World Evangelical Alliance Names Interim Coordinator

Three weeks after the official resignation of its general secretary, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) appointed an interim international coordinator to oversee the organization indefinitely.

“The World Evangelical Alliance International Council is pleased to announce that Geoff Tunnicliffe has been appointed as the interim international coordinator for the WEA, following the recent resignation of Gary Edmonds as the WEA general secretary,” a Feb. 24 report by the WEA read.

Tunnicliffe, director of global initiatives with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), will serve as the director of the WEA World Issues Summit in May, where the executive committee will address imperative issues such as donor relations, communication between international WEA bodies, and the transition of the WEA secretariat office.

Former General Secretary Edmonds, who had one year remaining on his term as the WEA head, resigned on Feb. 1, and picked up a separate leadership post at Churches Together – a fellowship of North American churches interested in developing global mission plans.

At the time of Edmonds’ transition, the WEA had not set up concrete plans for future or even immediate leadership. However, Edmonds said he would do his best, even after January 31, to help the WEA find the right personnel for future governance.

”I will continue to be in an advisory and consultancy role to help the WEA in its transition period; this could go on for several months,” said Edmonds, during a Jan. 24 interview with the Christian Post. “I will have a period of overlap in my duties. During the next couple of months, I will continue to offer counsel and oversight to aspects of the WEA functions. Therefore, my responsibilities with WEA will not stop immediately on January 31. I am committed to help WEA for an effective transition.”

Oddly, Tunnicliffe, who served on the North American board of the WEA for several years before his new appointment, also works with Churches Together.

At the time of Edmonds’ transition, Tunnicliffe commented, “while this is a loss for the WEA, it allows Gary to pursue his life mission of leading transformation through churches working together“

Edmonds meanwhile offered his support to Tunnicliffe’s new role.

“The WEA is in very good hands,” says Edmonds, in the Feb. 24 statement. “Geoff is very knowledgeable about evangelical alliances and global realities. From his many years of international ministry, he has developed an ability to understand different cultures and develop collaborative initiatives that advance the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Ndaba Mazabane, chair of the WEA International Council, agreed that Tunnicliffe will play a critical role in helping rebuild and reunite the Alliance.

“I am delighted that Geoff has agreed to step in at this time to assist the WEA in its quest of realizing its goals of uniting and rallying evangelicals around the globe to be communities of grace and hope,” said Mazabane.

Tunnicliffe also expressed hopes for the Alliance’s future.

“I feel honored that I’ve been asked to take on this role at this transition time, and very hopeful as we move into the future, we will continue to develop an alliance that is strategic and effective,” said Tunnicliffe to the Christian Post on Thursday.

According to Tunnicliffe, his main role as the interim international coordinator would be to build understanding among its members and to help define the role of the Alliance in the 21st century.

“I think part of my role is to direct strategic communications and to continue building a level of understanding between the churches,” said Tunnicliffe. “Providing a communications hub and continuing to define what the role of the WEA has been in the 21st century is also a big part of my role.”

“There has been a real desire for the WEA to continue to be a voice for evangelicals around the world and build that voice so we can have common expressions and common concerns,” he continued. “We have shared unity around key issues, and my role would be to strengthen the voice of the WEA as we move into the future.”

Tunnicliffe will continue on staff as director of global initiatives for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. He also sits on the North American council of WEA, is a member of the global leadership team of the WEA mission commission and is involved, with WEA, in the Micah Challenge to mobilize Christians against poverty.

The international headquarters of the WEA has also shifted to Toronto, Canada – home of the EFC. The EFC staff will “take on the day to day management” for the alliance and will provide services to the WEA churches around the world.