Bishop Stefan Zürcher
Central and Southern Europe Central Conference
Central and Southern Europe Episcopal Area
Stefan Zürcher was born in Solothurn (Switzerland) and grew up with his parents, grandparents and four siblings on a farm in Rüttenen. He attended the UMC Solothurn with his family as a child, where he made many friends. Through the lived faith in family and church, he grew into the faith at an early age and experienced the deep love of God and of many people. He completed his first years of school in Rüttenen and the Gymnasium in Solothurn.
Education and Ordination
After graduating from the Gymnasium with the Matura, Stefan Zürcher studied at the ETH Zurich Agricultural Sciences and afterwards at the School of Theology of the United Methodist Church in Reutlingen (Germany). Later he did a doctorate (equivalent to Ph.D.) in Zurich on prayer from a Methodist perspective. He was ordained as an elder of The United Methodist Church by Bishop Heinrich Bolleter in the Annual Conference Switzerland-France-North Africa.
Stefan Zürcher served from 2000 to 2015 as a pastor in the three local churches Tann/Rüti-Wald-Hombrechtikon, located in the German-speaking part of Switzerland in the sunny Zürcher Oberland. He became a lecturer of the Lay Preachers’ Training in Switzerland which he led as director of formation from 2006 to 2015. From 2013 to 2023 he was chair of the working group Theology and Ordained Ministries and as such a member of the Executive Committee of the CC CSE and a delegate to the Central Conference since 2009.
In 2015 to 2022 Stefan Zürcher was appointed District Superintendent of the District Northwestern Switzerland by Bishop Patrick Streiff. He was also lecturer for Methodist Theology and Doctrine in the Methodist e-Academy in Europe and a member of the Council of the Reutlingen School of Theology. At the global level he served as a member of the Connectional Table of the UMC. Since 2015 he has been an army chaplain.
In November 2022, Stefan Zürcher was elected bishop of the United Methodist Church in Central and Southern Europe. He succeeds Bishop Patrick Streiff and assumes his office on August 1, 2023. His area covers eleven countries in Europe (Albania, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Switzerland) and two countries in North Africa (Algeria, Tunisia). Besides his service in this very diverse Episcopal Area, Stefan Zürcher is a member of the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters.
In 1991, Valérie Allenbach and Stefan Zürcher were married. They have four children: Emanuel, Rahel, Simon and Micha. His interests include reading, road cycling, playing the violin, photographing plants and hiking.