At the SMC – Faith in developments’s digital annual meeting yesterday, a new operational strategy for 2022-2026 was decided under the slogan Believe in a Better World.
The new strategy is based on three clear roles for the Council as a meeting place for missions, further intermediaries of money for international work and influences on issues of religious freedom and religious literacy in particular. Thematically, the strategy will focus on three programmes focusing on Faith and Democracy; Environment, climate and resilience as well as organisation and partnership. In groups, representatives of the 31 member organisations discussed how they themselves want to contribute to the implementation of the strategy, stressing the importance of diversity and cooperation in broad networks.
Member organisations’ reactions to the new strategy
However, the decision on the new strategy was not taken unanimously by the annual meeting. The member organization KFUM Sweden voted no but believes that they will still contribute actively to the strategy.
“We would have liked the strategy to have opened up for more inclusion, to be relevant and attractive outside existing groupings that fit within the network and are currently not visible/involved. From other global forums, we have good experience of gathering around development rather than a central focus on faith,” said Niclas Sannerheim, International Secretary at KFUM Sweden.
However, many others appreciated the strategy’s increased focus on missionary issues from a holistic perspective, but also a clearer ambition on issues of the environment, climate and resilience. When it comes to advocacy work on religious freedom and religious literacy, many thought it was good that the strategy also includes Sweden in this work.
“We are pleased that the strategy has now finally been decided with such a positive response from the majority of our member organisations. Now we can start preparing for implementation,” says Eva Nordenstam von Delwig, President at SMC.
Approved annual report for 2020 and new members of the Board
The annual meeting also approved the annual report and annual report for 2020. The Board of Directors was thus discharged from liability.
The former deputy Sofia Svensson, EFS Salt,was elected as a full member of the Board. Maria Utbult, Children’s Mission, was elected as a new replacement on the Board. Ove Gustafsson, PMU, who has been on the Board since 2017, is retiring and was thanked for his work.
Sweden’s Ecumenical Women’s Council leaves
At the annual meeting, it was announced that the Swedish Ecumenical Women’s Council (SEK) has chosen to terminate its membership of the SMC. They announced last year that they had reviewed their membership in various organisations and that the community in the Swedish Mission Council cannot be prioritised at the moment.
“It feels sad, while we understand that they have to make their priorities. We warmly welcome SEK back when they have the opportunity,” says Eva Nordenstam von Delwig.