Thursday, 25 February 2010

Präses Nikolaus Schneider takes over as chair of the EKD Council

I like it that Nikolaus Schneider is not a bishop, or should I say that he is not called a bishop but a präses or president. As deputy chair of the EKD council he has now taken over as chair of the Council following Margot Kässmann's resignation, at least in the interim and perhaps for longer. Given the voting last Autumn - he came a very strong second to Kässmann and none of the other bishops or church leaders came anywhere close - I think he will be a strong candidate for Chair more permanently, but we'll have to see how church politics play out.
Schneider is head of the Evangelical Church in the Rheinland which is a United Church with strong Reformed elements - very few Reformed churches have bishops most have moderators, stated clerks, presidents or some similar name (the tiny Polish Reformed Church is one exception). It was in the Rheinland Church that the Barmen Declaration was drawn up and agreed in 1934. It's a church with strong ecumenical links, particularly to minority Reformed churches elsewhere in Europe and the world.
Schneider has highlighted four areas in initial interviews: the question of social policy and how the poorest are treated; global justice, ecumenism and climate change. He supported Margot Kässmann's position on Afghanistan and seems set to continue to take on the political agenda for the protestant churches in Germany.
Schneider speaks excellent English and some French. I've worked with him on the French Reformed Church's ministries commission over two weekends. He was keen to see what his church could learn from the way we interviewed candidates and discerned about future ministers.
A good man, he now has a very difficult job. May God give him courage and strength as well as laughter and lightness, these are not easy times for the churches in Germany - Protestant or Catholic.


Maryann said...

Jane, I very rarely say thank you for your wonderful thoughts on your blog and on facebook. so I just wanted to say Thank you. It's privelege to know you.

Jane said...

thanks Maryann - sorry I've not got around to blogging for you guys - life in January was a little hairy!