Young Germans urged to run for congregation councils

Campaigning for young congregation council members in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria: Synod President Annekathrin Preidel, Lisa Schaube and Paula Tiggemann. Photo: Johannes Kurt Minkus

Youth in Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria campaign with video clips

(LWI) - “Young, Protestant, with something to say? Then join the congregation council!” This is the slogan young people from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, a member church of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), are using in short video clips on YouTube appealing for more youth to run in their congregation council elections in October so they can give voice to their needs and wishes more effectively.

Elections are to take place in the 1500 or so congregations in the whole of Bavaria, comprising about 12,000 council members in all.

Campaigning with personal statements

“Don’t be deterred, be nominated,” is the advice at the end of the video spots, which were produced by Marlene Altenmüller, Paula Tiggemann and Lisa Schaube.

Tiggemann, chair of the Protestant Youth Association in Bavaria, hopes as many young people as possible will run for election to the councils. “We want to raise interest in the ways of participating in the council,” says Tiggemann, adding, “We also hope that active congregation council members will approach young people and motivate them to help to shape their church.”

Each video clip starts with a personal statement. Marlene, 24, wants to encourage people to run for election. “Perhaps you are scared because you think that you won’t be taken seriously,” she says directly to the camera.  “Show your church that young people have an opinion too and get involved.”

Janosch, 27, takes the line that “the church has to be attentive to everyone – including young people”. For that reason, he says, it is important for them to raise their own voice in the church community.

Have a go, have a say, vote

Dr. Annekathrin Preidel, Synod President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, supports the campaign. In her view, “it is essential for young people in our congregations to have a go, have a say and have a vote. When they bring in their ideas they not only enliven the work of the congregation council but also bring their youthful perspectives to bear and give the congregations a forward-looking profile.”

At its Twelfth Assembly in Namibia, the Lutheran World Federation adopted a resolution calling for a quota of 20 percent youth on member church decision-making bodies. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria has no specific youth quota. However, all members who are 14 years and older and have been confirmed are allowed to vote for their council and to run for election.

In the last election in 2012, 630 people under 30 were elected to councils, accounting for about five percent of their members.


Protestant Youth Association in Bavaria short video clips (in German)



This story  is based on an article in the Sunday paper “Sonntagsblatt”. Editing and translation: LWF Office for Communication Services