Executive Committee

Pastor Jörg Winkelströter, Basel, President

I was born in Hagen in Westphalia and went to school in a nearby rural commune. After my studies of theology in Berlin, Heidelberg and Münster, I worked as verger in the German speaking Evangelical parish in Paris. As a pastor I served at three congregations in the regional Evangelical Church of Westphalia. I am married and we have two children.

Since August 2012 I have been the pastor of the Evangelical-Lutheran-Church in Basel and Northwest-Switzerland and shortly after I was called to join the board of the Federation of Lutheran Churches in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein where I was elected president in 2016. I am delegate of the federation in the ‘Arbeitsgemeinschaft christlicher Kirchen in der Schweiz’. I appreciate the contact to other Lutheran congregations and ecumenical contacts. It is important for me to talk to people about Jesus Christ and about questions relating to faith and to live a christian life in community with others.

Waltraud Knobloch, Basel, Treasurer

I was born and grew up in Schöningen (Lower Saxony), where my attitude towards church was formed by my mother and grandmother, who were both active in the Lutheran congregation.

After my professional education as an export merchant and foreign language training, I worked in the Sales and Marketing department of Ciba-Geigy Marienberg until, in 1983, our daughter was born. When my husband’s position was transferred to Basel, I moved to the headquarters in Switzerland. Since then, I have no longer been employed, but I am working on a voluntary basis in several institutions as treasurer. I am now looking forward to joining the BELK team and to the challenges of this new and interesting task.

Margot Seidensticker, Zürich, Secretary

I was born and raised in Hamburg. My early religious background was influenced by experiences in Northern German Lutheran congregations. Following my training to become a bookseller, I mainly worked in Christian book shops and for evangelical-theological publishers. After two years of work in New York, I worked for the publishing department of the World Council of Churches in Geneva from 1970 to 1973. Thereafter, my career led me to Zürich.

Since 1975, I have been a member of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Zurich and I am involved in various groups in our congregation. At present, I am serving my second term as a member of the church council. In spring 2010, I was elected as member of the board of BELK. For my work in BELK, the exchange among the member churches and the process of growing together are very important to me.

Pastor Dr. Falko von Saldern, Bern, Presiding Minister of the Pastors‘ Council

I was born in Berlin in 1971 and grew up in that city. In 1990 I began my studies in history in Berlin and continued in Würzburg and Munich completing my PhD in 2003. 1999-2002 I worked at the Commission for Ancient History and Epigraphic in Munich. In 2005 I married Rev. Nina v. Saldern and began my studies in theology. 2006 our daughter Dorothee was born. Following the conclusion of my theological studies I entered into pastoral internship at the Friedenskirche in Munich in 2010. In 2013 I was called to take over the pastoral ministry in Bern together with my wife. Since the beginning of 2014 I have been the presiding minister of the pastors‘ council.

Irmtraut Dehning, Geneva, German-speaking congregation

I grew up close to the city of Munich. Being engaged in the church had been an important part of our family life and I was active in the local youth group. During my studies in biology at the University of Konstanz I belonged to a group of Christian students where we studied the Bible intensively which remains a very valuable experience in my life. Following my PhD at the University of Tübingen I joined my husband to move to Geneva where he began his job as a physicist at CERN. For several years I worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Geneva. We joined the German speaking Lutheran congregation in Geneva where I have been quite active in many different functions up to today. Among other responsibilities I served on the Church Council. Our children, who were born in 1994 and 1996, have also been quite involved in the life of the congregation.

Now I am looking forward to get to know the supra-congregational work of BELK and to contribute to the upcoming tasks.

Ruth Bornhäuser, Bern

I was born in Reutlingen in Germany and have been living in Bern for more than four decades. Following my education as a nurse at the ‘Diakonissenkrankenhaus’ in Wuppertal-Elberfeld I lived with my father for five years in Monrovia/Liberia. During those years I worked in a newly opened German Tearoom, and thereafter with a British doctor in serving countless patients every day. After the closure of this clinic I worked for more than three years in the Optical Department of the „Liberia Trading Corporation” in Monrovia as Medical Assistant to the optician.

Following my return from Africa I was looking for new challenges and was happy to join the Inselspital in Bern for many years. I went for further education as matron and nurse tutor at a college of the German Red Cross in Göttingen. Subsequently I served as matron at the Inselspital in Bern and at the Regional Hospital in Biel for almost 20 years.

In 1994 I worked at a regional hospital in Jesenik in the Czech Republic. In 1995 I was offered a new position as Project Assistant in the Forum Ost West which is a Centre for Communication in Central and East Europa.

I have been very familiar with the life of the Church since my early childhood and in different countries. The Lutheran Church has become home for me. Apart from serving in the Church Council I would like to add my experience to BELK and look forward to this new challenge.

Pastor Helmut Sobko, Vaduz

I was born and grew up in Jena (Thuringia). After a professional education as precision mechanic, I studied theology in Berlin and Jena. Between 1969 and 2002 I served as pastor in several Thuringian congregations. In 2002 I transferred for family reasons to the church of Wuerttemberg, where I served until 2008 as pastor in Lenningen-Gutenberg.

After a few years in retirement in Mahlstetten (a small town in the Swabian Alb), I postulated for the position of a pastor in the Ev.-Lutheran congregation of Vaduz/ principality of Liechtenstein. Since November 2015 I am now serving there as pastor with a 60% position. I am commuting about three times a month for 4-5 days from Mahlstetten to Vaduz. My wife is usually joining me in Vaduz for the week end. My 4 children, 8 grandchildren and 1 great-grand child are all living in Thuringia.

Roswitha Golder, Geneva, English-speaking congregation

I am born in Bern and as a young couple with our first baby son we moved to Peru in my early twenties. Our other two sons were born in and near Trujillo, Peru. The five of us then lived for a time in the U.S. and in Mexico where I taught English and German in different schools. In both of these countries, English- and German-speaking Lutheran parishes were my spiritual homes.
More than 30 years ago, my husband and I moved to Geneva where I became an “associate member” of the English-speaking congregation and started to study at the University of Geneva, while our three sons were all studying in the U.S. I obtained a diploma in French language and civilisation as well as a “licence” in theology and completed my theological education at the University of Berne with a diploma in prison ministry and a D.Min. from the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. 1992 I was ordained as a pastor of the Protestant Church in Geneva (EPG) and worked for six years as a chaplain at Loëx, recently converted from a retirement home for the elderly to a hospital for the chronically ill. After my compulsory early retirement from the EPG, I volunteer several services to migrant churches in the region. Now I am willing to be a delegate of the English-speaking congregation on the board of the BELK.

Birgitte Müller-Reuter, Zurich

Studied early music at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, with Cembalo as major instrument.
Teaching both instruments (minor: recorder) at various music schools, concert activity in Switzerland and Germany.
Came in contact with Organ service by replacements, currently running the principal Organ service at the Martin-Luther-Kirche in Zurich.
Foundation of the BELK organist meeting in 2012.
Participation in the working group for worship and liturgy in Zurich.
Current place of residence: Baden (Aargau)