Great engagement at SMR’s annual meeting

Annual meeting 2023. Photo: SMC

People talking at the annual meeting.People talking at the annual meeting.

How should faith-based organizations relate to a renegotiated social contract? Does the annual meeting need to confirm motions that have already been addressed? These were some burning questions discussed last week when SMR’s network gathered for a day focused on the annual meeting.

The day began with a morning session on the topic of the social contract between civil society and the state, and how the SMR network should navigate the political and societal changes currently taking place, characterized by an increasingly instrumental and controlling view of faith-based organizations. Linnea Lundgren from Marie Cederschiöld University was invited to share her research on the societal discourse surrounding faith-based actors in Sweden from the 1950s onwards. She described changing perspectives over the decades, where they are sometimes seen as a resource and sometimes as a risk. The network had the opportunity to discuss the subject and provide input to SMR’s secretariat and board. Many interesting and thought-provoking points were raised regarding SMR’s future work.

You can learn more about Linnea Lundgren’s research and access her thesis here.

In the afternoon, the actual annual meeting began. The annual report was presented through an interactive exercise. Participants also lined up based on the number of years in SMR, which provided an interesting overview of members’ tenure in the network. The meeting also received the financial statement and audit report.

Changes in the board

Stefan Emilsson was entrusted to lead the board’s work for another year. Karin Lawenius from ACT Svenska Kyrkan was elected as a new regular board member. Outgoing members were Johan Hasselgren and Lotta Sjöström Becker. The nominating committee mentioned that it has been difficult to recruit new board members, and therefore, one position on the board and two positions in the committee remain vacant.

A motion was brought to the meeting, which was the same as the previous year when Läkarmissionen, together with the Life and Peace Institute, motioned for English to become the working language at SMR. Considering that the previous year’s annual meeting had given the mandate to SMR’s secretariat and board to address the language issue, the board proposed rejecting the motion and put forth their own proposal to allow the ongoing process to continue. Läkarmissionen then suggested that the annual meeting, to confirm its intentions, should include wording from the decision made by the board the previous year regarding which documents should be available in English. A debate ensued, resulting in an adjournment of the meeting to give the board time to discuss the matter. Ultimately, the meeting agreed to adopt the board’s decision proposal with the addition that the annual meeting supports the board’s decision.

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