Palestinian elected head of global Lutheran church body

July 24th, 2010 - 9:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Stuttgart (Germany), July 24 (DPA) A Palestinian protestant bishop was Saturday elected head of the Lutheran World Federation, representing some 66 million Lutheran Christians globally, the body announced.
Bishop Munib A. Younan, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land, was elected President of the Federation by 300 votes to 23, a statement on the body’s website announced.

The 11th Assembly of the federation is meeting in Stuttgart until Tuesday.

Younan, 59, was born in Jerusalem and has led the Lutheran Church in the Holy Land since 1998.

The election of the Palestinian church leader to the highest post in the federation of 145 member churches from 79 countries has been seen as an attempt to push issues concerning Christians in the Middle East up the agenda.

The church “must continue to focus on shared values in order to oppose extremism and xenophobia, especially antisemitism and Islamophobia”, he said in his address to the Stuttgart assembly.

“The conflict in my own home is never far from my thoughts. It is my hope that God will allow Israelis and Palestinians to see the work of God in each other, and reach a political settlement,” he said.

Younan was the first churchman to translate the Augsburg Confession, a primary text of the reformed church, into Arabic.

Younan succeeds incumbent Bishop Mark S Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, who headed the body since 2003.

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