It is with great joy that the board of the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) announces the appointment of Connie Main Duarte from Portugal and Jan Wessels from the Netherlands to succeed Thomas Bucher from Switzerland as new General Secretaries of the EEA. Thomas will retire after the Hope Event in early October 2022, after 10 years of faithful service.
A search committee, made up of members from East and West, North and South of Europe, led by Andy Wenzel, an EEA board member, has done a very thorough job in the past 12 months of shaping a clear profile, prayerfully asking for God’s direction, searching and interviewing possible candidates. At the conclusion of the application phase the committee did in-depth interviews with a number of very gifted women and men who had applied. The Search Committee came with a recommendation to the board which Andy Wenzel expresses: “out of all the excellent applications Connie Main Duarte and Jan Wessels had the most complete profile. They bring to the table what is needed to take the EEA forward.”
Both Connie Main Duarte and Jan Wessels have served as EEA Board members for several years and they applied as a team for the role.
Connie Main Duarte’s background
Connie Main Duarte (51) was born and raised in Canada. She studied at Briercrest Bible College and Seminary and has a BA in Intercultural Studies, and an MA in Management and Leadership. Connie also studied at Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta and has a diploma in Human Resource Management. She moved to Portugal in 1998 where she worked with the GBU (IFES Portugal) for 10 years. She served for 3 years at the Portuguese Baptist Theological Seminary where she taught Spiritual Formation and Homiletics. In 2013 Connie was ordained and serves as a co-pastor of Meeting Point Church in Estoril, Portugal. She served 4 years on the board of EA Portugal. Connie is married to João (20 years) and they have 2 sons, Joshua (17) and Caleb (15).
Jan Wessels’ background
Jan Wessels (61) is a Dutch Missions Pastor of the Christian Reformed Bethelkerk in Veenendaal, the ‘Buckle of the Dutch Bible Belt’. He studied theology in Apeldoorn (BTh) and in Potchefstroom (MTh in NT) and is married to Elisabeth (Beppie) for 37 years. They have three sons and a daughter, all adults. Jan and Beppie met at the Theological University (Beppie holds a MTh in Missiology) and have since served as missionaries for nearly 18 years in Botswana (Africa) and the Netherlands. Jan was General Secretary of the Dutch Evangelical Alliance from 2010 to 2018. In 2018 he joined Faith2Share (Oxford), a global network of mission agencies, as International Director. In this role he is also a member of the Global Leadership Council of the Mission Commission (WEA).
Frank Hinkelmann, president of the EEA adds: “I am excited about their appointment. They come from different regions of Europe, and they complement each other well with their gifting, their experience, and their personalities. They will be able to develop further what Thomas Bucher has built with his team over the past years.”
Thomas Bucher expresses: “I am really pleased with their appointment. Both have Evangelical Alliance roots which go much further back than their involvement in the EEA board. They know the joys and sorrows of National EAs and their members as well as the EA European and World level. I will joyfully pass on to them that which I have worked for because I know it will be in good hands.”
It is very fortunate that there is a good overlap for Thomas Bucher to be able to introduce the two successors to their new position gradually.
Thomas Bucher will hand over the baton to Connie and Jan officially on 7 October, 2022.
European Evangelical Alliance (EEA)
Elisabeth Doergeloh, EEA Bonn Office
The Evangelical Alliance was originally created in London in 1846. A number of founding members were representing European countries. The European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) was founded in 1951. The EEA exists to foster unity and evangelical identity and provide a voice and platform to 23 million European evangelical Christians. The mission of the EEA is to CONNECT for common purpose, EQUIP for integral mission and REPRESENT with a united voice. It is a grassroots movement from all Protestant traditions present in 36 European countries. The Brussels office of the EEA promotes active citizenship of its constituency and represents it to the European Institutions.