Claudia Bandixen took up the office of Director of Mission 21 in 2012, at a time when the organisation faced huge financial and structural challenges. She succeeded in stabilising Mission 21, and she has played a key part in shaping its ongoing development. Her term of office has seen many major advances: Mission 21's projects and programmes have been refocused, the cantonal churches of German-speaking Switzerland and several German regional churches have been integrated as members of the international Mission Synod, the Mission's advocacy and emergency relief work has been brought up to date, and its international work on women and gender has been extensively restructured.
Rev. Bandixen, a theologian and pastor, began her service on behalf of the Mission in Chile; she then participated in renewal process of the Reformed Regional Church of Aargau, serving as President of its Church Council for ten years. Rev. Bandixen will hand her office over to Jochen Kirsch during the Mission Synod at Basel in June 2019.
Her successor, Rev. Jochen Kirsch, was already elected by the Board in November 2018. He will take up his post in September 2019. By making this appointment, the Board of Mission 21 has opted to ensure continuity in the Mission's development. Jochen Kirsch is a pastor in the Protestant Church of the Palatinate. As the holder of a diploma in NPO management and an acknowledged expert on international cooperation, he served for many years as Programme Officer and Team Head in Africa prior to taking up the post of Head of the Mission's International Relations Department in 2014.
In response to the pressing crises in Nigeria, South Sudan and Cameroon, he was most recently mandated to develop and implement emergency relief and reconstruction programmes on the ground. The appointment of Jochen Kirsch will guarantee Mission 21's good working relationships with churches and partners. The new Director is recognised as a professional management figure with a proven track record.
The retirement of Claudia Bandixen and the inauguration of Jochen Kirsch will take place during the International Synod of Mission 21 on 29 and 30 June 2019 in Basel.