Some readers may remember the post about Ulf Ekman, a prominent Evangelical pastor who stunned the world when he announced last year he was becoming Catholic.
Now, an update, The National Catholic Register:
On March 9, 2014, Ulf Ekman, founder and pastor of Word of Life church in Uppsala, Sweden, shocked his congregation with the announcement that he and his wife, Birgitta, were leaving Word of Life to join the Catholic Church. The Ekmans’ decision created a commotion, not only among the Protestant faithful, but even throughout decidedly secular Sweden. The Ekmans will present their story at the “Defending the Faith Conference” July 24-26 at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. What were your thoughts while walking out of Word of Life church after announcing your decision to join the Catholic Church? This is hard to describe in a few words. We started, built and developed this ministry; and for over 30 years, I was its pastor. We knew that, taking this step, we naturally would have to leave all of this. The sadness of some of our very, very good friends, staff and members made it difficult. But we trusted that the new leadership would be able to take it further, and we also trusted that this was all in God’s hands. Over and above all these things, there was a deep sense of peace and direction in our hearts. You said that, with your reception into the Church on May 21, 2014, you and your wife felt that you were “becoming who we really were.” What did you mean? It was a real experience for us. It was like several missing pieces fell into place, and so much started to make sense. There was a deep sense of “arriving” that came to us. It has been just over a year since you and your wife were received into the Church. Can you share a little about the highs and lows of the past year? It has been a wonderful year that we will never forget as long as we live. We feel very much at home in the Church and are grateful to the Lord. It has also been an intense year, due to the ongoing media coverage in Scandinavia. We have gained some wonderful new friends, but, like Blessed John Henry Newman said, it has also been a time of “parting of friends.” The media coverage has been an ordeal? Yes, as I mentioned, it has been quite intense. But we anticipated that. Sweden used to be a staunch Protestant nation but is today one of the most secular nations in the world, so you can image the questions and the reactions.