WELS Connection Close-up

This month is a busy one for Rev. Stefan Hedkvist, pastor at LBK Norrköping- Västerås, Norrköping, Sweden, and his wife, Gunilla. Not only is Gunilla traveling to Wisconsin to attend and present at the WELS National Worship Conference, but the Hedkvists will be involved in the 40th anniversary of their church body, Lutherska Bekännelsekyrkan (Lutheran Confessional Church—LBK in Sweden).

The LBK was formed after members broke away from the state church in Sweden. Being a confessional Lutheran church in a country that has become more secular hasn’t been easy, especially with having only 250 members in seven churches.

The support of WELS through the Commission on Inter-Church Relations (CICR) and 23 other church bodies through the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference (CELC) has been key. “Knowing that there are so many confessional churches around the world and that we are all praying for each other is a great encouragement,” says Stefan. “Whether big or small, we need each other’s prayers.”

Besides supporting the LBK with its prayers, WELS has provided advice, educational support, help with publications, and some financial assistance through the years. WELS representatives “have willingly shared their knowledge when teaching and lecturing, and good judgment whenever we have needed help,” says Stefan.

“Humanly speaking, our church would not have existed without the support from WELS, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church in Germany.”

And the LBK is giving that help back to other sister churches. “Although we are very small we can support our fellow Christians in other countries,” says Stefan. “Our Damlaget (women’s team)—the LBK ‘LWMS’—currently supports a Romanies Lutheran congregation in our fellowship in Bulgaria by sending clothes to this poor congregation and paying part of the pastor’s salary.” Stefan says his congregation also assists Geraja Lutheran Church in Indonesia because of a couple of Islamic converts in the congregation.

Mutual assistance and fellowship is important to confessional Lutheran churches around the world. WELS repre-sentatives will be at the 40th anniversary in Sweden and will be teaching courses after the event. Gunilla also is excited to renew contacts and learn more about the new hymnal project at the worship conference. “I am looking forward to worshiping with my Christian friends in WELS again,” she says.