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.

Dr. phil. Elke Breitenfeldt, Zürich/St.Gallen, Vice president

Pastor Thomas Risel, Zurich

Grüezi miteinand‘, guten Tag, bonjour and hej,

I am Thomas Risel, since summer 2017 pastor in the Lutheran Church of Zurich, Northeast and Central Switzerland and very grateful to live and work here in beautiful Switzerland, for the congregation and also in the BELK.

I have just started my 60th year of life, my two adult children live and work in Germany (Heppenheim/South Hessen and Hanover). I come from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover/Germany, where I have worked since 1994 in various positions from the small village to the medium-sized town of Hameln on the Weser (also my birthplace): as a parish priest (pastor, as they say there), in city church and emergency pastoral work, as an author of radio contributions for the NDR and regional radio stations, and in quality management for day-care centres.

My heart beats for ecumenism, so I am already active in Zurich on the board of the AGCK in the Kanton Zurich and in the dialogue of religions. For me, parish and service work is and remains the heart of my pastoral work.

I am happy to take over from Marc Blessing the „office“ of the leading clergyman in the BELK, which means collegial exchange in the parish council as well as working for the BELK on the board and at other levels. It was a special joy for me to have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the BELK in September 2017 in Geneva as soon as I started my ministry here in Switzerland!

I am also happy to be approachable as a pastor and advisor for parishioners and also board members in BELK parishes. Cooperation with our international partner congregations, for example the Scandinavian churches, is also very important to me. My representative is Pfarrerin Renate Dienst in Bern.

With greetings from Zurich,

Pastor Thomas Risel

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.

Pastor Renate Dienst, Bern

Danuta Lukas, Geneva (engl.)

Irmtraut Dehning, Geneva (germ.)

Stephan Zilker, Vaduz (FL)

Jörg H. Renner, Zürich