Remembering our history

A Power Couple of the Early Free Church

John and Josephine Princell encouraged and counseled many early Swedish free churches.

Imagine being told by your dying best friend that you should marry her husband!

Josephine Lind had emigrated from Sweden to the United States. Among the first graduates of a women’s teacher training school in Stockholm, she then taught for eight years, before a sabbatical trip to Boston in America. There she met John and Selma Princell, starting a church for Swedes in that city and Josephine became a Sunday school teacher there. She accepted the Lord as her Savior in 1873 and became a dear friend of Selma.

However, Selma’s health was failing after only two years of marriage. As she spoke with her friend Josephine, she told her that she should marry John after she passed. Indeed, John and Josephine did marry and thus became about the "power couple" of the early EFCA movement.

While John became a professor, editor and leader in the early Swedish Evangelical Free Church, Josephine often traveled with him. She also became an author of dozens of books and articles, encouraging the men and women of the growing association of churches. She is the founder of the Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society (later the Women's Missionary Society of the EFCA).

Josephine outlived John and continued a traveling and speaking ministry. Many sought her out for counsel and help. 

In one of the last letters she wrote in 1937, she began with Daniel 12:3: "And they that be teachers shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever."

Josephine was a foremost leader in the first decades of the Evangelical Free Church. Anna J. Lindgren’s biography of Josephine is a worthy read about a faithful commitment to God and her great ministry to the church.

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