World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General Thomas Schirrmacher resigns

Thomas Schirrmacher speaks at "Mission Freedom," an event on human trafficking in Frankfurt, Germany.(Photo: Martin Warnecke)

(CP) World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General Thomas Schirrmacher has resigned from his position in the prominent global Christian organization due to health reasons.

Schirrmacher stepped down from secretary general of the 600-million-member organization on Sunday while still in his first term, which was scheduled to expire on Feb. 28, 2026.

In a statement Monday, the WEA announced that the WEA International Council unanimously accepted his resignation due to the effects of long COVID-19.

Goodwill Shana, the chair of the WEA International Council, will serve as interim head of the WEA for a period not expected to exceed six months while the council's Human Resource Committee will launch a review process of the Office of the Secretary General, which is expected to lead to a selection process for a new secretary general and CEO.

"Schirrmacher has had a long productive relationship with the WEA, its national members and commissions," the WEA statement reads. "His erudite writings reinforcing biblical truth have been an encouragement to many."

"The International Council of the WEA looks to the prayers and support of the WEA family and friends to navigate the road ahead with God's direction, wisdom and grace."

A native of Germany, professor and an Anglican archbishop coadjutor, Schirrmacher took office in 2021, replacing Secretary General Efraim Tendero, who served a single term. Before Tendero, Geoff Tunnicliffe and Jun Vencer each served two terms.

As executive chair, Shana will oversee a team of two deputy secretaries general (Peirong Lin and Samuel Chiang). The deputy secretaries general role was created in Tendero's term to form the Office of Secretary General and continued in Schirrmacher's term.

Schirrmacher earned four doctorates: one in ecumenical studies in 1985, one in cultural anthropology in 1989, one in ethics in 1996 and one in sociology of religion in 2007. He also has three honorary doctorates.

Prior to becoming head of the WEA, Schirrmacher served the global Evangelical body as associate secretary general for Theological Concerns and Intrafaith and Interfaith Relations.

He is archbishop coadjutor of the Communio Christiana under Archbishop William Mikler, a global independent Anglican community with a Reformed and Charismatic emphasis. In that role, he works closely with the Communio Messianca, which connects churches from an Oriental background in 75 countries.

"I am humbled that so many esteemed leaders are putting their trust in me," said Schirrmacher in a 2021 statement. "Having been part of the leadership for a long time, I already feel very much at home in the WEA."

During his inaugural speech in 2021, Schirrmacher described the Bible as the "confession of the Church" and the "paper pope" that dictates the beliefs of the faithful.

"We are proud to have a Paper Pope because the Paper Pope assures that none of us, including me, are above the Word of God," he said at the time. "We all submit to the Word of God; no one is above it."

Schirrmacher also penned a series of articles for The Christian Post in October 2015, documenting his experiences at the Vatican Synod on Family, which took place in Rome.

WEA secretary generals are appointed by the organization's International Council to serve a five-year term. They can also serve multiple consecutive terms.

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