Unvaccinated pastor in Germany suspended


Central Europe


Photo AFP, Thomas Kienzle

The protestant pastor of Werl in Germany, Lutz Wolfestieg, has been suspended because he is not vaccinated against Covid-19. The reason given for his suspension is that he forms a risk of infecting worshippers with the virus.

"Of course, it hits me hard", Wulfestieg reacts in Soester Anzeiger. "I'm a pastor with heart and soul, I want to be with the people."

Even though Wulfestieg got tested on Covid-19 every day, the presbytery decided that he should be released from all tasks that bring him into contact with other people. That means that he can hardly work.

The pastor stresses that he does not oppose the vaccine. He will be vaccinated as soon as his family doctor tells him the suitable vaccine is available. Wulfestieg: "It cannot be the case that we are all driven into vaccines that do not serve their purpose." The pastor would rather receive a vaccine made of dead or weak viruses instead of one based on mRNA.

Wulfestieg continues to receive his salary and should work from home as much as possible.

Christoph Lichterfeld, chairman of the presbytery that released Wulfestieg, confirms the situation. He says that retired pastors are helping out. "The operation of our parish is therefore secured." Lichterfeld does not want to comment on Wulfestieg's decision to delay his vaccination but is confident that the presbytery made the right decision. Lichterfeld states that the request for release came from the regional church, which recommended not to appoint unvaccinated pastors.

In reaction, the superintendent of the church district of Soest-Arnsberg, Manuel Schilling, argues that the unvaccinated endanger themselves and others. Therefore, his office recommended the release of Wulfestieg, IDEA reports. "This applies in particular to pastors. I can't talk about God's love and leave my counterpart in the dark about whether I am endangering my health", Schilling says.

On the other hand, pastor Volker Hommel from Württemberg argues that releasing unvaccinated pastors is "nonsensical and destructive." He points out the shortage of pastors and warns against a weakening of the congregations. "Release tramples the current motto for the year: Whoever comes to me, I will not reject." Hommel argues that any form of exclusion and discrimination against the unvaccinated should be forbidden in church.



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.