Remembering our history

A Significant Guide

Erick Anton Halleen was the first president of the merged Free Church movement.

Erick Anton Halleen left his home in North Branch, Minnesota at 20 years old with a dream to preach the gospel in 1894. Halleen was an immigrant, coming to the United States from Sweden with his family when he was eight years old. When he was nine, a teacher taught him about John’s vision of heaven from Revelation and he believed in the gospel.

Halleen was ordained at Milaca Free Church and served as its pastor for a time, before he began traveling with Louis Olson, serving small churches with evangelism campaigns throughout the upper Midwest.

Black and white photo of a man in a black suit with a mustache
E. A. Halleen

Despite not having any formal theological training, Halleen pastored churches in Holcomb, Nebraska, Minneapolis, Minnesota and Rockford, Illinois. It was during his time at Rockford Free Church that he was chosen as the Superintendent of Missions for the whole denomination. 

In 1932, he was officially named as President of the Swedish Free Church. He served as president until the merger of the Swedish and Norwegian/Danish denominations in 1950, and then of the merged bodies until 1952.

Beloved leader, prolific writer and powerful preacher, he traveled extensively in the churches and to several of the mission fields. His autobiography, Sunshine and Shadow, shares the countless miracles, anecdotes and ways God used him over his life time. 

After Halleen’s death, the Evangelical Beacon devoted a tribute issue to him which you can download. Few leaders have served as such a significant guide for the Free Church as Erick Anton Halleen.

Tom Cairns

Tom Cairns is the archivist for the EFCA. A physician who worked for 19 years in Congo, Tom later served as director of international ministries for the EFCA mission, now known as ReachGlobal. Since retirement, Tom enjoys sharing stories about the history of the EFCA, answering questions from our churches and helping the churches with their own stories. He also uploads our historical books, photos and documents to our archive website. Tom’s great desire is to bring glory to God as we celebrate the history we have in the EFCA.

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