- North and South German Unions have already shared a treasurer and the management of various organizations for several years.
- During the May 2022 delegates meeting, a joint Vice President overseeing both unions was elected.
- However, 2 different union presidents were also elected.
18 May 2022 | In Germany, East and West came together in 1990. Now, North and South are looking to do the same.
Delegates of the South German Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Germany voted to take all necessary steps to merge with the North German Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists during meetings held May 15-16, 2022, reported the APD. Delegates of the North German Union Conference made a similar decision five years ago, placing both entities on the path to a single union in Germany.
Originally, East German, West German and South German unions existed in Germany.* Recommendations to merge the West and South German unions into one entity occurred as early as the mid-1980s. After the reunification of Germany, the addition of the East German Union was proposed as well. However, only the East and West German unions merged to form the North German Union in 1992, according to the APD.
The South German Union’s vote continues the trend of increased cooperation between the two unions in Germany. In fact, delegates of both the South German Union and the North German Union came together for joint and separate sessions May 15-16, 2022, at Friedensau Adventist University.
In 2016, a single treasurer was elected to serve both unions for the first time. In December 2020, executive committees of the North and South German Unions decided to create a joint administrative structure based in Darmstadt.
During the May 2022 meetings, delegates elected a joint vice president, Alexander Kampmann, and voted in several shared department heads, according to another article from the APD. Church leaders were elected to their positions in separate votes by the delegates of both unions. All received more than 80% approval.
However, the two unions still have two different presidents: Johannes Naether as president of the North German Union, and Werner Dullinger as president of the South German Union.
Even so, the unions have much in common. The Institute for Religious Education (RPI), the Institute for Further Education (IfW), the German Association for Health Care (DVG), the Advent Welfare Organization, the press and information office, the department for inter-church relations, the central office for questions of ideology and the department for conscientious objection have long been managed by both. In addition, there is only one central warehouse in Germany for the material needs of the local communities.
The Adventist Yearbook reveals the North German Union is comprised of the states of Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, and Thueringen. It has 321 churches with 18,721 members out of a population of 47,529,000.
The South German Union covers the states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Hessen, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saarland. It has 220 churches with a membership of 15,517 out of a population of 35,614,000.
The APD reported that Adventist church membership in Germany declined slightly over the past five years from 34,948 to 34,285. The number of Adventist churches also fell from 555 to 546. However, finances have remained stable.
*For more information about the Adventist Church’s organizational structure, please visit this link: https://www.nadadventist.org/about-our-church/organizational-structure.
(Photo: Delegates of the North German Union Conference and the South German Union Conference met at Friedensau Adventist University in Germany on May 15-16, 2022, to elect several joint administration leaders. Photo by Steve Kamatis/APD.)