The major ecumenical contribution of Walter Altmann, former moderator of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC), has been praised by the organisation's current general secretary.
Dr Altmann was congratulated on his 70th birthday in a private letter from WCC chief, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.
Altmann, a Brazilian Lutheran pastor who has played a leading role in promoting Christian unity and common witness and action, including on justice and peace concerns, turned 70 on Tuesday 4 February 2014.
He served as moderator of the WCC Central Committee from 2006 to 2013. Elected at the close of the 9th Assembly of the WCC in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Almann was the first moderator from Latin America. His term of office ended with the 10th Assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea, in November 2013.
In an interview scheduled to appear in the March 2014 issue of The Ecumenical Review, Altmann looks forward to an active retirement: “Of course, my work will have some other dimension now. I especially look forward to having the time to write some books, old projects that I kept postponing over the last two decades due to the heavy agenda of leading positions both in the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil (IECLB) and in the ecumenical movement.”
In his speech at the WCC 10th Assembly in Busan, the WCC general secretary expressed gratitude to Altmann, for his “faithful and time-consuming work, with a lot of travel to Geneva and other places.”
Altmann led the IECLB and the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) as president, and has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Lutheran World Federation since 2003.
He has headed the Ecumenical Institute for Postgraduate Studies and Theological College in São Leopoldo, Brazil and was a visiting professor at the Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary, St Paul, Minnesota, USA.
* Video interview with the Rev Dr Walter Altmann at the WCC Busan assembly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfW2UFSJc58&feature=youtu.be&t=8m25s