From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Georgia: Lutheran Bishop Gert Hummel Dies
"Frank Imhoff" <FRANKI@elca.org>
Wed, 07 Apr 2004 10:36:19 -0500
Georgia: Lutheran Bishop Gert Hummel Dies
LWF General Secretary Lauds Hummel's Dedication to People and Church Ministry
TBILISI, Georgia/GENEVA, 7 April 2004 (LWI) * The bishop of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in Georgia, Prof. Dr Gert Hummel, died March 15, aged 71.
According to information received from the church, he succumbed to a cerebral
Hummel originally came from Wuerttemberg, Germany, and had been living in the
Georgian capital, Tbilisi, since 1998.
In a letter of condolence to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and
Other States (ELCROS), the general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation
(LWF), Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko, said Hummel's dedication to the church's work,
his personal care for the people of the country and commitment to spreading
the gospel in word and deed, was an example to many in the worldwide Lutheran
communion. "His sudden death leaves a void among the 'workers in the
vineyard' and will not be filled easily," said Noko. The Georgian church is
an autonomous regional member church of ELCROS.
Hummel was born in 1933 at Sindelfingen near Stuttgart, Germany. He studied
Protestant theology, philosophy and German language and literature from 1953
to 1961 in Tuebingen and Heidelberg, and in Lund, Sweden. He graduated in
theology in 1959 and concluded his studies in 1961 with doctorates from
Tuebingen and Lund. After his final theological examination in 1964, he
served as a research assistant at the Institute for Protestant Theology at
Saarland University in Saarbruecken, and taught at the teachers' training
college there. He was professor of systematic theology in Saarbruecken from
1972 to 1998.
The twinning of the cities of Saarbruecken and Tbilisi brought Hummel into
contact with descendants of German immigrants in Georgia. After retirement in
October 1998, he moved to Tbilisi and became pastor of the city's Evangelical
As early as 1991, Lutherans mainly from a German background had started
gathering again in Georgia - the congregations previously established by
Swabian immigrants in the early 19th century had ceased to exist under the
Stalinist repression. The new groups were then organized in four
state-registered congregations and about ten parish groups. At the July 1999
synod of Georgian congregations, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Georgia
was founded and Gert Hummel was elected bishop.
Under Hummel's leadership, the small Lutheran church in Georgia began to
flourish. With the proceeds from the sale of his house in Saarbruecken,
Hummel built a church in Tbilisi with a parish center, old people's home and
social service office. He financed the work of these institutions from his
personal capital and with donations from a group of friends. In 2002 it was
possible to get back and restore the historical church in Sukhumi (Abkhazia).
In 2003, Hummel and his wife Christiane were awarded the Federal Merit Cross,
1st Class, of the Federal Republic of Germany, for their social service
involvement in Georgia.
On behalf of the ELCROS bishops' council, Hummel was looking after the Baku
congregation in neighboring Azerbaijan, where he succeeded in reuniting
parties after a split, and obtained state recognition for their newly
A farewell memorial service for Hummel was held March 20, in the Church of
the Reconciliation in Tbilisi. The funeral was planned for the end of March
in Wuerttemberg. He is survived by his wife Christiane and two adult
children. (551 words)
[The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran
tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund (Sweden), the LWF now has 136 member
churches in 76 countries representing 62.3 million of the almost 66 million
Lutherans worldwide. The LWF acts on behalf of its member churches in areas
of common interest such as ecumenical and inter-faith relations, theology,
humanitarian assistance, human rights, communication, and the various aspects
of mission and development work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva,
[Lutheran World Information (LWI) is the LWF's information service. Unless
specifically noted, material presented does not represent positions or
opinions of the LWF or of its various units. Where the dateline of an article
contains the notation (LWI), the material may be freely reproduced with
* * *
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