Standing Ovation for World Service Director Hitzler

LWF President Bishop Dr. Mounib Younan thanks outgoing DWS Director Eberhard Hitzler for his dedicated service. Photo: LWF/S. Lawrence
LWF President Bishop Dr. Mounib Younan thanks outgoing DWS Director Eberhard Hitzler for his dedicated service. Photo: LWF/S. Lawrence

Representatives of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) member churches at the Council meeting in Indonesia have applauded the Department for World Service (DWS) director Rev. Eberhard Hitzler for his committed service, as he prepares to resign from leadership of LWF’s humanitarian work in the coming months.

Hitzler who has served as DWS director since July 2006 has decided for personal reasons to resign from his current position this August.

The World Service Committee chairperson Rev. Dr A. G. Augustine Jeyakumar praised Hitzler’s devotion to his task. “He would be the first to alert people any time there was a disaster in any part of the world. Such is his capacity,” Jeyakumar said, adding, it had been an honor to work with the DWS director.

One of Hitzler’s programmatic responsibilities is the Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH), which is part of the DWS Jerusalem and Middle East regional program. Expressing his deep gratitude for dedicated service in this and other areas, LWF President Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan told Hitzler, “You succeeded in making a balance between Jerusalem and the rest of the world—not everyone does that.”

Hitzler thanked the LWF member churches, governing body and General Secretary Rev. Martin Junge for their support and prayers in the fulfillment of DWS’ mandate. “I feel it is a privilege to serve our communion of churches in this capacity for eight years.”

He added, “I feel truly enriched for having been entrusted with this position.” He underlined the Council’s outstanding commitment to LWF’s diakonia and for showing the love of Christ to those in need.

“The real treasure is that of a communion of churches that spends most of its budget for the most needy in the world and not for its own sake,” added Hitzler, an ordained pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, Germany.

Hitzler will leave his current position on 31 August and will relocate to Germany with his family. He will continue serving the organization in the new position of Special Representative of the LWF General Secretary for the Trusteeship on the Mount of Olives, effective 1 September 2014.

Under Hitzler’s leadership, DWS capacity has grown with respect to its operational budget, country presence and coordinated response to emergencies as well as scope of partnerships. From an annual expenditure of USD 70.8 million (EUR 53.6 million) in 2006, the department’s expenditure had increased to EUR 92.9 million (USD 126 million in 2013), currently representing 87 percent of LWF’s annual expenditure.

DWS’ work includes relatively new areas such as Chad, Jordan, Laos and Myanmar. In 2013, DWS supported some 2 million refugees and internally displaced. It is the largest faith-based implementing partner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the fifth-largest global partner of the UN refugee agency. DWS collaborates increasingly with ACT Alliance and coordinates with several other humanitarian organizations at the global, national, and community levels.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.