The United Evangelical Mission (UEM) mourns the death of its acting Moderator Rev. Dr (h.c.) Willem Tumpal Pandapotan Simarmata, who passed away on 17 June 2022 in Medan (Sumatra, Indonesia) after a long serious illness at the age of 68.
The Indonesian theologian came to the UEM as a scholarship holder in the 1980s and, as a delegate of his church, experienced the transformation process from the former German mission society to a communion of churches in Africa, Asia and Germany more than 26 years ago. He was not only closely connected with UEM, but actively helped to shape it. After eight years of dedicated and successful work in the Council of UEM, the General Assembly elected him in 2016 as Moderator and Chairman of the internationally staffed governing body.
"With Rev. Dr Willem T. P. Simarmata, we as the UEM have lost a person who has always publicly voiced our Christian responsibility for the oppressed in society. In addition, he has accompanied the future process of UEM in a visionary way and emphasized the increasing responsibility of our members in Asia and Africa. We owe him a great debt of gratitude. Our sincere condolences go out to his family at this difficult time," said Rev. Volker Martin Dally, General Secretary of UEM.
Pastor Willem T.P. Simarmata belonged to the Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP), the largest Protestant church in Indonesia, which he led as Ephorus from 2012 to 2016. Since 2019, the theologian also carried out his commitment at the political level as senator of North Sumatra. Due to his illness, he already announced his retirement from his position as Moderator of UEM last year.
The UEM mourns the loss of a charismatic leader for whom the Christian mission was always to stand up for the needs of the oppressed people in the world. His successor as Moderator will be elected at the upcoming UEM General Assembly in October this year.
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