Thuringia: Prognosis: Every fourth pastorate in EKM will be vacant by 2030

Erfurt (dpa/th) - The Evangelical Church of Central Germany (EKM) expects massively aggravating problems in filling pastoral positions.

Thuringia: Prognosis: Every fourth pastorate in EKM will be vacant by 2030

Erfurt (dpa/th) - The Evangelical Church of Central Germany (EKM) expects massively aggravating problems in filling pastoral positions. According to forecasts, every fourth pastorate is in danger of remaining vacant by 2030, said EKM Human Resources Director Michael Lehmann on Thursday during the autumn conference of the church parliament in Erfurt. At the same time, a decline in the number of church members belonging to the EKM from currently just under 638,000 to 500,000 is expected during this period.

Lehmann said that only 620 of the 670 full-time positions in the parish ministry are already occupied. More pastors are currently retired (964) than in active service (796). For every 10 active people there would be 12 retirees. He also drew attention to the ratio of retirees who left the service prematurely and regularly. Last year, 20 of them took early retirement, 11 at regular retirement age. Early retirement is possible with deductions from the retirement salary at the age of 63.

Lehmann suggested not only relying on theology courses at universities to recruit young pastors. In his view, on-the-job training should also be strengthened.

According to Lehmann, according to a study commissioned by the EKM on the health situation in the parish offices, around half of the pastors feel above average or even heavily burdened in their work. The reason is the "sheer abundance of tasks". What is needed is a relief from non-professional activities and a concentration on the core tasks of the pastoral profession. The autumn meeting of the EKM synod lasts until Saturday.

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