D.he Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) announced the list of candidates for the upcoming council election on Tuesday. The governing body of the church will be elected on November 9th at the synod conference in Bremen for a period of six years. Among the 22 candidates for the 14 free places there are five leading clergymen, of whom the one with the best election result is traditionally elected as the council chairman the next day.
Kirsten Fehrs has been traded as a possible successor to the outgoing EKD council chairman Heinrich Bedford-Strohm for a long time. The 60-year-old theologian was recently confirmed in her office as Hamburg bishop. Volker Jung is also mentioned, but his term of office as church president in Hesse and Nassau will end at the end of 2024. Both Fehrs and Jung have been members of the EKD Council since 2015. The same applies to the Westphalian President Annette Kurschus, who was Bedford-Strohm’s deputy until now. The Bishops Christian Stäblein from the regional church Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia and Tobias Bilz from the Saxon regional church have not been represented in the council so far.
More diversity required
The two politicians Kerstin Griese (SPD, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Labor) and Thomas Rachel (CDU, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Education) were nominated again for the Council. Nine of the 22 nominees are already on the council. Since the church is largely satisfied with the work of the current council, the majority of them should have a good chance of being re-elected. When selecting the candidates nominated for the first time, there seems to have been a particular interest in rejuvenating the management committee and underpinning the topics of digitization, diversity and gender equality with personnel. The election of the 25-year-old philosophy student Anna-Nicole Heinrich to the EKD Synod Preses in spring was already seen as a sign in this direction. Heinrich was confirmed as the first member of the future EKD Council.
The 128 members of the EKD Synod are entitled to vote on November 9th. In addition, the leaders of the 20 regional churches each have one vote. Council elections are hardly predictable because there are no fixed parliamentary groups in the EKD Synod. Subsequent nominations are also possible.