Last month, Ulf Ekman stood nervously before the congregation of the Word of Life church in Uppsala, and told the congregation that he and his wife were going to join the Catholic Church. The Catholic Herald spoke to him about his decision.
- The Catholic Herald
Dressed in a suit and pale blue tie on March 9, the Swedish pastor looked out at the faces of those whose delights and hardships he had shared since he founded the megachurch in 1983.
'This is one of those days when I have something special to say,' he began. Several minutes into the address, which has been watched more than 8,000 times on YouTube, he got to the crux: '[My wife] Birgitta and I have in recent days sensed the Lord’s leading, urging us to join the Catholic Church. This may seem a very radical step. But we have great peace and great joy in this decision.
'Now. You may be thinking: "Boy, that’s the worst thing I’ve heard for a long time…"' The camera then cut away to a young woman whose lip seemed to quiver with shock.
It’s hard for those of us unfamiliar with the charismatic world to grasp the significance of Pastor Ulf’s decision. Described as 'a pastor of pastors', he founded Scandinavia’s largest Bible school and helped to establish more than 1,000 church communities in the former Soviet Union. Through his preaching and writings he has given coherence to one of the fastest-growing, yet most diffuse Christian movements in the world.
Were you baptised a Lutheran as a child?
Yes, I was. I was born and raised in Gothenburg, which is a big port. It’s a very Leftist city with a strong labour movement. I lived a very secularised life. I had a very strong conversion in 1970 through a friend who started to evangelise me. It was a great shock to me that he had become a Christian and then I suddenly realised there was something to this I could not escape.
So he led me over a period of several months to realise that I needed Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. That totally changed my life. It was really coming out of darkness in a very, very concrete way.
Photo: Ulf Ekman and his wife, Birgitta, meet the Pope on April 9
FULL STORY Megachurch pastor Ulf Ekman: ‘We need what the Lord has given to the Catholic Church to live fully as Christians’ (The Catholic Herald)