Communiqué by the Chair of the Board of Trustees, Bishop Dr. Frank O. July

The Institute for Ecumenical Research is currently undergoing major personnel changes. The previous director, Prof. Dr Jennifer Wasmuth, received a call to the University of Göttingen last year, which she accepted for the winter semester 2021/2022. Thankfully, she complied with the request of the Board of Trustees and additionally continued to perform the task of managing the Institute until the end of March this year. The Board of Trustees is very grateful to Prof Dr Wasmuth for her dedicated service to the Institute and for her efforts to set new marks in ecumenical work in a changing ecclesial and ecumenical landscape. The past two years of the Corona pandemic were, of course, marked by restrictions and various burdens for the various activities of the Institute. Planning and activities had to be rearranged and reorganized. Not having lost the overview during this time is worth a special thank you. We wish Prof. Wasmuth God's guidance and blessings for her future path.

The Assistant General Secretary of the LWF, Rev. Prof. Dr Dirk G. Lange, is — also as result of discussions between the General Secretary of the LWF and the Chair of the Board of Trustees – willing to lead the Institute as acting Director for the next six months. Since he is doing this parallel to his activities in Geneva, he will be assisted in the administrative area by Ms Elke Leypold and in various other areas by Dr Zeeb. Likewise, Senior Research Professor Dr Theodor Dieter will be available for conversation and exchange. Thus, above all, the preparation of an appointment of a future director will also be the focus of the next few weeks. The Board of Trustees knows what it is asking of Prof. Dr Lange and is therefore filled with great gratitude. This will also send a strong signal to further strengthen the cooperation between the LWF and the Institute in important fields of ecumenical dialogue work.

Prof. Dr Stefan Dienstbeck also left the Institute on April 1 this year. He has been entrusted with a longer teaching position at the University of Rostock, where he will be able to work again with students in research and teaching in a special way. We thank Prof Dr Dienstbeck for his work at the Institute. New accents for future ecumenical work were a concern for him. However, the Corona pandemic also threw a spanner in the works. A lot of remote work and few personal meetings were the result. Our blessings also go with Prof Dienstbeck.

The scientific consultation held in March this year on the occasion of Prof Theo Dieter's 70th birthday showed the high value of the ecumenical research and study work of our Institute. I am very grateful for this.

The Board of Trustees will continue to ensure that this status is maintained in a changing ecumenical landscape and at the same time enables new emphases to be set.

The Board of Trustees would like to thank Ms Leypold and Dr Zeeb – whom the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Württemberg has made available for the work at the Institute until 2025 – for the continuity of personnel in times of change.

Bishop Dr. Frank Otfried July

Chairman of the Board of Trustees


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