Annette Kurschus, new leader of the German Protestant Church Council, Evangelical Focus

The synod of the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD, the main Protestant church) has elected Annette Kurschus, president of the Church of Westphalia, as the new president of its council for the next six years.

The 58-year-old leader had served as Vice Chairman of the Council since 2015 and is the second female leader of the EKD in its history after Margot Kässmann. She succeeds Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, who held the position since 2014.

During the EKD synod in digital session on November 10, she obtained 126 votes for, 4 against and 10 abstentions in the first round; there were no opposing candidates.

As Chairman of the Board, Kurschus represents 20.2 million Protestants in Germany.

The synod also elected The Bishop of Hamburg Kirsten Fehrs as his deputy. She obtained 116 votes for, 11 against and 12 abstentions in the first round; nor were there any opposing candidates in this election.

After his election, Kurschus thanked the Synod for its trust and support. She said she was looking forward to working with the EKD Council and that the mission of the church is to keep hope alive.

The new leader of the EKD underlined that “hope has become a rare commodity in a world bleeding from its wounds. We have a great and precious mission that no one else has”.

“One of the most noble tasks is to protect life in its diversity. Furthermore, attention must be paid to the marginalized, the weak, the injured and the losers. Those affected by sexual violence had called on the Synod to address this issue as a priority, I will do so,” Kurschus stressed.

She previously said in her candidacy speech that the EKD been focused towardsa revival whose scale and radicality we probably all guess provisionallyand she wanted to “help shape this new situation.”

Kurschus grew up as the daughter of a pastor in Siegen. After studying in Bonn, Marburg, Münster and Wuppertal, she served as parish priest and superintendent of the parish district of Siegen.

A new EKD board was also elected at its November 9 meeting. The Council is one of the governing bodies of the EKD, along with the Synod and the Church Conference.

After nine ballots, the composition of the EKD Council has been determined in Bremen. The EKD Synod and the Conference of Churches (representing the 20 regional churches) filled 14 new seats for the next six years.

Twenty two people from church, politics, business and culture have been named. The candidates had to receive a two-thirds majority of the votes cast.

The new EKD Council. / EKD.

The President of the EKD Synod, Anna-Nicole Heinrich, is a member of the body by virtue of her function.

In the first round, only Annette Kurschus obtained the necessary majority. In the next electionsynod members elected bishop Kirsten Fehrs. Entrepreneur Andreas Barner was able to establish itself in third round and SPD politician Kerstin GrieseExecutive Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, obtained the necessary majority in the fourth round. All had also served on the Board in the previous term.

In the fifth round, four other candidates qualified for the Council: Saxon Bishop Tobias Bilz, the chairman of the Hannover regional church office, Stephanie Springer, the pastor and influencer Josephine Teske and the dean Michael Diener, who, as chairman of the Pietist Community Association of Gnadau, was also a member of the previous council and is now Dean of Germersheim.

In the sixth and seventh ballots, the first law professor Jacob Joussen and then the executive parliamentary state secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Thomas Rachel (CDU) obtained the necessary votes to be re-elected.

After an unsuccessful ballot, the remaining places went to Michael Domsgen, professor of religious education, Volker Jung, president of the Church of Hesse-Nassau, political scientist and former deputy head of the Department of Religion and Foreign Policy at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs foreigners Silke Lechner, and Anna von Notz, researcher at the Federal Constitutional Court.

Posted in: Evangelical focus – europe
– Annette Kurschus, new president of the German Protestant Church Council

Barry F. Howard