At the triennial conference held in Sarajevo, the annual Hope Award was presented to Jeff Fountain.
The European Evangelical Alliance officially changed its leadership on 5 October in Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina), during the Hope for Europe 2022 gathering that brought together around 300 evangelical leaders.
“When I address all of you, it shows something of the richness of relationships in the EEA. It makes my heart thankful and humbles me. So many people are journeying together”, said Thomas Bucher, the outgoing General Secretary responding as he responded to the words of thankfulness of EEA President Frank Hinkelmann. “So many people coming to the dance floor and dancing together. So many united in the task to build God’s kingdom in Europe and beyond”, Bucher added as he underlined the effort of the EEA staff and the support of his wife Margrith throughout the decade he has been leading the evangelical body.
[photo_footer]Thomas Bucher, speaking at Hope For Europe 2022. / Photo: EEA.
“To my successors, Connie [Duarte] and Jan [Wessels], I wish joy, wisdom and strength and the knowledge of the presence of our Almighty God. The one who gave the EEA a unique task, the one who has sustained us and who will open up new horizons”.
In their opening statements as the new General Secretaries, Jan Wessels began by saying: “We are still striving to see movements of Jesus followers glorifying God and serving people across Europe together, as Jesus didn’t only give us the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, but also left us with the Great Commitment; to be one, so that the world will see and believe in Jesus as the Christ”.
[photo_footer]A family photo of the participants of Hope For Europe in Sarajevo. / Photo: EEA.
Connie Main Duarte added: “We are incredibly grateful to Thomas and the staff team for working hard on the mission of the EEA and making it a reality. Our task now is to take the mission farther by looking closely at three areas; Connecting, Equipping and Representing, and asking key questions that will help us move forward in the coming year”.
At the Sarajevo conference, the EEA also presented its anual Hope For Europe Aware, which went Jeff Fountain. The non-monetary award is presented annually to a person, group or project in Europe embodying the message of biblical hope and values of partnership, networking, transformation, and integrity.
“Though born in New Zealand, Jeff Fountain has lived in the Netherlands since 1975 and has travelled and spoken in almost every European country”, says the EEA. “He is a man who is well acquainted with European history, and is able to trace European Christian heritage and link it to today's values and behaviors, or lack thereof”.
Jan Wessels said: “Jeff has been the one within our European Evangelical family who has championed hope the loudest and the longest. He has constantly reminded us that, if Jesus asked us to pray ‘Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’, then it is indeed His will that it will be done”.
Connie Duarte underlined that “Jeff is a pioneer in championing the importance of European Christian networks to create synergy as well as networks within nations. Networks of specialists. Networks crossing the boundaries of denomination or type of organization”. Thomas Bucher emphasised Fountain’s “great expectation that God has yet another Christian chapter in store for Europe”.
[photo_footer]Hope for Europe emphasised the need for Christian leaders from across Europe to connect and work together. / Photo: EEA
[title]Hope for Europe 2022
[text]Hope 2022 was a special gathering, hosted by the European Evangelical Alliance, which normally takes place every three years (last in Tallinn, Estonia in 2018, Covid resulted in a postponement of one year) and convened hundreds of evangelical leaders from across Europe to share strategies, best practices and valuable insights and to collaborate. The motto of HOPE 2022 was „Builders connecting – Celebrating the Kingdom of God”.