Jönköping has been called Småland's Jerusalem because of the number of churches in the town, the number of Christians living there and the rise of missions in the town in the 19th century.
Mullsjö "kommun" is a small area 30km North of Jönköping between the two largest freshwater lakes in Sweden, and it was greatly affected by the spiritual awakenings of the mid-late 1800s. Although Mullsjö is the main town with a population of around 5000, it was not always so, and only grew because of the new railway and station. Prior to this Sandhem was the main town with a strong industrial base, but today its population is only around 700.
In brief, the awakenings or revivals of the 1800s made Christians want to meet to pray, sing and study the Bible together in their houses. These meetings were called conventicles, and they were disliked by the state Lutheran church and outlawed. Nevertheless, new mission societies were formed within the Lutheran church and outside it, for the spreading of the gospel.
The Christians were known as "mission friends" and as their numbers grew, mission houses were errected and they soon became the main meeting places for preaching.
The Pentecostal movement caused a stir in Sweden early in the 20th Century with its more "colourful" doctrines and practices, and so the Christians from the older mission houses were increasingly drawn to the new Pentecostal meeting places leaving the mission churches somewhat depleted and discouraged.
The first Pentecostal church was started in Nyhem (close to Mullsjö), with some outposts in the area. The new doctrines of believers baptism in water rather than baby baptism, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a second work of the spirit after salvation/regeneration appealed to many in the mission churches. In particular, the issue of speaking in tongues as a sign of salvation was a divisive issue.
As time moved on, the three different churches in Mullsjö learned to work together, and worship together. It doesn't mean that the peculiarities have changed, but it does mean that there is a desire to get past the differences in order to reach out to the people who live in the area for the sake of the gospel.
It can be regarded as setting aside distinctive beliefs and practices for the sake of love and unity. On the other hand it can also be viewed as setting aside truth for the sake of unity.
Original Lutheran Church in Mullsjö
Built in 1656 and seems to have lasted until 1878
1878 Mullsjö Mission Association House - Betania Chapel
Mullsjö 1878 - Chapel built to accomodate believers from the revival as the numbers grew. This was named "The Mullsjö Mission Association". This same year various mission societies came together as one "Mission Covenant". In 1905 the Mullsjö Mission Association joined this "Mission Covenant" but left it again in 1933 because it no longer shared the same Biblical view.
1878 - 1st Mullsjö Mission Covenant Chapel
The boundary between Mullsjö and Habo has changed since this chapel was built.
1920 - Pentecostal Chapel in Nyhem - Batania
The congragation formed in 1915 and the chapel was built in 1920. They started outposts in Mullsjö, Furusjö, and Sandhem. In Mullsjö they used the old Mission House and named it Betania.
It was this congregation that started Nyhem week with large tent meetings.
In 1962 the congregation moved to Bjurbeck and the Nyhem building demolished.
Sandhem Lutheran church
This is a 19th century church with furniture reminiscent of the fact that the village had several former churches.
The church is bright and spacious, built in empire style and is beautifully situated on the shore of the Sandhem lake.
It was inaugurated in 1841 and is the fourth church in Sandhem. The third one stood in the same place. The very first church is supposed to have been located by the ancient eriksgatuleden, a few hundred meters southeast of the present.
Amongst the fixtures, mention may be made in particular of the altarpiece of 1866 depicting the declaration of Christ, a procession cross dated from the time closest to 1200 from Limoges in France and two beautiful fonts; one from the 12th century, and one from 1913. There are also a number of burial weapons in the church.
1922 - 2nd Mission Church built in Mullsjö
The original Mullsjö Mission Covenant chapel became too small, so a new building was constructed in 1922.
In 1933 many withdrew from the "Mission Covenant" because of increasingly differing Biblical views. In particular the meaning and mode of baptism and a Pentecostal interpretaion of the work of the Holy Spirit. So the name was changed to Mullsjö Free Congregation.
Several people did not like this decision, perhaps only 16, but because there was no unanimity, the 16 stayed and the rest were offered the original Mullsjö Betania Chapel.
1962 - Mission Chapel in Bjurbeck
The Mission Church started renting out the building for Pentecostal meetings during the week, and in 1962 the building was purchased by the Pentecostal congregation to become the new Betania and the Nyhem chapel was closed.
It was probably built around 1878 but not sure yet.
1992 - 3rd Mission Covenant Church
A new church was built in 1992. In 2013 the "Mission Covenant" joined with most Methodists and some Baptists to create a new association called Equmenia (Uniting churches of Sweden).
Also with stong connections to SAM.
IBRA mission stand at Nyhem 2017
(IBRA is an international organisation)
Still connected with radio mission work but the Short Wave work is now very little. Instead of receiving letters by post from listeners in remote regions of the Earth, they now get emails and messages on social media.
Reaching out with the gospel followed by discipleship and church planting, this is their vision.
Sandhem's Kyrkrodd - Midsummer 2017
This page is under construction. Please check for latest updates as research continues.
1936 - Filadelfia Pentecostal Chapel
The Mullsjö Betania Chapel was probably already too small when it was reoccupied by the Mullsjö Free Congregation, so it became necessary to build something bigger.
In 1936 a new building was errected not far from the Mullsjö Mission Covenant church. It was name Filadelfia Pentecostal Chapel soon after moving in.
1964 - 3rd Pentecostal Church - Pingst Mullsjö
The Filadelfia building was getting too small so a new church was built in 1964 and then rebuilt in 1984.
In 2010 the Pentecostal church in Bjurbeck joined together with church in Mullsjö and the new name became Pingst Mullsjö-Nyhem
2010 - Pentecostal chapel in Bjurbeck
The building was renovated, but in 2010 the congregation joined with the Mullsjö Pentesostal congregation to form the Pingst Mullsjö-Nyhem.
Sandhem Mission Alliance (SAM) Chapel
The chapel was built in 1895. Many left to join Sandhem Pentecostal when it started around 1930.
No name plates or information is provided at the building which is common practice in Sweden. These buildings are known locally as "The mission house" and everyone knows. It is only foreign visitors who get confused by this.
The congregation is down to only 3, though in earlier decades it had a youth work, Scouts, and supplied pastors to other chapels in Sweden.
The reduction in local industry to almost zero has contributed to the decline of membership in this mission house.
1931 - Sandhem Pingst
In the 1960's the building was put on stilts so that a basement could be dug under the church.
It has been many years since the church had its own pastor.
In this church they still have open Bibles on their knees and undelining of important texts. They pray for revival in the town and support evangeslistic missions such as bussmissionen.se.
Nyhem June 2017
The annual event with its sports, bouncy castles, bargain Christian books, ice creams and candy floss, goes hand in hand with meetings for children and lots of Contemporary Christian Worship music adult preaching,
For many adult visitors, this is an event they regularly attended as children themselves, and so continue the tradition. The number of visitors is in the thousands.
IBRA reaches out with the gospel and discipleship to the world.
The translation of "Alla behöver förlåtelse" is "Everyone needs forgiveness" and generally...
Is to share the word of God with the help of the media, with the least reached nations and make disciples in 60 countries and in 100 languages. Forgiving and changing hearts and societies.
Nyhem 2017 - Open Doors
During the spring, Open Doors conducted a survey of religiously motivated persecution against Christian refugees in Sweden.
In recent years, many people have fled to Sweden. At the same time, Open Doors was reached by more reports of threats, violence and harassment because of the Christian faith even in this country. Open Doors therefore conducted a survey of this in spring 2017.
Sanhem Church Rowing (Kyrkrodd)
Every year, for the last 60 years, Sandhem Church has been host to the annual Church Rowing midsummer celebration.
A number of boats arrive at the church having rowed some distance across the lake, each one with musicians playing violins. Following their arrival, there is a Lutheran Church service with music provided by the people from the boats and a well rehearsed choir all in national folk dress.
There may be few occasions through the year when there is standing room only in Sandhem's church, but this is one of them.
On this occasion, the priest (Donald Kennemark) who started the tradition of rowing to the church, prayed for the "evangelium" (gospel) to be taken to the world.
A taster - just one of the performances during the Kyrkrodd event 2017.