that the candidates are external.

b) Other information

The chairman informed the congregation about the renovation that is ongoing on the premises. Paus has received a proper facelift and there is a lot of ongoing work on level K3.

  • Furthermore, he informed that Samuel Borg, CEO of Probitas, has visited the board and described the situation of Probitas and that they will have to raise rents for tenants on all its properties. The financial situation is tougher for everyone due to the world situation, inflation and increase in interest rate. It is likely that everyone will have a worse economy, society will have more vulnerable people and the need for help will increase. The chairman appealed to the congregation to keep up with the offering even in worse times.
  • In two years, Immanuel church will celebrate its 50th anniversary. The board has decided on a working group for planning the anniversary. Festivities to celebrate the 50 years but also a space for reflection on how our congregation is today and the way forward.

§ 5       Calling of Frida Fritzon as deacon

The acting Senior Pastor Claes-Göran Ydrefors informed that the board will get back to the congregation regarding the position of pastor’s assistant/pastor with focus on the youth. He gave a greeting from Lunch in Community, which served 300 people yesterday. There are more families coming to these occasions than before and it is assumed that this is due to the fact that families are now living with smaller margins. The congregation’s diaconal work is ongoing during the weeks, all from visits and conversations to accompanying someone to meetings at the social service or helping with a financial contribution.

Claes-Göran introduced deacon Frida Fritzon, who had been employed as a deacon’s assistant in the church. She has now, after the church conference in Vårgårda, entered the so-called practical guidance year. Frida is a sociologist with a long experience and with her competence brings an additional breadth to our diaconal team. The board proposes to the congregation to call Frida Fritzon as deacon in Immanuel Church.

The Congregation decided in agreement, according to the proposal to call deacon Frida Fritzon from today, September 25, 2022 and the congregation sent her a warm welcome.

§ 6       Report from the Church Conference

Mikael Ivarsson, convener for the congregation’s representatives for the August 2022 Church Conference, presented the congregation’s 10 representatives who met twice before the conference to discuss issues and agree on decisions to be taken. At the conference, the consensus method is used for decisions. A method Mikael wants the congregation to investigate for themselves.

                      Some decisions and important points:

  • “Färdplan” (Roadmap), a letter from the church leaders. A letter (booklet) with thoughts about the future of the Equmenia Church, which Mikael warmly recommended reading. “Färdplan!” can be purchased for SEK 30 at the information desk in the church square.
  • The Church Board presented proposals for changes to the statutes, among others regarding who may propose deputy church leaders. Changes that make the statutes clearer and simpler. The meeting adopted the changes.
  • A motion to include charismatics in pastor training was adopted.
  • Kerstin Enlund was elected chairman of the church board for 1 year,
  • Materials for some important topics were presented; the Climate Emergency Action Plan with tangible examples of what congregations can do, as well as materials on Equmenia Church and LGBTQ.

Mikael further informed that it was such a celebration to join in the intercession for pastor Winnie Olofsson and deacon Frida Fritzon who have now entered the practical guidance year.

Mikael thanked all for the trust reposed in him to represent the congregation at the conference. He warmly recommends that more people take part in it and be given the chance to experience the uplifting services and gatherings as well as to meet others. It is possible to participate in the church conferences both as a representative and as a visitor.

§ 7       Other questions

a) Information regarding the revision of the constitution and organization

The temporary organizational committee works with the revision of the congregation’s constitution and organization. Claes Jonsson informed that the committee interviewed groups in the congregation before conducting its work and is now working on formulating proposals for adjustments. The goal is for Immanuel Church’s congregation to become as united as possible. The committee hopes to present a proposal to the annual meeting in 2023.

b) Other information from the acting Senior Pastor

The acting Senior Pastor Claes-Göran Ydrefors highlighted that Immanuel Church as a congregation is part of a connection, the Uniting Church in Sweden (Equmeniakyrkan). A community that is now celebrating 10 years. He underlined the risk of believing that our congregation is the center of the world and encouraged us to read the congregation’s newspaper “Sändaren” and to read “Färdplan”, the booklet previously presented.

Claes-Göran went on to talk about the recently published book “Not just God’s house”, an exciting read about how it was possible to build the church in this particular block and stories about the properties that are owned by Probitas. An important part of the congregation’s history and for everyone, is the importance of knowing our history and to understand who we are now. The book is sold at the information desk in the church square for SEK 150 (ord. price SEK 255).

Claes-Göran announced a number of dates during the autumn:

  • Sunday 9 October, joint service with installation of deacon Sara Stignäs
  • Sunday 16 October, focus on the church fee. 70% of your church fee goes to Immanuel Church and 30% to Equmenia Church’s work in Sweden.
  • Sunday 13 November, joint service and possible meetings with the proposed new Senior Pastor.
  • Saturday 26 November, Christmas market. The proceeds will go to the Mission & Aid and the congregation’s work in Congo and India, among others.

Claes-Göran encouraged the congregation to take everything that is happening in an intercessory prayer and to tell others about what to find and is happening here in the church. Let us help others find the connection to our congregation.

§ 8       Conclusion

The chairman thanked Mats Bernö, who left the board after the annual meeting in May. He was thanked with flowers and applause. Mats thanked all for the confidence placed in him during the years he served on the board and believes that the congregation and the board have a good way of working by finding ways forward through consensus.

The acting Senior Pastor Claes-Göran Ydrefors said his blessings after which the chairman closed the meeting.

Cathrin Sjöström

Greger Hjelm, Chairman                   
Alison James               
Eva Pilenvik