Palestinian Bishop Elected President of the Lutheran World Federation
Bishop Munib A. Younan is a Passionate Campaigner for Peace and Inter-Faith Dialogue in the Middle East
STUTTGART, Germany, 24 July 2010 – Bishop Munib A. Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) has been elected President of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) by the Eleventh Assembly here, a gathering of 418 delegates and others from the LWF member churches.
Three hundred and sixty registered delegates voted, representing 145 member churches from 79 countries. Rt Rev. Dr Younan received 300 votes affirming his election, 23 against; there were 37 abstentions. There were no other nominees.
Younan, 59, succeeds Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, who has been President of the LWF since the organization’s last Assembly in Winnipeg, Canada, in 2003.
Ordained in 1976 after study in Palestine and gaining a degree from the University of Helsinki [Finland], Younan was a youth pastor and teacher in his homeland. From 1976 to 1979 he was pastor of the Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem and he has also served parishes in Beit Jala and Ramallah. He studied at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and he holds an honorary doctorate, granted by Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa .
The president-elect has headed his church body since 1998 and was the third Palestinian bishop of the church founded by Germans in the nineteenth century and previously led by clergy from Germany. A member of the LWF since 1974, the ELCJHL has about 3,000 members.
The bishop was the first to translate the Augsburg Confession, a key document of the Lutheran Church, into Arabic.
Younan is a former vice-president of the LWF and is a recent past president of the Fellowship of the Middle East Evangelical Churches. He is also a co-founder of the Council of Religious Institutions in the Holy Land, made up of the two chief rabbis of Israel, heads of the local churches, the Chief Judge of the Islamic Court in Palestine and other Muslim leaders.
He is the author of Witnessing for Peace, a book about the search for peace in his homeland and numerous articles on churches and the search for peace in the Holy Land.
His wife, Suad, is Director of the Helen Keller School in the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Hanina, which educates visually-impaired children. She is also the chair of the women’s committee of the ELCJHL.
The couple has three children and one grandchild. (419 words)