Votes : 0

Danish bishop is new global leader of Lutherans

Arnaud Bevilacqua - Thu, Sep 21st 2023

Bishop Henrik Stubkjær, a Danish theologian known for his ecumenical commitment, has been elected president of the Lutheran World Federation

Danish bishop is new global leader of Lutherans

Known for his ecumenical commitment, Danish Bishop Henrik Stubkjær was elected president of the Lutheran World Federation on September 16. (Photo by ALBIN HILLERT/FLM)

Bishop Henrik Stubkjær, currently head of the Viborg diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, has been elected president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

Delegates attending the 13th LWF Assembly chose the 61-year-old theologian September 16 in Krakow, Poland. He takes over from Archbishop Musa Panti Filibus of the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria (LCCN), who has served as president since 2017.

"My vision for LWF is that we gain added value by working together as a communion striving to put Christian faith into action through humanitarian and development work, advocacy, shared witness and dialogue," he explained, charting the course of his presidency.

Guarantor of unity

He also vouched for the unity of the federation, which is based in Geneva, Switzerland. Founded in 1947, this global communion brings together 150 member churches from 99 countries, representing over 75 million Lutherans worldwide.

"To be Lutheran is to be contextualized," Bishop Stubkjær said. He noted that the diversity so evident within the global federation is a sign of how "God, through his Son Jesus Christ, is nurturing us as member churches.... to preach the gospel in a relevant way".

The new LWF president is known for his ecumenical commitment and served from 2016-2019 as head of the National Council of Churches in Denmark. Upon election to his new Geneva-based post, he noted an off-the-cuff comment Pope Francis made last June when an LWF delegation visited the Vatican. 

"You should beware, that it is in times of changes, the Holy Spirit has the greatest opportunity [for] changing our minds," the pope told the group.

Ecumenical and humanitarian commitments

Stubkjær also has extensive experience in humanitarian aid. Before becoming a bishop in 2014, he served nearly ten years as general secretary of DanChurchAid (DCA), a humanitarian organization stemming from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark. He has been a member of the LWF Council since 2017 and has chaired the global assistance committee.

Bishop Stubkjær has also held leadership positions in the ACT Alliance, a global structure of more than 145 churches and associated organizations set up to provide humanitarian aid to the poor. He currently presides over an association that supports homeless men in Denmark, helping them to overcome their dependence on alcohol or drugs.

share :
tags icon tags :
comments icon Without comments


write comment
Please enter the letters as they are shown in the image above.