COMA-RUGA, SPAIN (September 17, 2010) – Donn E. Engebretson has been elected president of the International Federation of Free Evangelical Churches, whose General Assembly is meeting this week in Coma-Ruga south of Barcelona.
Engebretson serves as executive vice president of the Evangelical Covenant Church with offices in Chicago, Illinois. He is pictured in the lower center portion of the accompanying photo taken during one of the General Assembly sessions.
The International Federation of Free Evangelical Churches (IFFEC) is a group of churches from the Free Church heritage that meet for mutual support and encouragement, networking, cooperation in mission, and serving member federations to equip and develop healthy churches. The General Assembly, which meets every four years, includes 30 international church denominations from 22 countries, reflecting continued growth in representation from Asia, Latin America and Africa in particular.
Other members of the delegation representing the Covenant are Curt Peterson, executive minister of the Department of World Mission, and his wife, Martie; Jay Phelan, senior professor of theological studies at North Park Theological Seminary; John and Letha Kerl, Covenant world mission regional directors for Europe and Africa; Gamaliel Adame, president of the Covenant Church of the Central and South Districts of Mexico (IEMP), and the Confraternity of Hispanic Covenant Churches (CIPE); Nancy Reed, CIPE delegate; Fredy Molinari, CIPE youth delegate from Valencia, Spain; Hanibal Nicolade of Iglesia del Pacto Ecuador (Covenant Church of Ecuador), serving as a missionary in Spain; and Eugenio Restrepo, a Covenant missionary serving in Malaga, Spain.
Others named to serve in various roles include Francisco Portillo, president of the Free Church in Spain, as general secretary; Curt Peterson, chair of the Missions Committee; Jay Phelan, chair of the Theology Committee; and Marti Burger as a member of the Youth Committee. Engebretson, Peterson and Phelan currently serve on the IFFEC Executive Committee, which also includes other international church leaders.
“IFFEC in general and the General Assembly in particular provide a wonderful opportunity for mutual encouragement and support to churches engaged in similar ministry around the world,” Engebretson notes. “IFFEC gives all of its members an opportunity for developing a wider vision of God’s marvelous work in our world. But, IFFEC also creates a framework for mutually accountable and authentic relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ. The trust created by these relationships then becomes a foundation for new and exciting ventures in cooperation in mission and ministry, which advances the Good News around the world.”
Peterson echoes those sentiments, pointing out that the gatherings also encourage active networking conversations for collaborative mission and inspiration around the theme United in Christ for Mission. “Speakers from North America, Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia expanded our awareness of God’s movement in mission worldwide and stimulated thinking about more effective collaboration and partnerships in all aspects of God’s mission in Christ in this world,” Peterson said. “Bible studies, discussion groups and prayer times deepened our commitment to serving together as ‘missional pietists’ seeking holistic reconciliation in this world.”
IFFEC sponsors two large events, including the “Joining Hands for Mission in Europe” conference, last held in Berlin (2007) to address challenges for church development in the current European context and to provide support and encouragement for church planting in Europe. Another conference will take place in Germany next March, focusing on theological and practical resources for church planting, church revitalization and local church mission engagement.
A theological conference was held in Germany in 2008 with another planned for 2012, which will focus on global Christianity and the next evangelicalism.