EKHN mourns a great leader of global ecumenism

Last weekend our former head of the Ecumenical Centre died after a serious illness. We are mourning a great leader of global ecumenism. The press release of EKHN and the Ecumenical Centre is now available also in an English translation. … read more …  

Karl-Heinz Dejung has died at the age of 75 years

Karl-Heinz Dejung (1941-2016)

Mainz/Darmstadt, 19 July 2016. The Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN) mourns the death of Dr. Karl-Heinz Dejung, longtime director of the EKHN’s Centre for Ecumenism.

Dr. Dejung died on the night of Saturday 16 July in Mainz at the age of 75. Church President Volker Jung called him a „great personality in the worldwide ecumenical movement“ who “navigated the ecumenical course of the EKHN precisely and with determination for many years, contributing his wealth of experience to our church. On a personal level, he was friendly and approachable, always ready for dialogue, and he combined this with a clear peace ethic.“

Detlev Knoche, current director of the Ecumenical Centre, emphasized Dejung’s personal authenticity: „His commitment to peace was credibly evidenced in word and deed in the 1987 protests of cruise missiles stationed in Hasselbach / Pfalz and in his longtime, loyal participation in Mainz Weltladen, a part of the fair trade movement. He built a reliable bridge between his church and many groups active in peace work and grassroots movements concerned with development issues.“

Key activities in Dejung’s work included the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa, initiatives for peace and disarmament, dialogue with the pharmaceutical industry, sustainable development, an „economy of enough,“ and ethically acceptable principles for financial investments of churches.

Born in Dienheim in the vicinity of Mainz in March 1941, Dejung studied theology in Mainz and Heidelberg from 1961 to 1966. In 1969 he was ordained by the EKHN. At the same time he worked in the Research Centre of the Evangelical Study Group in Heidelberg (FEST).

Later Dejung became involved with the World Council of Churches in Geneva and its „Ecumenical Research Exchange“ in Rotterdam. In his 1973 dissertation, published as „The Ecumenical Movement and Conflict over Development, 1910-1968,“ Dejung worked out how people who were at times the objects of mission evolved into active subjects through the ecumenical movement.

From 1978 to 1995, Dejung belonged to the management team of the Department of Church Service in the industrial mission programme of the Gossner Mission in Mainz. He then became head of the Office of Mission and Ecumenism. There he developed it into the present Ecumenical Centre of the EKHN with its concentration in areas of development and partnership, witness and dialogue, peace and conflict, education and encounter. He also laid the foundation for today’s highly significant interreligious dialogue. Dejung retired in 2004 but continued to contribute, through speeches, sermons and lectures at the theological faculty of the University of Mainz, to the ecumenical movement and its conciliar process for justice, peace and the integrity of creation.

Dejung’s funeral service will be held Wednesday, July 27, at 13:00 in the main cemetery in Mainz.

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