Junge’s recognition brings “joy and pride” to Chilean Lutheran church

IELCH Bishop Izani Bruch (left) sharing Holy Communion with Peruvian pastor Rev. Ofelia Dávila during the 2015 Latin American and Caribbean Leadership Conference in La Paz, Bolivia. Photo: Eugenio Albrecht
IELCH Bishop Izani Bruch (left) sharing Holy Communion with Peruvian pastor Rev. Ofelia Dávila during the 2015 Latin American and Caribbean Leadership Conference in La Paz, Bolivia. Photo: Eugenio Albrecht

Bishop Bruch affirms advocacy for human rights and justice

(LWI) – The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile (IELCH) has welcomed with “joy and pride” the Honorary Doctor of Divinity conferred on Rev. Martin Junge, General Secretary of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

“It is a deserved award that recognizes your valuable work of sowing seeds of justice, peace and affirmation of life. From Chile, the IELCH accompanies you spiritually and wishes you blessings for your life and work as LWF general secretary,” IELCH Bishop Izani Bruch and President Karl Böhmer, said in a congratulatory letter to Junge.

On 12 June, the Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada, conferred on Junge a divinity doctorate for his outstanding contribution to LWF’s work.

In his convocation address, the LWF general secretary paid tribute to the IELCH, which he served as Pastor-President from 1996 to 2000, for its advocacy for people suffering injustices during Chile’s dictatorship. “I was blessed enough to have grown up in a church that took the suffering and pain in my country as an occasion for renewed scrutiny of God’s call to the church in its own context.”

Bruch in her congratulations emphasized that the role of faith communities in the church “is to be a voice that announces the gospel of love and mercy revealed in Jesus Christ, fighting for justice and the rights of all, especially the most vulnerable in our society.”

She thanked Junge for his contribution to the local and global church, including ecumenical and interreligious work. “You have helped to raise the church’s prophetic voice of advocating for human rights and justice and being a sign of hope in society,” she added.

Junge was ordained as IELCH pastor in 1989. Prior to becoming head of the church, he served in two city congregations with extremely different social and cultural backgrounds. He first joined the LWF in 2000 as area secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean, and has been general secretary since 2010.