As a typical Swiss of his time Thomas Bucher did a three year apprenticeship. In a local Christian Youth Group he got vision and perspective for his life.
After Bible seminary (TDS Aarau) he joined OM to work with Immigrants, first in London then in Italy and finally in Egypt (each placement for a year).
Thomas Bucher loves to be where the action is. He has often found himself in situations, sometimes quite untidy ones, where his skills in consolidating situations, growing and implementing vision and helping organisations to grow to the next level were well put to work.
Over the years the roles were many and often parallel. A selection: OM: COO and then National Director in Switzerland (18 years), OM Western European Director followed by associated European Director (9 years). Evangelical Alliance: Swiss National Board (10 years and 6 of those as chairman), European Evangelical Alliance board (2008-2012) and now General Secretary since September 2013. Tearfund: Board (11 years, 4 of those as chairman). He has also started various projects, one of the latest being Mission-Net, a European youth mobilisation event and movement.
As the chairman of a local Reformed church, he faces the opportunity of living in an area with 40% immigrants. Being exposed to grass root questions and also having the possibility to see issues from a European perspective gives him very practical insights.
Spiritual development is very dear to Thomas Bucher. He sees this as the foundation for character development and as the key for mastering life. He therefore sets aside regular times for spiritual formation and does make sure people in his sphere of influence are being helped to develop. One of his greatest joys is to see people thrive.
For his personal development he has two mentors.
He is a generalist and therefore reads a wide selection of book with topics like theology, missiology, leadership, people development, trends, biographies and so on. He is very interested in the general changes in society and their root causes.
A little channel he uses to pass on his insights are his e-mail signatures (renewed every 10 days). He is time and again surprised by encouraging feedback.
Further education has happened through attending specific courses over the years. He has generally preferred specific short courses in order to fulfil his interest of practical application.
Laying good foundations and setting good processes
Coming from an organisation with many pioneers he has developed a concern to make sure good foundations will be laid and the respective processes developed. All too often he has seen organisations (including the ones he served) not being able to grow to the next stage because they lacked the essentials to do so. This includes getting the right leaders in place which suit that stage of organisational development.
Thomas Bucher has lived a busy life but family has always been important to him. I is married and has four married children and two grandchildren. His children call me a dad who was present.
Hester Zoutman-van der Burgh works as the Operations Manager for 1 day a week. She is responsible for the events of the EEA, such as the General Assembly, Round Table meeting and Hope for Europe City Conference. She also oversees the back office procedures and works closely with the General Secretary.
Hester is also responsible for the Youth Work of the EEA and supports this in her role as CEO of Mission-Net Congress (www.mission-net.org)
Hester is married, has a daughter and lives in Haarlem. Hester’s office days are: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Julia Doxat-Purser is EEA’s socio-political representative & religious liberty coordinator. She was previously EEA’s first Brussels representative, where her most significant work was ensuring the EU’s Employment Directive in 2000 was amended to grant essential flexibility to faith groups.
Julia’s role is to help Evangelicals engage in the public arena effectively and with solid biblical foundations of how one engages “Christianly”. She particularly enjoys encouraging the next generation of Evangelicals, often in partnership with IFES. She teaches, writes, offers advocacy & consultancy support and connects specialists together, especially in the area of freedom of religion and belief and also human trafficking and prostitution ministries (www.europeanfreedomnetwork.org).
With the Brussels representative, Julia is working on a long term strategy to transform attitudes on freedom of religion and belief, including by promoting civility within our plural societies so that there is freedom of conscience for all. Julia is married to Alistair and lives in the United Kingdom.
Christel Ngnambi started as the EEA Brussels Representative in September 2007. He is a political Science graduate with a deep interest in developing a Christian mind and applying Christian thinking to public policy. His personal public policy interests include migration.
For over a decade, Jennifer Roemhildt Tunehag has worked among women and men in prostitution and victims of human trafficking. In Athens, Greece, Jennifer started the ministry Lost Coin (now Nea Zoi, or New Life). Her experiences there led to an invitation in 2006 to testify before the US Congress about human trafficking.
After turning the ministry over to new leadership, Jennifer began focusing on the challenge of engaging the global church in Christ’s mission of individual restoration and societal transformation.
She is now working to assist the EEA in developing the European Freedom Network (EFN). EFN works to connect national Alliances with active and emerging ministries and other stakeholders in their context, and serves those networks by providing the tools they need for effective cooperation and action.
Jennifer says, “I believe that we have the opportunity and the obligation to respond redemptively to this crisis. The global church, operating locally, can be a powerful force in the battle against human trafficking!”
Jennifer lives with her husband, Mats, in Stockholm, Sweden. She serves on the Human Trafficking Task Force of the WEA, and also works with other international organizations as a missions consultant on issues of prostitution and trafficking.
My name is Derek Copley and I live on the South coast of England. I have one daughter Sara (42), who is married to Jason (also 42), with 4 children aged 6 to 14. They are in Costa Rica until August 2014, then move to Spain as career church planters in Madrid..
I was principal of a Bible College in the UK for 27 years, until 1997, training people for missionary service. My original background was in nuclear science. I offer my gifts and experience to churches around Europe and the rest of the world, also as a Consultant on EAs in the Central Asia region. I have a particular love for Europe and the EEA, having attended the General Assembly meetings since 1983. In 1995 I became more heavily involved, when I was elected as President. In 1997, when Stuart McAllister left the EEA as the General Secretary, I did some of the work of General Secretary for 2 years. I am now the Consultant on Central Asia.
My commitment to the EEA is:
- To be a sounding board to the General Secretary on any issues he would like to discuss with me.
- To encourage and assist in the formation of new EAs in Central Asia and surrounding countries
- To speak on the Bible and various topics at conferences and national EA gatherings.
- To run leadership training courses for church leaders. To be a resource for those EAs who would like some input.
- To be the Central Asia representative on the Scholarship Committee of the WEA for the GA in 2014
Dr. Bert de Ruiter is the EEA consultant Christian-Muslim Relations. He helps members of the EEA to:
a.) be aware of the Muslims in their midst and encourage them to befriend them and share their lives with them;
b.) understand the developments that are taking place among Muslims in Europe;
c.) search with Muslims for central values in society, like justice, freedom, respect, cooperation.
He is available as a consultant on matters relating to relationships with Muslims in Europe and as a trainer to conduct training seminars and workshops on Christian-Muslim relations. Bert got an MA in World Evangelization and a D. Min. in Muslim-Christian relations in Europe. For over 25 years Bert has been ministering in about 50 countries around the world to help Christians share their lives with Muslims. Bert and his wife Jenny live in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and have two children and two grandchildren.
Originally from N. Ireland (UK), Harry has been a missionary in Belgium since 1983 and has been involved in full-time children’s ministry since 1990. His wife Catherine is Belgian and works part-time as a social worker. They have 2 children in higher education studies.
Since May 2008 Harry has served as the Hope for Europe Convenor of the European Children’s Ministry Network. He is a Global Children’s Forum European region facilitation team member and is the 4/14 Window Global Initiative Facilitator for Western Europe. Since the summer of 2012 he is also serving the EEA as Children’s Ministry Associate and is working alongside Colin Piper and the European Youth Commission.
His desire is to serve the churches in Europe and encourage and facilitate sharing and partnering together. In serving as EEA Children’s Ministry Associate he sees his role as
- Help communicate and strengthen the vision for Children’s Ministry in the churches.
- Write and/or propose regular articles for the EEA and National Alliances to publish.
- Advocate for a greater % of funding from churches for their CM & national initiatives.
- Inform about annual prayer initiatives for children and encourage participation (schools Pray Day, Viva World-wide Weekend of prayer for Children at Risk, 4/14 Global Day of Prayer…
Helping to develop long-term strategies
- Develop new strategies & encourage effective ministry models in our European context.
- Integrate the EEA Youth Commission team and work closely other WEA regional Children’s Ministry and Youth leaders.
Consulting and Training
- Facilitate the organisation of a European Children’s Ministry Congress and national Forums and conferences.
- Communicate tools and resources to teach the Biblical basis and divine model for discipling children and youth.
- Formation of a youth and children’s apologetics training team.
Networking and resourcing
- Assist national Children’s Ministry Networks where they are in place and facilitate their creation where needed.
- Connect with other key networks in Europe: family, youth, church planting, media, government, education, European Freedom Network, prayer, schools…
- As a European facilitator of the Global Children’s Forum, the 4/14 Window Global Initiative and the Hope for Europe Children’s Ministry Network, represent the EEA and encourage partnerships with ministries in Europe.
EEA Children’s Ministry Associate
Hope for Europe Convenor of the European Children’s Ministry Network: www.hfe.org
Global Children’s Forum European region facilitation team member: www.globalchildrensforum.com
4/14 Window Global Initiative Facilitator for Western Europe: www.4to14window.com
Her role is to assist the General Secretary wherever asked and necessary. Her main duties are research, updating the database, making travel arrangements for the GS, translating and creating documents for the daily work and dealing with all other enquiries receiving from GS. Sarah is married and lives in Zurich since 2010, but is originally from Germany.