16.11.20 | News, Press Reports

Official inauguration of Reverend Dr Dieter Heidtmann as EMS General Secretary

Giving each other strength in times of many changes

In his sermon, Reverend Dr Heidtmann quoted the passage of Jesus’ farewell speech in St Matthew’s Gospel. (Photo: EMS/Karasch)

During a festive church service last Sunday, Reverend Dr Dieter Heidtmann was inaugurated into office as General Secretary of the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS). The inauguration service took place at the Protestant church of St Martin’s in Sindelfingen during the EMS General Meeting and was streamed live.

Bishop Dr hc Frank Otfried July, welcomed the international EMS delegates on behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wuerttemberg. In his sermon he emphasised: “These are turbulent times. All EMS partners are dealing with issues of health, educational and social justice and religious freedom to varying degrees. We are threatened by racism, nationalism, injustice and the lack of freedom. On top of all this are the issues of the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences. What we need to do now is to remain firmly bonded to God’s spirit so that we can tackle the challenges and give each other strength in the face of many changes.”

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Württemberg supports the work of the EMS and also lives in spirit from its wide-ranging worldwide commitment to ministry. The church is grateful for the many fraternal bonds fostered by the EMS, said July: “They show us what the church of Jesus Christ truly means: to live the Gospel, continue our missionary activity and show solidarity in this world!”

In his sermon, Reverend Dr Heidtmann quoted the passage of Jesus’ farewell speech in St Matthew’s Gospel: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:31-40 NRSV) With regard to joint work in the EMS, this means: “Like Jesus we must look at the world through the eyes of those who live in hunger and need. The EMS is an international association where people meet as equals. Together we walk the path of hope towards the Kingdom of God that creates justice.

  • After the inaugural service: photo session with distance (from left to right: Church Council member Anne Heitmann, Rec. Dr Kerstin Neumann, Rev. Detlev Knoche, Rev. Dr Dieter Heidtmann , Bishop Dr hc Frank Otfried July, Rev. Manuel Hörger, Church Council member Rev. Klaus Rieth and Rev. Dr Uwe Gräbe). (Photo: EMS/Karasch)
  • Rev. Dr Dieter Heidtmann (left) next to Bernhard Dinkelaker (right), General Secretary of the EMS until 2012 and his predecessor Jörg Schnellbach. (Photo: EMS/Karasch)
  • Blessings for Rev. Dr Dieter Heidtmann as General Secretary of the EMS by Klaus Rieth, Chair of the EMS Presidium and Head of the Department for Mission, Ecumenism and Development at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wuerttemberg. (Photo: EMS/Karasch)
  • Bishop Dr hc Frank Otfried July welcomes the international EMS delegates on behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wuerttemberg.(Photo: EMS/Karasch)
  • After the inaugural service: photo session with distance (from left to right: Rev. Detlev Knoche, Bishop Dr hc Frank Otfried July, Rev. Dr Dieter Heidtmann, Church Council member Rev. Klaus Rieth and Rev. Dr Uwe Gräbe). (Photo: EMS/Karasch)

In his welcoming address, Rainer Kiefer, Director of the Evangelical Mission Society in Hamburg (EMW), wished Dieter Heidtmann God’s blessing in his office at the EMS as well as joy in shaping the future, fulfilling encounters and conversations and courage for upcoming decisions. He writes: “The post of General Secretary is an exciting but challenging task to work in an international and intercultural arena, set the tone and foster cohesion. We look forward to accompanying you along your path, planning with you and learning from each other.”

Church Council member Klaus Rieth, Chair of the EMS Presidium and Head of the Department for Mission, Ecumenism and Development at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wuerttemberg, spoke on behalf of the Presidium and Mission Council of the international EMS association: “I wish Dieter Heidtmann all the very best in this demanding, challenging and wonderful office as General Secretary of the EMS. May God be with him on both good and difficult days.”

The worship service had an international note and was accompanied by international songs and prayers from South Africa, Ghana, India, Korea, Indonesia and Lebanon. Dr. Habib Badr, leading pastor of the National Evangelical Church in Beirut and member of the EMS presidium, wished Heidtmann God's guidance with the Aaronite blessing (4. Mose 6:24-26) also in Arabic. In a joint prayer the victims of the pandemic and the victims of war and violence were remembered. The collection and donations from the worship service will go to the EMS Coronavirus Fund.

Donation account:
Evangelische Mission in Solidarität e.V.
Evangelische Bank
IBAN: DE85 5206 0410 0000 0001 24
Purpose: Together Against Corona

The Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS) is a fellowship of 23 churches and five mission societies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. The EMS is a Christian association committed to a better quality of life worldwide. In particular it supports the rights of poor, marginalised and vulnerable groups.

Press contact: Regina Karasch-Böttcher, karasch@dont-want-spam.ems-online.org, Tel. +49 178 62 000 52
Information: Dr. Dieter Heidtmann, heidtmann@dont-want-spam.ems-online.org, Tel. +49 711 636 78 21