In an event full of decision-making, love and laughter, Rev. Dr Martin Junge was celebrated as a great philanthropist of our time. All this took place in The Extended Lutheran Council in Africa Consultation (LUCA), in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme “Being a Church in times of COVID-19 Pandemic”.
Picture: L-R: The President of Ethiopian Evangelical Church – Mekane Yesus (EECMY) Bishop Yonas Dibisa, Rev. Dr Martin Junge out-going General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Rev. Dr. Elieshi Mungure Regional Secretary for Africa and Rev. Teshome Amenu General Secretary of EECMY -Picture by: Refilwe Mofulatsi
Rev. Dr Martin Junge, the out-going General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), arrived at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he was welcomed by the President of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) Bishop Yonas Dibisa, Rev. Dr. Elieshi Mungure, Regional Secretary for Africa and Rev. Teshome Amenu General Secretary of the EECMY.
Rev. Dr Martin Junge
The out-going General Secretary, Rev. Dr Martin Junge, is the first Latin American to hold this office. He was elected by the LWF Council at its 2009 meeting and assumed office on 1 November 2010. He was appointed by the LWF Council for a second term as General Secretary from 2017–2024.
The former president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile served as LWF Area Secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Department for Mission and Development from 2000 until 2010.
During his term as LWF General Secretary he has been responsible for:
- Commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, including ecumenical work
- Response to the global increase of refugees to 2,5 million
- Gender Justice Policy implementation
- Youth participation and inclusion
Rev. Dr Junge was a steward at the LWF Eighth Assembly and a delegate to the LWF Ninth Assembly.
He received an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and an Honorary Doctor in Laws Degree from the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, USA, and he has been awarded the 2017 Augsburg Peace Prize. In June 2018 Rev. Junge received St. Henry’s Cross, the highest honour awarded by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland- source https://www.lutheranworld.org.
Dr. Junge thanked the council for organizing the farewell function as these were his last days in office as the General Secretary of the LWF. “I feel peace, the LWF means a lot to me. I feel a bit of pain of leaving something I love. That is not easy, but at the same time I see that I am living with a heart full of gratitude and that takes away the pain. The other big blessing is, I leave the office with no broken heart or disappointment about LWF. I continue to believe that the LWF is wonderful, it has a beautiful witness to offer and it is worthwhile to continue this engagement,” said Dr. Junge.
He also asked the council, church leaders and the youth to support the newly elected General Secretary of the LWF Rev. Anne Burghardt and to give her the love and the support that the council gave him. “My word to you is a word of encouragement, stay together, keep journeying together, let no one tell you that the unity which we have in worship along with the sacraments is a unity we are not entitled to have. Let’s go further, let’s be stronger” Junge concluded.
The event ended with a visit to the Mekane Yesus Seminary where the President of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church – Mekane Yesus, Bishop Yonas Dibisa and Rev. Dr Martin Junge General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation signed a letter of intent for the rebuilding of the seminary.
On August 17, 2021 floods submerged buildings, swept away roads and displaced families at the seminary with eight people losing their lives.
Picture: President of Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) Bishop Yonas Dibisa and Rev. Dr Martin Junge General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) – Picture by Zacharia Osanga
The Communion would like to thank Rev. Dr. Martin Junge for all the work he has done as the General Secretary of the LWF and wishes him all of the best for the future. The Communion also sends prayers to the Ethiopian Evangelical Church – Mekane Yesus as they rebuild the seminary.