The Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD) is meeting in Ulm for its annual Synod and I wish I could be there. My diary prohibited it, so the Meissen Commission/Church of England is being represented by one of my colleagues. The exciting thing about this year’s Synod is the election of the EKD’s new governing Council (Rat der EKD) for the next six years. The election of the Rat is followed immediately by the election from its numbers of the President/Chair (Ratsvorsitzender).
OK, that doesn’t sound exciting, does it? But it was always going to be a hard job to succeed the retiring Ratsvorsitzender, Bishop Wolfgang Huber, who, as well as leading the Church, has also driven the Reformprozess and is a superb communicator and representative of the Church in the public sphere.
The election this afternoon has seen the Hannoversche Landesbischöfin Margot Käßmann resoundingly elected- the first time a woman will have led the German Protestant Church.
I am biased. Margot Käßmann kindly wrote the foreword to the German-language version of my last book, Finding Faith (In höchsten Tönen, LVH 2009). She is a very popular church leader and bishop of the largest Landeskirche in Germany. She is a superb speaker, preacher, media operator and communicator both in and outside the church. She will bring a renewed and powerful dynamic to the Christian message in Germany and beyond.
It also makes the relations between the EKD and the Church of England interesting as we contemplate the consecration of women as bishops. It will make relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the EKD in Germany even more interesting to follow – with a German Pope and a female Ratsvorsitzenderin of the largest Protestant Church in Europe.