Annette Kurschus chosen to lead German church


Central Europe


Annette Kurschus as pastor in the German Evangelical Church. Photo Evangelische Kirche von Westfalen, Jörg Dieckmann

The Evangelical Church in Germany has a new leader: Annette Kurschus. The 58-year-old president of the Westphalian Church has been elected as the new EKD's Council chairwoman on Wednesday morning, German media report.

Kurschus thanked the Synod for the trust and support it had given her, Idea reports. She said she was looking forward to working with the EKD Council. Kurschus had previously declared in her application speech that the EKD was facing a "renewal." She wanted to help shape this new situation.

Kurschus: "Hope has become a rare property in a world that is bleeding from its wounds." The church has a great and precious mission, which it will fulfil. "We have a tone to bring into life that no one else has."

The newly elected president named climate and nature conservation as an essential topic for her term of office. According to her, God's creation is "more endangered than ever."

Sexual violence

In Kurschus's opinion, one of the noblest tasks is to protect life in its diversity. In addition, attention is focused on the margins – on the weak, the injured and the losers. One wants to name injustice, admit guilt and ask for forgiveness - this belongs to the deepest core of the Christian faith. Those affected by sexual violence had called on the Synod to make coming to terms with it a "matter for the leaders". Kurschus: "I will do that."

Kurschus received 126 votes in favour, 4 against, and 10 blank. She succeeds Dr Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, who stepped down after seven years of service. As Council chairwoman, Kurschus represents 20.2 million German protestants.

Kurschus. Photo EKD, Jens Schulze

Kurschus is the second female council president in the EKD. Earlier, in 2009-2010, Margot Kässmann was chairwoman for a short time. She was very present in the public sphere but had to resign because of driving and drinking.

Up till now, Kurschus was the president of the Evangelical Church in Westphalia, the western part of Germany. Her name was mentioned in the press for a few days already.

No outspoken figure

She has been vice-president together with president Bedford-Strohm since 2015. Her personal profile is not as outspoken as that of Bedford-Strohm, who was known as a professional media figure. Kurschus has been more on the background so far.

She grew up as a pastor's daughter in Siegen. After studying in Bonn, Marburg, Münster and Wuppertal, she was pastor and superintendent of the church district of Siegen. The departing president, Dr Bedford-Strohm supports the election of Kurschus. "You will stand in front of cameras and be the face of the Evangelical Church", he said. "That will challenge you, but you are not alone in the council. We are a strong team; we support you."

Bishop Kirsten Fehrs was elected as deputy chairwoman with 116 votes.



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