The president of the Evangelical Church does not want to run for a new term. However, the regional bishop of Bavaria has received repeated death threats for his position on an issue.
The regional bishop of Bavaria, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, has announced his departure from the top of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). The 60-year-old does not want to run for a new term as EKD council chairman in the fall of 2021, as he said on Bayerischer Rundfunk on Thursday. “It’s good when someone new comes along, sets new accents, gives new impulses.”
Bedford-Strohm has been the face of the Protestant Church in Germany since 2014. At that time he was elected president of the EKD council, three years earlier he was elected Bavarian regional bishop. His tenure at the top of the EKD ends next year, and as regional bishop two years later in 2023.
Bedford-Strohm: I’m not tired of the office
Bedford-Strohm justified his departure from the EKD presidency with the end of his tenure in Bavaria. “It wouldn’t be a good thing if I were to serve as Chairman of the Board for two years after that.” He is now looking forward to two more years “in which I can use all my energy for the Bavarian Regional Church”.
Bedford-Strohm is not tired of the office, as he emphasizes. “I really enjoy doing this office. I will continue to do it with great pleasure and all my strength in the coming year, even in difficult times.”
Death threats for involvement in refugee policy
The 60-year-old represents a liberal, cosmopolitan, communicative course and was one of the first church people in Germany to rely mainly on social media. Ecumenism is his main concern. He has also been particularly involved in refugee policy for several years. Consistently committed to rescuing Mediterranean migrants, he faces death threats.
But this was no reason for the withdrawal, as he says. He knew his office would expose him to criticism and that he was prepared for it. “I have all my inner resources to deal with it.”
With the Catholic Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, who until the spring of this year headed the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK), he was connected not only by physical proximity, but also by a friendship and a shared desire to promote ecumenism. to improve. Both received the Augsburg Peace Prize together this year for their efforts to promote ecumenism.