Printed materials of the church: The Messenger, The Annual Journal and Our Daily Bread
Explore the resource files to find a wide range of materials both old and new that will be of interest and useful to our members and those interested in learning more about Swedenborg and the church. Publications include the Annual Journal and The Messenger. In the Library, one can find the New Century Edition’s of Swedenborg’s writings published by the Swedenborg Foundation, collateral materials including current articles and pamphlets. Lesson plans are available for Children’s Ministries, Sunday Schools and Camps. Sermons and sermon research materials are available in print form, audio and video. Online resources include links to the Off the Left Eye YouTube Channel which has a live Monday night steaming broadcast. SwedenborgianCommunity.org offers weekly services to read, listen to and to watch and broadcast interviews and special services on BlogTalkRadio. Our Daily Bread at SpiritualQuesters.org also offers services in print form, audio and special video interviews.
Printed materials of the church: The Messenger, The Annual Journal and Our Daily Bread
E-books, Swedenborg's Works, Articles, Online Resources, Audio, Video and downloadable Lesson Plans
Printed, Online, Audio and Video sermons, including resource materials from writing sermons.
The Swedenborgian Church is an ever-evolving organization. Currently, traditional activities such as worship services, Sunday School programs, doctrinal discussion groups, and lectures are retained and in some programs remain the central focus. There is also, however, an increasing emphasis on the variety of religious experiences, and Swedenborgians are actively pursuing avenues of spiritual development outside the traditional framework of religious worship.
In a symbolic way, this trend toward innovation in inner spiritual growth methods is expressed in several new outward expressions of Swedenborgian architecture. During the rapid growth of the Swedenborgian Church in the middle and late nineteenth-century, large traditional church sanctuaries were built in the major cities of the United States, from Boston and New York to San Francisco and San Diego. Many of the oversized structures of the past have now been sold and more functional facilities acquired. Where the style of choice for Swedenborgian churches in the 1800’s was Gothic and Renaissance, in the twentieth century fresh expressions of contemporary places of worship have been built. The best known of Swedenborgian churches is the Wayfarers Chapel, on the Palos Verdes peninsula in southern California. This unique building of redwood and glass, designed by Lloyd Wright, overlooks the Pacific, enabling the many thousands of visitors and regular worshipers to commune with the natural beauty beyond the transparent enclosures. Other structures extensively utilizing the medium of glass were erected in the suburbs of Seattle, St. Louis, and Chicago.
In the two decades beginning in the 1950s, more than a dozen experiments in new forms of church programming were undertaken by newly-forming congregations. Most of these were part of a community-centered concept of ministry and were highly experimental in nature. Virtually all enjoyed early success, but as neighborhoods changed and national trends in religious expression shifted, most of these experiments have continued to evolve and change, while a few of the projects have been simply abandoned.
In the decades of the eighties and nineties, change continued to be the hallmark of the Swedenborgian Church. In many churches, traditional worship was happily reinvigorated. Yet, that trend has not slowed the interest among lay people and ministers in alternative forms of ministry and spiritual development. Training in psychotherapy from a spiritual perspective has been the focus of a large percentage of the clergy in this decade. New ventures in Swedenborgian publishing and scholarship have begun to stimulate dialogue between Swedenborgians and many other spiritual groups, churches, and associations. Interest in meditation, music, healing prayer, and other direct experiences of spirit has consistently flourished up to the present time. And perhaps the most prominent trend is the development of retreat and renewal centers where the setting is conducive to intensive focus on spiritual development.
The Center for Swedenborgian Studies has been a graduate school for religious training and scholarship since 1866 and today functions as a think-tank for Swedenborgian studies globally and also as the official seminary of the Swedenborgian Church of North America. Providing courses and programs supporting academic, vocational, and personal growth journeys for students who want to or are required to take Swedenborgian Studies, the Center’s offerings are multidisciplinary with strengths in theology, Bible and its interpretation, history of ideas, spiritual formation, literature, art and architecture, eighteenth-century studies, nineteenth-century studies, New Religious Movements, Western esotericism, and mysticism studies.
After continuously operating as a graduate school program for religious training and scholarship across 150 years in four successive locations in Boston and recently Berkeley and known variously as the New Church Theological School, the Swedenborg School of Religion, and the Swedenborgian House of Studies, the school became the Center for Swedenborgian Studies as an affiliate center of the GTU on July 1, 2015.
Urbana University, founded in 1850, is a fully accredited four-year liberal arts institution begun by and affiliated with the Swedenborgian Church. Located in the Midwestern heartland, Urbana is a small college affording each student individual attention and a flexibility of curriculum. Personal growth and the atmosphere of academic inquiry are united in a variety of relevant and creative programs encouraging the student’s exploration of the self. In 2014, Urbana University’s assets were acquired by Franklin University. This alliance enabled Urbana to continue to serve students, enjoy immediate improvements to the overall infrastructure of the campus, and provide a renewed energy that our students proudly embrace today.
Human development and self and social awareness are fundamental values of the Swedenborgian Church, and those values find continued and committed expression in all of the educational programs and institutes supported by it. The Swedenborgian Church has a tradition of summer retreats going back for over a century.
The Almont New Church Assembly and Retreat Center, in Allenton, Michigan, was founded in 1899 and provides the perfect opportunity to ‘unplug’. Almont Summer School, held in July, is a week long family camp and has a long history of bringing together Swedenborgians of all ages, from 1 to 100, to live, play, and care for one another in a fun and safe setting. In a world where we are often moving too fast, Almont is a great place to slow down and reconnect with what it is to come home to spiritual community.
Fryeburg New Church Assembly is a family summer camp for the purposes of relaxation, meditation, and spiritual study. The first session of the Fryeburg New Church Assembly was held in the summer of 1921. The organization was incorporated in 1928 and purchased land by the Saco River in Fryeburg , Maine .
Camp Paul Haven, is a Swedenborgian Youth Camp for ages 10 to 18, in Edmonton Canada. Camp runs the third week in July, starting on Sunday and ending on Saturday. The week includes swimming, team games, skits, campfire/singing, baseball day, boating, church classes, services daily, free time, a full dance on the last night with a DJ, crafts, and more.
This small camp can house 40 campers (16 boys, 24 girls), so it fills up pretty quickly. There is a small group of people that own cabins on the lot that house the staff for the week. All the staff volunteers their time for the week.
We love having visitors from the other churches come through. Everyone always has a positive experience.
Mosswood Hollow Retreat Center, founded in 1983, near Seattle, Washington, on a 40 acre piece of land with the intent of fulfilling a longtime vision of providing a space for people to come to for learning, healing and renewal.
Temenos is a Greek word for ‘sacred space’. Temenos at Broad Run & Conference Center is an outreach of Love from Temenos Church which honors all paths in the Swedenborgian Tradition. A growing community who welcomes all that seeks to be of service to the greater good by practicing kindness.
Workshops on a wide variety of programs such as yoga, tai chi, sound meditations, interfaith choir, and poetry readings are presented.
The denomination directly maintains churches in the United States and Canada, with a more indirect and collegial association with Swedenborgian churches in a number of countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as in New Zealand and Australia.
The Swedenborgian Church operates through a structure of congregational form of government that gives full autonomy to local churches and groups in the governance of their spiritual life. Individual churches and societies belong to regional associations of Swedenborgian churches. These associations belong to the larger church. The delegates from association attend the national convention to elect national officers and committee members, and vote for the adoption of resolutions and constitutional amendments. Both ministers and laypeople are eligible for all offices.
Ratified at the convention of 1986, the following statement of purpose for the Swedenborgian Church:
The Swedenborgian Church exists to help people be open to the Lord’s presence and leading, especially by fostering personal and ordained ministries which facilitate the spiritual well-being of people, and which have in common a working for the Lord in bringing in the New Age, the descent of the Holy City, New Jerusalem. The light in which we seek to walk shines from the Lord Jesus Christ in His second coming, available to us through the divine presence in our hearts and minds, and through revelation in the Holy Scripture and in the life and teaching of the Lord’s servant, Emanuel Swedenborg.
The following provides a thumbnail sketch of the administrative and governing structure of the Swedenborgian Church: