The EFC is part of a global network of 600 million Evangelicals through the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA).
That relationship connects Canadians to
their brothers and sisters worldwide.
It’s such a strong relationship that the EFC
has sometimes helped the Alliance continue
when things looked very dark.
Gary Edmonds’ resignation as secretary-general of WEA in December 2004 “almost
paralyzed the operations” of the WEA, says
International Council chair Ndaba Mazabane. Serious financial and other issues
were sinking the organization.
Mazabane called an urgent meeting of the
WEA International Council “to chart the way
forward.” EFC president Bruce Clemenger,
a new member of the council, volunteered to
“This gathering at the EFC’s offices gave
WEA a lease of life in ways beyond imagination,” recalls Mazabane. Important decisions
were made to ensure the WEA could continue.
“The WEA needed a strong national alliance to step up, and we did,” says Clemenger.
The EFC agreed to host the WEA office and
handle its administration and operations.
Most importantly the EFC released Geoff
Tunnicliffe, then responsible for the EFC’s
global initiatives, to co-ordinate the affairs of
WEA until a planned May 2005 summit. At
the summit the council appointed Tunnicliffe
head of the WEA, a position he still holds. The
EFC is one of the major financial supporters
of WEA, Mazabane adds.
Tunnicliffe’s leadership in the international picture goes back to 1999–2002,
when he led a team to develop the Refugee
Highway Partnership, a WEA network of 350
As secretary-general, Tunnicliffe
frequently meets with foreign
government leaders and has brok-
ered dialogue between warring
factions. He has also had meetings
with popes, archbishops and other
religious bodies and leaders.
The 2005 intervention was the
second time in 20 years that the
EFC rescued WEA from the brink.
Canadian historian W. Harold Fuller points to another moment in 1985, when
WEA was in debt and without a solid support
base. It was through persuasion by the EFC’s
Brian Stiller that the international director,
David Howard, remained at the helm instead
of resigning in discouragement, says Fuller.
Howard and members of the executive
were meeting for two days of prayer, with
Howard about to resign when the phone rang.
It was Stiller, who had heard rumours of
Howard’s resignation but was unaware of the
meeting taking place.
“You can’t do that!” Stiller said to Howard.
“WEA needs you and we need WEA.” Encouraged by Stiller’s insistence that he was still
God’s person for the job, and buttressed by
news that others in the WEA supported that
stance, Howard remained.
Fuller, a former missionary in Nigeria and
member of the EFC’s executive, eventually became vice-chair of WEA, assisting then-chair
Tokunboh Adeyemo, whom Fuller had helped
to mentor when they both lived in Nigeria.
Fuller’s 1996 book People of the Mandate
(Paternoster Publishing) provides an early
history of the WEA.
More recently Stiller was named the
WEA’s global ambassador. Since 2011 he has
travelled the world encouraging Evangelicals,
Other Canadians have also given leader-
ship. For 10 years Eileen Stewart-Rhude
chaired the EFC’s task force on women in min-
istry. In 2001 she was appointed to represent
Canada on the WEA global council. In 2006
she was named executive director of the WEA
Women’s Commission. Stewart-Rhude has a
passion to share the stories of women around
the world, especially those who are changing
the lot of women through education in social,
health and spiritual issues.
Another Canadian, Commissioner
Christine MacMillan (retired) of The Salvation Army, provides leadership on issues of
justice, particularly from her position as the
WEA’s international spokesperson on human
“We owe our gratitude to the board of
the EFC for their unrelenting and continued
support of WEA’s efforts,” says Mazabane.
“The EFC has set an example of how member
bodies and affiliates can collaborate and
partner with us in pursuing the grand vision
and laudable ideals in the WEA mission statement. We wish them strength and success into
the future!” n
By Debra Fieguth
The Canadian church has contributed to, and
benefitted from, the World Evangelical alliance.
Geoff Tunnicliffe was appointed head
of the WEA in 2005.
Supporting Global Mission