In Memoriam Pastor Werner Köhne

Pastor Werner Köhne

On 20 May 2018, God the Lord called His servant, Pastor emeritus Werner Köhne, home to eternity after an extended illness of great physical weakness.

He was laid to rest on 26 May in the cemetery of the Lüneburg congregation.

Werner was born on 22 February 1936 in Kranskop, Natal, as the second child of Karl Köhne and Hennie (née Meister). The following day he was baptized in the Eschede congregation by Pastor Bielefeldt. He experienced a happy childhood, living with parents and siblings on the Aussicht farm at Kranskop. He was confirmed by Pastor Wiesinger in Kirchdorf, after the family relocated from Kranskop to Dalton.

Schooling took place first in Hermannsburg and then in Wartburg-Kirchdorf, where Werner matriculated in 1954. After earning a diploma in agriculture from the Cedara College of

Agriculture, he spent two years working with his father and older brother at the Estorf Farm near Dalton.

During this time, his decision to become a pastor matured. To study theology he travelled to Oberursel in Germany. He furthered his studies at the University of Hamburg and at the Bleckmar Missions Seminary, before returning to Oberursel to take the examinations.

He then flew to the USA to complete his vicarage at St. Matthews in Benton Harbor on Lake Michigan (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod). This experience was greatly treasured by Werner all his life.

Back in South Africa, he married Waltraut Eggers on 30 September 1967. Their marriage was blessed with four children.

After his ordination in October 1967 in Kirchdorf by President Wiesinger, Werner Köhne was first called as pastor to the Durban congregation. There he served for seven years among both German and English speaking communities, before moving to the Salem Congregation Uelzen, where he again served members in these languages from 1974 to 1987.

On 18 October 1987, he was installed as pastor of the Wittenberg congregation. Although he was very happy there, he accepted a call to the English-speaking congregation of Pietermaritzburg only four years later for health reasons (January 1992).

In 1994 Werner Köhne became chairman of the Hymnbook Commission of the FELSISA. Not only did he lead the extensive preparations and co-ordinations in putting together a new Lutheran hymnal, but he devoted a great deal of time and effort in obtaining the copyrights and the printing itself. The new hymn book, with a preface by Werner, was officially introduced in 2004 on the 3rd Sunday in Advent by all German-speaking congregations.

In 2001 Werner retired and moved with his wife to Wartburg. There they spent happy years in the vicinity of children and grandchildren. At the end of July 2016, they moved to the retirement home in Paulpietersburg.

May Werner Köhne behold what he believed and as a pastor proclaimed.

President emeritus Peter Ahlers

(Based on the obituary provided by the Köhne Family)


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