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Steen is the first female bishop in the district of Schleswig and Holstein

2023-06-25T10:06:41.327Z

Highlights: Nora Steen is the first female bishop in the district of Schleswig and Holstein. The regional synod of the Northern Church elected the 46-year-old on Saturday in Rendsburg. Incumbent Gothart Magaard will retire on November 1. Steen received 106 votes in her election, in addition to 24 abstentions, there was one invalid vote.. Kirsten Fehrs (l-r), bishop in. the diocese of Hamburg and Lübeck, pastor Nora Steen, theological director of. the Christian Jensen College in Breklum.



Kirsten Fehrs (l-r), bishop in the diocese of Hamburg and Lübeck, pastor Nora Steen, theological director of the Christian Jensen College in Breklum (CJK) and newly elected bishop for the diocese of Schleswig and Holstein. © Georg Wendt/dpa

For the first time, the district of Schleswig and Holstein has a woman: On Saturday, the state synod elected Pastor Nora Steen as bishop in the third ballot. She succeeds Gothart Magaard - and prevailed against his brother.

Rendsburg - Nora Steen is the first female bishop in the district of Schleswig and Holstein of the Northern Church. The regional synod of the Northern Church elected the 46-year-old on Saturday in Rendsburg in the third ballot. Incumbent Gothart Magaard will retire on November 1. Steen expressed her gratitude for the trust placed in her after her election. "I am looking forward to many good and also happy and cheerful moments, because our church is worth it and because people need us."

Steen received 106 votes in her election. In addition to 24 abstentions, there was one invalid vote. In the first two rounds of voting, neither the theological director of the Christian Jensen College in Breklum nor the second candidate, Friedemann Magaard (58), parish pastor in Husum, had achieved the necessary majority of 79 votes. The national synod has 156 members. Magaard is the younger brother of the incumbent.

Steen received 71 votes in the first round and 76 in the second. Magaard received 56 votes, then 53. As a result, he announced that he would not run again in the necessary third ballot. Magaard wished Steen courage and bright energy. Commenting on the outcome of the election, he said: "From an official point of view, it sounds a bit like an acquittal - Mrs. Präses."

Bishop Kristina Kühnbaum-Schmidt congratulated Steen on her election. "With her many years of diverse leadership experience as well as her high theological and media competence, she is well prepared for the tasks in a leading spiritual ministry of our Northern Church." She is sure that Steen, with her friendly, open and clearly communicating attitude, will emphatically accompany the people in the district in particular and work with them to seek and find innovative solutions to current and future challenges. She thanked Magaard for his candidacy. The regional synod had the choice between two eminently suitable persons.

The choice between Magaard and Steen was not seen as a substantive decision. President Ulrike Hillmann was pleased about the first election of a female bishop in the diocese. "She stands for the younger generation in our church, speaks their language in the proclamation." Fresh ideas for the future of the church were paired with many experiences from other churches in Germany and abroad and the affection for Schleswig-Holstein after several years of work in the leadership of the Christian-Jensen-Kolleg.

Steen had emphasized in her candidacy speech to the synod that the Church is needed in society. "In these times of crisis, more necessary than ever." She emphasized: "My heart burns for this church." Everyone should find a safe place in the church. However, the structures of the church are no longer relevant everywhere. Pastors and volunteers are overworked, exhausted. Many lack a compass as to where the Church's journey is going. "The more uncertain times become, the more democracy wobbles."

According to studies, the loss of members cannot be stopped, Steen said. "We have to relearn a lot of things." The brand essence, the message of the church, is no longer handed down in families. She listed as one of her own strengths the ability to address uncomfortable topics, if necessary against resistance. People did not want a pastorally smooth façade.

Magaard said in his application, "my father shaped me with a deep longing for peace". He has an understanding of a political church that interferes. He missed a reaction to the strengthening of the AfD in the local elections in Schleswig-Holstein in May. He was a candidate not because of his brother, but because of his experience. "The next ten years are going to be tough." The church will consist of fewer people, but they could be more church.

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With a good 868,500 Protestant Christians, the district of Schleswig and Holstein is the largest in the northern church. The episcopal see is Schleswig. Dpa

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-06-25

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