To General Secretary, the Revd Dr Martin Junge, on the occasion of his receiving the Cross of St Henry

02.06.2018Petri Merenlahti

The Cross of St Henry is the highest honour and accolade of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. It may be awarded to Finns or to foreigners of especial ecumenical merit or to those who have promoted relations with the sister churches of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. The Cross of St Henry may also be awarded for significant humanitarian work undertaken abroad or as recognition of mission work. The cross is named after the legendary Bishop Henry.

This year the Cross of St Henry is awarded to the Secretary General of the Lutheran World Federation, Dr Martin Junge.

Martin Junge was ordained priest in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile in 1989. He served as a pastor in Santiago until he was elected to lead his church in 1996. Between 2000 and 2010 Junge served as LWF Area Secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Department for Mission and Development. Since 2010 he has served as General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation. He is currently on his second term, which will end in 2024.

In 2015 Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, Canada) awarded Junge an honorary doctorate in divinity; in 2017 the University of Notre Dame awarded him an honorary doctorate in law. The same year he also received the Augsburg Peace Prize.

Under Martin Junge’s leadership the Lutheran World Federation adopted and is implementing its first ever LWF Strategy outlining the identity of the Lutheran World Federation. This has consolidated a shared vision of the 145 member churches of the LWF, deepened their relationship and fostered their joint witness in the world. Junge has consciously built up the identity of the LWF as a Communion. This has been an important direction for all the member churches, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. At the same time Junge has worked as a bridgebuilder when tension has arisen between LWF members.

Under his leadership the LWF has also expanded its outreach to serve poor and marginalized people worldwide, adopted “Gender Justice Policy” and supported the dialogue process on “Faith and Protection” which led to the interfaith statement “welcoming the Stranger”. We should highlight Martin Junge’s determined and robust work in promoting gender equality, strengthening the involvement of young people, and in assisting refugees.

Martin Junge has made a significant contribution to the building of Lutheran-Catholic relations both at home in Chile and globally between the LWF and the Catholic Church. This most recently culminated in the common celebration of the anniversary of the Reformation in Lund. Martin Junge contributed strongly to this event.
Martin Junge is a strong ecumenical leader of values, whose work and representation as the voice of global Lutheranism has given special support to the work and positioning of local churches.

It is my pleasure to thank Martin Junge for his work on behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. At the same time I should like to offer my personal thanks for the cooperation and wide-ranging support and encouragement I have received from his public engagement, his visits to Finland, and in our personal conversations.
I therefore have the honour and special joy to present the General Secretary, Doctor Martin Junge, with the Cross of St Henry and to pray that he may enjoy God’s gracious blessing.