Thursday, 17. November 2022

Mission Society Elects Detlev Knoche as New Chair

Conference of the EMS General Meeting 2022


Delegates at the General Meeting of the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS) in Arnoldshain (Hesse), elected a new Presidium. They also approved the full membership of two new member churches from India and Indonesia in the international fellowship. 

The new EMS President is Rev. Detlev Knoche. The 64-year-old theologian and Senior Church Councillor (Oberkirchenrat) of the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN) has headed the Centre for Ecumenical Work of the EKHN and EKKW (Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck) in Frankfurt since 2009. On Wednesday, he was elected to the chair by a large majority of the 53 EMS delegates present. He takes over from Rev. Klaus Rieth, Church Councillor (Kirchenrat) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Württemberg, who steps back from the EMS bodies due to retirement.  

"The EMS is a modern church network with 25 million believers from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East and I have been closely associated with it for many years. I have been involved in all the phases of its development from a German mission society through to an international fellowship based on solidarity. This is a characteristic of the EMS that makes it unique in comparison with other churches and it also explains its strength," said the new chair. Knoche has accompanied the EMS in various bodies since 1997 and for the last four years he has been deputy chair of the international EMS Mission Council. His vision is to further strengthen solidarity between the 25 member churches and five mission societies and to continue expanding the EMS – for example when it comes to the involvement of young adults. 

Church Councillor Rev. Anne Heitmann, who heads the ecumenical department of the Protestant Church in Baden, was elected to the Presidium as an additional member. The 55-year-old theologian has been involved with the work of the EMS Mission Council since 2014. The participation of women in worldwide ecumenism is an important aim for her as well as joint commitment to climate justice. Dr Habib Badr, Senior Pastor of the National Evangelical Church of Beirut (Lebanon), continues in his post as deputy to Detlev Knoche. 

In addition to the appointment of new members to the Presidium, the General Meeting also approved the full membership of the Church of North India (CNI) and the Christian Church in West Sulawesi (GKSB, Indonesia) in the EMS. The two churches had previously completed a two-year guest membership period and were now officially admitted as full members. This decision by the General Meeting marks the first time in 35 years that the fellowship has admitted new members.  

After a break of four years due to the pandemic, it was also the first time that the delegates of the General Meeting, the most important body of the EMS, were able to meet in person. Besides the elections, the agenda included the approval of 65 proposals for project funding, the 2023/2024 budget and the launch of the focal topic "Integrity of Creation". 

Press contact: Ulrike Pfab,, Tel. 0711 63678-11