First Female General Secretary Elected by Lutheran World Federation

Estonian theologian Anne Burghardt. Source: Living Lutheran

On June 19, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Council elected Estonian theologian Anne Burghardt as its first female general secretary of the global communion of 148 member Lutheran bodies.

Currently, Burghardt serves as the head of development for the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church’s (EELC) Institute of Theology and as an advisor to the church for international and ecumenical relations.

Burghardt’s term will begin in November. She succeeds Martin Junge, who has led the organization for 11 years. In addition to making history as the organization’s first female general secretary, she is also the first Central and Eastern European to hold this leadership position.

“I am humbled by this great honor and deeply grateful for the confidence that the Council members have shown in me,” Burghardt told the LWF. “In accepting this very special responsibility in the communion, I pray for the guidance of God’s Spirit. I rejoice in having the possibility to work with the Council, with member churches, and with different partners, as the LWF continues to participate in God’s holistic mission. May God bless our communion so that it may be a blessing to the wider church and to the world.”

Presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Elizabeth Eaton, said she was struck by Burghardt’s faith journey. 

“The Rev. Dr. Anne Burghardt grew up in a secular culture, was only baptized as a teenager and sees the church’s role as being a translator and interpreter of the faith to 21st-century society,” she said. “I believe this historic election will help more people to know Jesus and to make the gospel more clear and relevant for communities around the world.”

Prior to serving in her new role Burghardt served as study secretary for ecumenical relations at the LWF’s Geneva Communion Office and as a governing board member of the Conference of European Churches.

Source: Living Lutheran