Germany: Towards more intergenerational justice

Delegates to the VELKD General Synod and to the EKD Synod deliberated more youth participation in decision-making bodies. Photo: epd Bild

Lutheran churches decide more youth participation in governing bodies 

(LWI) - In future, more young people will have a seat in the governing bodies of the Lutheran churches in Germany. This was one of the decisions made at the General Synod of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany (VELKD), to which seven member churches of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) belong. 

“It is wonderful that both VELKD and the EKD have decided to involve more young people and young adults under 27! This means a great stride towards more intergenerational justice," said LWF Council member Julia Braband. 

Convening last week in Dresden, the General Synod passed the motion with the required two-thirds majority for constitutional amendments. The change will take effect in 2021, in the next electoral period. 

The VELKD General Synod will have 50 members, 38 will be elected by their member churches and twelve appointed by the Presiding Bishop. The 50 members are to include at least eight who are under the age of 27 by 1 January of the year in which their term of office begins. 

Four of the eight young members are to be appointed and four will be elected representatives of the four largest Lutheran churches: the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saxony

All delegates will have the right to vote and propose motions. That means that the young delegates will have the same legal status as all other delegates. From 2021 the eight young delegates will also belong to the synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). As of then, following an amendment to its constitution passed yesterday, at least 20 of the 128 members of the EKD synod will be under 27.

LWF Council member Braband welcomes these steps: "Our work is finally bearing fruit and I am happy that the initiatives from the past year – largely based on our experiences in the LWF and in our own regional churches and congregations – have contributed to the members of synod taking this decision. Youth are not the future - they are the present.” Last year she participated in the VELKD Synod's main theme "Faith of Young People."

"This decision is certainly an encouragement to the LWF Young Reformers of the European regions as the inclusion of young people in the decision-making level was one of the main concerns of the young reformers during their meeting in Neuendettelsau, Germany, in October," adds LWF Secretary for Youth Pranita Biswasi. 

Since the 1984 Assembly, in Budapest, there is a policy to intentionally promote the youth participation to at least 20 percent in all LWF events and spaces. In 2017 the Twelfth LWF Assembly called on its member churches “to act on the implementation of 20 percent youth participation at all levels within the churches to ensure youth participation in decision-making, planning, strategizing and a right to vote.”


Source: epd