13. 11. 2012 | News, Archive 2012

EMS General Meeting elects new leadership

Process of internationalization successfully completed

General Meeting elects new presidium (photo: EMS/Sander)

The first General Meeting of the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS) elected its leaders on 10 November 2012 in Herrenberg near Stuttgart (Germany). Chair of the General Meeting and of the Mission Council is Rev. Marianne Wagner, Pastor for World Mission and Ecumenism in the Protestant Church of the Palatinate; her deputies are Dr. Habib Badr, Senior Pastor of the National Evangelical Church of Beirut (Lebanon) and Rev. Klaus Rieth, responsible for Mission, Ecumenism and Development Co-operation in the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Wuerttemberg.

"For the first time in the 40-year history of the EMS Fellowship, all the members in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East were entitled to vote for their leadership and also to jointly adopt a budget," said Marianne Wagner. The new constitution, which came into force at the beginning of 2012, abolishes the previous distinction between voting members in Germany and Switzerland and their partners abroad. All members are now legally equal and entitled both to vote and to stand for election.

"At the General Meeting I could sense a great spirit of optimism. The members want to consistently follow the path to shared responsibility and participation. It is now up to all of us to use the enormous potential of the new Evangelical Mission in Solidarity for our witness to Jesus Christ in our churches and missions," said the new Chair confidently.

The Mission Council has the task of implementing policy decisions of the General Meeting. The Chair and her two deputies constitute the Presidium, which is responsible for the external representation of EMS. The Council comprises 17 delegates: eight from churches in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, six from churches in Germany and three from mission societies. The EMS Fellowship consists of 28 churches and mission societies on three continents.

The Meeting also elected the Finance and Nominations Committees. The two multi-national committees advise the General Meeting on budgetary and financial affairs and prepare elections. The financial statements for 2011, amounting to EUR 7.6 million, and the annual budgets for 2013 and 2014, amounting to approximately EUR 6.8 million each, were unanimously approved.

The EMS Fellowship has defined priorities for the next two years which are to have particular significance for all members. Thus it is planned to strengthen sharing the gospel and interfaith dialogue, for example in Indonesia, as well as the commitment to peace and justice especially on the Korean peninsula and in the Middle East. Conferences will be held for missiological education and training. The Women's and Youth Networks are planning international consultations, whilst special attention will be paid to the exchange of personnel both in the Ecumenical Volunteers and Study Programmes.

The General Meeting bid farewell to Rev. Bernhard Dinkelaker, who had served as EMS General Secretary for 20 years and will go into retirement at the end of the year. He will be succeeded at the beginning of 2013 by Rev. Juergen Reichel.