The soon retiring German UMC Bishop Rosemarie Wenner will be succeeded by Harald Rückert. The 58-year-old theologian who was elected as bishop for the Germany Central Conference of the United Methodist Church in Hamburg this Wednesday [15 March 2017] after reaching the required two-thirds majority in the fourth round.
“We are a church together”, said the newly elected bishop in his first statement after the election. Speaking to the delegates as representatives for the parishes of the EmK from all over Germany, he said: “I am very pleased to be able to shape and carry on the way of the Church together with you.” As Rückert said, it is necessary to ask for God’s order at the respective place. “And then it’s up to you to do this.”
Rückert was born in Nuremberg, Germany, and after completing his high school diploma, he began studying food technology before moving into the pastoral ministry of the United Methodist Church. After a twelve-month internship with the South Germany Annual Conference in Munich, he studied theology at at the UMC Theological Seminary in Reutlingen (now Reutlingen School of Theology). He is currently a senior pastor in the UM Church of the Redeemer at Reutlingen in the South of Germany. Previously he was in the northern Bavarian UM churches at Hof-Stammbach and Schweinfurt-Würzburg. From 2000 onwards, he was the superintendent for the Reutlingen district for a ten year period.
Since starting his pastoral work in the UM church Hof-Stammbach, where he was responsible for church growth and redeveloping the UM church at Stammbach, Rückert has looked in depth at issues of establishing churches, church leadership and development management. Advanced training courses on the management of social organisations and time management together with staff leadership and mentoring have qualified him to play a major role in developing and running the Church Leadership course. This course model provides probationary pastors in local church ministry with intensive mentoring during their second phase of training after completing their theology degrees. While Superintendent for the Reutlingen District, he also chaired the Committee for New Mission (later: church planting group) for church planting projects and activities involved in
establishing new churches, also playing a major role in setting up and organising the Youth Church Karlsruhe.
Bishop Rückert will be holding the sermon this Sunday [19 March 2017] in the worship service at the conclusion of the Germany Central Conference and will be blessed for his service as supervisory bishop of the Germany UMC. On May 12th, the official office entry will be given by Rosemarie Wenner, who subsequently retires.
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