The Birthday of the New Church

Jesus sending out His disciples

"New Church Day" celebrates the Lord God Jesus Christ as our heavenly King

Traditionally each June, we recognize the launch of the New Church in heaven first, before any earthly organization started. This is based on a noteworthy experience Emanuel Swedenborg described in the spiritual world that took place on June 19, 1770. At the end of the chapter at in True Christian Religion about the development of the New Church, Swedenborg recounts that the resurrected Lord gathered His twelve disciples who had followed Him in the world and sent them out again, this time throughout the whole spiritual world. This event took place after Swedenborg had written most of the theological works, in which he revealed the need for and the details of a new approach to Christianity. The implication is that the Lord was officially announcing throughout heaven the beginning of the New Church.

This message was a fulfillment of the prophesy: “He will send his angels, and they will gather together His chosen people from the bounds of the heavens on one side as far as the bounds of the heavens on the other” Matthew 24:31.

I like to imagine these angel disciples, now youthful and wise (in spite of being in the spiritual world for the spiritual equivalent of 1,700 earth years) excitedly taking on their new mission: “to preach the Gospel that the Lord God Jesus Christ is king, and His kingdom shall be for ever and ever.” Picture them with great conviction and enthusiasm sharing this simple yet profound message to willing listeners throughout heaven.

This is certainly a cause to celebrate! So, each year in many congregations around the globe, we set aside time to acknowledge this exciting event and to welcome the influence of this heavenly announcement in our own world.

Swedenborg’s writings started a new movement, but he did not actually start a church organization. A few people in London, England formed a reading group after Swedenborg’s death. This group and others in the late 1700s and early 1800s led to the establishment of several local churches in England, Baltimore, MD, Philadelphia, PA, and Boston, MA. Since then the New Church, though still relatively small, has spread around the world.

As Swedenborg wrote in the work Apocalypse Revealed,

“Anyone who has any knowledge of the Lord’s coming and of the New Heaven and New Church, thus of the Lord’s kingdom, let them pray for the Lord’s coming.” Apocalypse Revealed 932:17 (Rogers)

Pastor Nathan