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HomeINTERNATIONAL NEWSCouncil chair of Protestant Church in Germany resigns

Council chair of Protestant Church in Germany resigns

The chairwoman of the central council of the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD), one of the country’s leading religious institutions, resigned from office on Monday.

Annette Kurschus had faced mounting questions in recent days over whether she had been aware of allegations of sexual assault against a former church employee many years ago and failed to act.

In a personal statement on Monday, Kurschus said she would step down from her leadership position of the umbrella organization for mainstream Protestant churches in Germany and would also step down from her role as president of the regional church in Westphalia.

At a synod held in Ulm last week, Kurschus emphatically rejected the “insinuations and speculations” made against her in a report by the Siegener Zeitung newspaper.

Kurschus has maintained that she only became aware of the allegations at the beginning of 2023 when an anonymous complaint was filed against the person.

“Before that, I had no knowledge of acts of sexualized violence by this person,” she said.

The public prosecutor’s office in the western German city of Siegen is investigating several suspected cases of sexual assault against a since-retired church employee who, like Kurschus, worked in the Siegen church district in the 1990s.

According to the public prosecutor’s office, it is not yet clear whether the man has engaged in any criminal conduct.

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But Kurschus has faced pointed questions over what she knew about the allegations of misconduct, and when. She has since faced enormous pressure to clarify the allegations or step down.

The Protestant Church in Germany represents around 19.2 million Christians in the mainstream Lutheran and Calvinist churches in the country. It is the second-largest religious group after the Catholic Church.

Source: dpa

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