Arie de Pater is EEA’s Brussels Representative. Since May 2017, he puts a face and mouth to EEA’s presence at the European Institutions and related networks in the European capital.
Arie comes to the job with over fifteen years of advocacy experience, both at national and at EU and UN level, promoting and defending Freedom of Religion or Belief with a particular emphasis on Christians persecuted for their faith. Arie has worked closely with the UN team of the World Evangelical Alliance and has served the WEA as a member of its Religious Liberty Commission for over a decade. “Its great to be back in Brussels after several years of absence, and I regard it a huge privilege to represent the Evangelical Alliances at this level.”
Arie is married to Francina with three children, one girl and two boys, all teenagers or adolescents. That’s another privilege!
“Brussels is a lovely city but whenever I need a bit of fresh air and some mind space I take my bike or my runners out to explore a park or the country side. Old cathedrals, architecture, art, or a good read are balm for the soul as well.”
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
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.
Dr. Bert de Ruiter is a Consultant Christian-Muslim relations with OM and the EEA. He is also visiting faculty member of Tyndale Theological Seminary. Bert has been involved in Christian-Muslim relations in Europe for 32 years. He got an MA in World Evangelization and a D.Min. in Christian-Muslim relations. He has authored two books: “A Single Hand cannot applaud” on
the value of the book of Proverbs in evangelizing Muslims and “Sharing Lives” on how Christians can overcome their fear of Islam and learn to share their lives with Muslims. He edited the book “Engaging with Muslims in Europe”. Bert lives in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is married and has two children and four grandchildren.
He helps EEA Members and Affiliates to:
- be aware of the Muslims in their midst and encourage them to befriend them and share their lives with them;
- understand the developments that are taking place among Muslims in Europe;
- search with Muslims for central values in society, e.g. 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.
Find here Bert’s 2017/18 Training Courses for reaching out to Muslims