FOR the second time in its history, the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), comprising 20 million Protestants, has elected a woman to chair its Council.
The Synod of the EKD, on Wednesday, overwhelmingly elected the President of the Evangelical Church of Westphalia, a 58-year-old pastor, Dr Annette Kurschus, who will be the face of German Protestantism for the next six years.
Dr Kurschus told delegates on Sunday night: “A renewal is at hand in our Church, the extent and radical nature of which I think we are all only starting to sense.”
She succeeds the Lutheran Bishop of Bavaria, Dr Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, having previously been his deputy.
The Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany, the Rt Revd Kirsten Fehrs, has been elected as Dr Kurschus’s deputy.
In May, a 25-year-old digital humanities Master’s student, Anna-Nicole Heinrich, was the youngest-ever president of the EKD’s Synod. The highest lay office in German Protestantism was previously filled by prominent politicians and academics.
The Synod, on the eve of its opening in Bremen last weekend, was forced to go online because of a Covid infection in a pre-Synod meeting.
On Monday, survivors of sexual abuse in church institutions voiced their displeasure with the slow pace of dealing with a matter that has hung over the German Churches for more than a decade. The newly elected Dr Kurschus promised shortly after her election that she would make dealing with sexual abuse in the Protestant Church a priority.
The first woman to chair the EKD’s Council was Dr Margot Kässmann, who was elected in Ulm in October 2009.