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 By: Praxedis Bouwman – 28.10.2009

[Switzerland] Chilean pastor Martin Junge elected as LWF general secretary

Reverend Martin Junge will become the eighth general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation. He will take office after the 11th assembly of the LWF. He will succeed the current general secretary, rev. dr. Ishmael Noko, who already announced in March 2008 that he had the intention to retire and leave the office in autumn 2010. The council of the LWF met in Chavannes-de-Bogis, near Geneva, 22-27 October.

Junge (48) was elected by the council of the LWF after a delay of four days and in closed session. Procedural issues and not 'the competences of the candidate' were the cause of postponing the election from last Thursday to Monday; as the president of the LWF, Mark Henson, underscored after the election. Junge was the candidate brought forward by the search committee that was installed by the council and consisted of representatives of the seven worldwide regions the LWF knows.

Martin Junge, who is currently the Latin America and Caribbean area secretary of the department of mission and development of the LWF, will be the first general secretary of the LWF of Latin American origin. In the position as area secretary he holds since 2000, he has strongly focussed on illegitimate foreign debt and the reimplementation of LWF programs in the region he is working for. Junge has been ordained in 1989 as a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile (Iglesia Evangélica Luterana en Chile - IELC) after studying protestant theology at the Georg August University in Göttingen, Germany. He served in two congregations until the year 2000, adding to that he was the president of the church from 1996 to 2000.

In his accepting speech he referred to the now general secretary and what he strongly learned and for the first time heard of him: To be Lutheran is to be ecumenical'. Junge: 'To be ecumenical is not an option but an expression of who we are as a communion of churches.' In directing his future office he stated that he wants to find 'the common tune' where 'different sections join in a polyphony'.

In additional education Martin Junge is pursuing a diploma in the management of not-for-profit organizations at the 'Verbandsmanagement Institut' (VMI) of the University of Freiburg in Switzerland since 2008.

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