After 17 years as head of the Reformed Church in America, the Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson announced July 20 that he will retire as general secretary next year.

In recent years, Granberg-Michaelson has been a key leader in ecumenical circles, helping to found the group Christian Churches Together in the USA, the nascent Global Christian Forum and also the new World Communion of Reformed Churches — a merger of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council.

Granberg-Michaelson expects to serve until the fall of 2011, allowing the church’s General Synod Council to launch the search for a replacement.

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The Rev. Karin Achtelstetter, a veteran communications professional in global ecumenical circles, has been elected general secretary of the World Association of Christian Communication, based in Toronto. She begins her new work in October.

Achtelstetter has been in Geneva for a number of years, serving as public information director for the World Council of Churches and currently as director and editor-in-chief of the Lutheran World Federation.

The German native holds a Master of Theology degree from Friedrich-Alexander University, Erlangen, Germany, and a Master of Arts in Women’s Studies from the University of Kent at Canterbury, England.  She was ordained to the ministry earlier this year by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.