September 12, 2009
Kosovo and Azerbaijan recently became the latest alliance members of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) through their affiliation with the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA).
“Church growth in both Kosovo and Azerbaijan is exciting,” said Gordon Showell-Rogers, General Secretary of the EEA. “And it is wonderful to see how the formation of Evangelical Alliance has multiplied their impact. For instance, the cooperation in Kosovo is a great example to all of us of how to work together - in social action, in public lectures, in evangelism, in prayer, in joint services. Together this tiny (often marginalized) minority is having a significant impact.”
Artur Krasniqi, President of the Kosovo Protestant Evangelical Church (KPEC) and the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the KPEC, has welcomed the acceptance of the KPEC into the EEA family and now into the WEA.
“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. “Kosovo is the newest country in Europe and KPEC as the representing body of the Kosovar church is relatively new too. For these few years of existence however, KPEC has managed to strengthen the voice of unity of the Kosovar church and by doing so has been recognized by the Kosovo state: Kosovar Evangelicals are listed among the five recognized religious communities of the country.”
“KPEC will seek regional cooperation in order to exchange expertise so together overcome challenges ahead. On behalf of the Kosovar believers, please allow me to thank all those who have voted in favor of our membership.”
Dr. Derek Copley, who serves as Consultant to the EEA and WEA Central Asia, commented on Azerbaijan, emphasizing on the important aspect of the national EA.
“The Church, as elsewhere in the region, is highly missional, with a steady flow of new converts moving across international boundaries in this heavily persecuted area,” stated Dr. Copley. “The increasingly strong Evangelical Alliance of Azerbaijan has a key role to play, as churches are obliged to reregister by January 2010, and the believers face new restrictions on literature distribution, venues for meetings and personal witnessing.”
He also added, “The national EA gives the churches a united voice, and together, through the EA, they are planning strategically for the future. Their joining the WEA brings unique strengths and perspectives to the global scene."
Pastor Rasim Hasanov, General Secretary of Evangelical Alliance of Azerbaijan, expressed his joy and gratitude of joining the two families of the EEA and WEA.
“It is a great blessing for Azerbaijan to become part of such big families of the EEA and WEA,” said Pastor Hasanov. “We are very encouraged to know that we are not alone, but together with the worldwide evangelical churches and Christians. Evangelical Christianity is just 19 years old here in Azerbaijan, so we are thankful that we could learn from the EEA and WEA on how to unite the churches, how to speak to our government, and just how to serve God more effectively.”
Pastor Hasanov extended special thanks to Dr. Derek Copley, who played a significant part in forming the Evangelical Alliance of Azerbaijan.
“I give thanks to Dr. Copley for helping the Azerbaijan church for several years as well as mentoring me personally. May God bless him,” Pastor Hasanov added.
The WEA International Director Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe joyfully welcomed the two alliances with the following statement.
“We are delighted to welcome into membership the Evangelical Alliances from Kosovo and Azerbaijan. While both these alliances represent minority movements in their countries, we are 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.”
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