Peter Friedrich Sandner led an eventful and fulfilling life. Born in 1927 in Windhoek, Namibia, the son of a German pastor abroad, Sandner was ordained in 1953 at the young age of 26, following his studies in theology at the Kirchliche Hochschule (Protestant University) in Berlin and Göttingen. His conviction that Christians around the world belong together and will overcome any cultural differences as equal siblings led him to the Berlin Mission, where he hoped to expand its scope of duties. After he married Ingeborg Boetzer on 19 September 1953, the newlyweds travelled together to South Africa, where Peter Sandner worked for the Berlin Mission in Kratzenstein and Johannesburg. Their three sons Christian, Michael, and Thomas were born in those years, 1954-1958, in the far reaches of Africa.
Once the whole family had returned to Germany, Peter Sandner took up the position of superintendent for Africa with the Berlin Mission for four years, 1970-1974.
In the years that followed, 1974-1990, Sandner worked as the director of the United Evangelical Mission (UEM) in the Mission House here in Wuppertal-Barmen, and later from 1991 to 1993 as the executive secretary for the "United in Mission" remit. Through all of these years and beyond, both Sandner and his wife Inge were very closely linked with the UEM. The name Sandner was and remains well known and much appreciated within the organization.
Sandner took his first trip on behalf of the UEM in 1974, spending three months in Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Sri Lanka to meet the Asian side of the UEM. In subsequent years his path led him back to Africa: first to South Africa, and then to Botswana, where he represented the UEM at a consultation.
Sandner worked tirelessly for God's mission, serving not only his own family, but especially the large family - the communion – that is united in faith.
We can still remember very well the honorary doctorate awarded to Sandner in February 2016. Dr Kakule Molo, who at that time was a Council Member of the UEM and deputy chair of the administrative board of the Protestant Free University of the Great Lakes (ULPGL) in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, was proud to have the privilege of ceremonially awarding the certificate to Sandner in person.
The entire UEM family will always honour the memory of our treasured and kind colleague and director. We are confident that he will live on in the hearts of many.
In this time of farewell, we wish for God to hold the Sandner family close and give them comfort. We can be certain that the Lord sees our grief and does not leave us, even in dark times. His life-giving message transcends death. Faith in the risen Christ strengthens us in the hope of an eternal future in communion with the Father.
Volker M. Dally