The Kosovo Protestant Evangelical Church (KPEC) and the Evangelical Alliance of Azerbaijan have become the latest national church networks to join the wider World Evangelical Alliance.
"It is a great blessing for Azerbaijan to become part of such big families of the EEA (European Evangelical Alliance) and WEA," commented Pastor Rasim Hasanov, general secretary of Evangelical Alliance of Azerbaijan. "We are very encouraged to know that we are not alone, but together with the worldwide evangelical churches and Christians."
KPEC President Artur Krasniqi similarly welcomed the acceptance of his evangelical body into the WEA through the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA).
"I believe the acceptance of the KPEC will contribute into both building new bridges of communication between sister churches of Europe and beyond as well as strengthening the existing warm relationships," said Krasniqi.
Though the evangelical community in Kosovo is tiny, the relatively new KPEC has reportedly been having a significant impact. In the few years it's existed, KPEC has managed to strengthen the voice of unity of the Kosovar church and by doing so has been recognized by the Kosovo state. Today, Kosovar Evangelicals are listed among the five recognized religious communities of the country, Krasniqi noted.
In Azerbaijan, meanwhile, the increasingly strong Evangelical Alliance of Azerbaijan has reportedly played a key role in steady flow of new converts in the persecution-heavy country since it was established around 19 years ago.
"The national EA gives the churches a united voice, and together, through the EA, they are planning strategically for the future," explained Dr. Derek Copley, who serves as Consultant to the EEA and WEA Central Asia.
"Their joining the WEA brings unique strengths and perspectives to the global scene," he added.
In a statement released this past Saturday, WEA International Director Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe welcomed the two alliances and said the WEA is encouraged to see the recent growth of the Church and their growing unity.
"As a global community it is important that we stand with each of these alliances as they seek to live out Kingdom values in often challenging circumstances," he added.
With 128 national evangelical alliances making up its network, the World Evangelical Alliance seeks to foster Christian unity and to provide an identity, voice and platform for the 420 million evangelical Christians worldwide.
The WEA is also made up of 104 associate member organizations, including the Billy Graham Center, Campus Crusade for Christ International, Food for the Hungry, Jews for Jesus, and a large number of missions organizations.