On May 12, more than hundred guests took part in the funeral cortege of the former UEM director Rev. Peter Sandner at the cementary in Wuppertal-Barmen where a part of the grave field is especially reserved for the burial of UEM missionaries.
Many former companions of Sandner attended the obsequies in the UEM Mission house. One of Sandner's three sons, Rev. Pfarrer Christian Sandner, reported on Sander's last years and informed that his father died peacefully after a short period of health problems.
On behalf on UEM Jochen Motte, deputy General Secretary, stated that Sandner in his capacity as director and executive secretary had guided and accompanied UEM through its most important period of change in its history of almost 200 years. Motte referred to the former chairperson of the Mission board Rev. Ulrich Beyer, who recently passed away and who described the role and achievements of Rev. Peter Sandner as follows: "Peter Sandner was a lucky strike for our programme 'United in Mission', which he supported right from the beginning. He made use of his special expertise as well as of his huge ecumenical and missiological experience. Peter Sandner knew the signs of the times and the ecumenical discussions of that time which helped him to derive his vision: Only if all partners are truly united in mission, they will be able to fulfill the mission of our Lord today." Motte added that 'truly united in mission' meant for Sandner, to have encounters at eye level and in mutual respect. The work experience he had made during the Apartheid in South Africa had certainly determined his mind to fight against injustice and oppression of human beings.
Timo Pauler, Executive Secretary for Finance and Administration and deputy General Secretary of UEM read the letter of condolence of the present Moderator of UEM Ephorus em. Willem Simarmata from North Sumatra: "Without Rev. Sandner I, as a pastor from Indonesia, would have never been the Moderator of a mission organisation in Germany." Simarmata was a delegate to the UEM general assembly in 1996 which decided on the internationalization of UEM.
On behalf of the Rhenish Church Rev. Barbara Rudolph conveyed condolences of her church board. She stated that the basis of many matters of course in the ecumenical context of today had been established by the generation of Peter Sandner.
Angelika Veddeler, member of the UEM management team, moderated the programme of the afternoon and read some of the condolences received from churches from all over the world, e.g. from the vice Moderater Rev. Ulrich Möller from the Westphalian church, from the President of the Baptist Church in DR Congo Rev. Kakule Molo and from Bishop Gamxamub from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia.