Chilean pastor new head of Lutheran World Federation

By on October 27, 2009

(L to R): Rev. Ishmael Noko, current general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), congratulates Rev. Martin Junge, new LWF general secretary-elect.

The Lutheran World Federation has elected a 48-year-old Chilean pastor, Rev. Martin Junge, as general secretary of the global church grouping that gathers more than 68 million Protestant Christians.

The election was announced on Oct.26 following a closed session of the LWF’s main governing body, its council, taking place near Geneva. The election was to have taken place on Oct.22, but was postponed to Oct.26.

With this election, Rev. Junge becomes the first representative from the Latin America and Caribbean region to hold the highest position at the LWF’s secretariat.

Rev. Junge is to succeed Rev. Ishmael Noko, a Zimbabwean theologian who became general secretary of the Lutheran grouping in 1994, and was re-elected for a second term in 2004. Rev. Junge will take up his post following the next LWF assembly in Stuttgart, Germany, in July 2010.

Rev. Noko had announced at the council meeting in July 2008 in Arusha, Tanzania, that he would end his service in his post at the end of October 2010.

The council has 48 members elected by the assembly and meets every 12 to 18 months.

The Finnish Lutheran weekly newspaper Kotimaa earlier in October reported dissatisfaction among some church members who said that the lack of transparency in the process was not appropriate means of communication in the modern era.

Rev. Junge has been based since 2000 at the LWF’s Geneva headquarters, where he is area secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Department of Mission and Development. He was previously president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile. He studied theology at the Georg Augusta University in Gottingen, Germany, and was ordained in 1989 in Chile.

The LWF is made up of 140 churches from 79 nations with a total membership of 68.5 million people.

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