Remembering our history

Gathering Every Winter

Our movement has a long history of gathering for study and fellowship.

In two weeks, pastors from across the country will be gathered at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for the annual EFCA Theology Conference. 

The Swedish Evangelical Free Church Ministerial began meeting in 1893 once or twice a year for fellowship and personal growth: the theological sessions were linked with the business meetings. Eventually, the theological sessions were held separately, at the Mid-winter Ministerial, which became the EFCA Theology Conference.

Black and white photo of a large group of men, in front of two American flags
1904 Swedish EFC Ministerial Conference in Rockford, Illinois

Pastors eagerly come long distances to hear from respected leaders and teachers as they expound God’s word on vital topics of the day.

As Swedish pastors gathered every year for fellowship, they were also encouraged and trained through great preaching and practical sessions on church leadership. At that time, many pastors were lay preachers, though some had limited formal Bible Institute training.

The Danish-Norwegian Evangelical Free Church began holding similar events for its pastors in the mid-1890s as well. In the photo, the Danish-Norwegian group is shown standing outside the Clintonville, Wisconsin church in 1893.

Black and white photo of 23 men outside an old white building
Conference of Norwegian and Danish ministers in Clintonville, Wisconsin in 1893

The formal Ministerial Association of the past is now known as the EFCA Network, encouraging pastors in many ways as they face the realities of their work.

God has used all of these gatherings to challenge, encourage and promote fellowship among the pastors. This year, the theme of the EFCA Theology Conference is, “The Doctrine of God” from Article 1 of our Statement of Faith.

Will you be attending the 2023 EFCA Theology Conference?

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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