A large number of Swedes, however, accepted his challenge to themselves and their country. They were a fair cross-section of the nation - teachers, farmers, steelworkers, clergy, students, authors and artists. Waldemar Lorentzon of the well-known Halmstad Group of painters experiened a reconciliation with his wife, and came to believe that 'art can be a powerful spokesman of a new morality'.14 A number of students at the Music Academy, among them some who were to become distinguished composers and initiators of new musical trends, met daily to learn how to put into practice what they had decided at Visby. Groups flourished from then on for some years in each of Sweden's four universities. Their conference at Undersåker in 1939 was a national event and provided the core of Buchman's Swedish full-time colleagues for the future. The next year 10,000 teachers presented an appeal for moral re-armament to the nation. The ideas summarised in their book, Icke för skolan utan för livet (Not for school but for life),15 gained a wide influence and were supported by the Minister of Education of the day. The churches also were deeply affected. Sweden's foremost hymn-writer, Anders Frostenson, says that the language used in sermons changed completely after the arrival of the Oxford Group.*

(* Six Nordic bishops summed up the continuing effect of this infusion in a message to Buchman on 10 January 1951: 'With its realistic faith in God, its ethical radicalism, its fellowship and its conquering spirit, Moral Re-Armament has made the original Christian elements of faith come alive in the midst of our modern secularised environment.’)

People who went home to other countries also began to tackle practical problems in their nations. Finns who had been at Visby mounted a national assembly at Aulanko in January 1939. Twenty years earlier Finland had been riven by a civil war between Whites and Reds, and intense bitterness lived on among those who had lost relatives in the fighting or been confined to detention camps by one side or the other. Leaders of both sides attended the Aulanko assembly. Bishop Eelis Gulin of Tampere repeatedly stated that reconciliations effected there were a significant factor in uniting the nation in the months immediately before the Soviet invasion later that year. 'God gave us a miracle,' he said in Australia years later. 'Many of us thank God for Frank Buchman as one of those used as His tools.'16

In Denmark some of those affected by the Oxford Group three years earlier had been seeking a way to tackle the country's most serious social problem - an unemployment rate of over 20 per cent. Alfred Nielsen, the wood industry employer from Silkeborg, remembers Buchman asking the Danes at Visby whether it was God's will for a fifth of the work force to be unemployed.