LWF’s General Secretary thanks outgoing Church of Sweden Archbishop Antje Jackelén, for her leadership role
(LWI) - A vital voice for the church in the public space, in Sweden and beyond. That is how the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary Rev. Anne Burghardt described the outgoing Church of Sweden leader, Archbishop Dr Antje Jackelén, in a letter of thanks for her support to the global Lutheran communion over the past nine years.
The German-born Jackelén was elected as the 70th archbishop of Uppsala and primate of the Church of Sweden in October 2013, becoming the first woman to hold that leadership position. At the time, she was serving as an LWF Council member and went on to be elected as vice president for the Nordic region, a position she will continue to hold until next year’s Assembly in Krakow, Poland.
Archbishop Jackelén concluded her term of office on 31 October, following a service in Uppsala cathedral on Sunday. In June this year, the Church of Sweden elected her successor, Bishop Martin Modéus who will officially take up his new role in December.
Ecumenism, interfaith, inclusion of marginalized communities
In her greeting to the outgoing leader, Rev. Burghardt applauded the way she has “consistently spoken up for solidarity, dialogue and the inclusion of marginalized peoples and communities.” She said the LWF is “deeply grateful” for Jackelén’s leadership of the Church of Sweden, an LWF founding member and a “strong partner” for its work in many areas, including humanitarian and development work, advocacy, theological education, gender justice and strengthening churches in mission.
Burghardt noted Jackelén’s role in pioneering the European ‘A World of Neighbours’ network “which empowers grassroots activists to become agents of change for a more welcoming and hospitable society.” She also recalled her key role in the 2016 Joint Commemoration of the Reformation which brought the LWF and the Catholic Church together in Lund Cathedral and Malmö Arena, events which the General Secretary described as “a major milestone for the ecumenical movement.”
Finally, Burghardt praised the role that Jackelén has played in strengthening interfaith relations at a time of “increasing polarization and exclusionary discourse in politics and societies at large.” Jackelén will continue to serve as a co-president of the global Religions for Peace network and has said she hopes to continue researching critical questions around the relationship between science and religion.