International BIC Association holds meeting in Toronto
GRANTHAM, Pa. (Sept. 23, 2008)—Earlier this month, the Executive Committee of the International Brethren in Christ Association (IBICA) gathered in Toronto, ON, for its second meeting.
Committee members Felix Rafael Curbello (Cuba), Bijoy Roul (India), Thuma Hamukang’andu (Zambia), Danisa Ndlovu (Zimbabwe), Warren Hoffman (North America), and Don McNiven (North America), were joined by Darrell Winger, a leader in the BIC Church in Canada who has been supporting the group with administrative assistance.
The IBICA, which was affirmed by the General Conference of North America in late June, represents the BIC Church of North America’s transition from a “parenting” role to “peer-to-peer” relationships with the nine conferences it has established in countries outside North America. The IBICA represents a recognition that conferences or associations under the Brethren in Christ name which were once mission fields of the North American BIC Church are now self-governing, self-supporting, and involved in mission outreach of their own in adjacent countries.
The primary aim of the Toronto meeting was to fine-tune a governing document for an international association of BIC churches, including criteria for local churches with an organizational framework that can be applied around the world.
In addition to the business of shaping this new organizing entity, the group talked and prayed together about the challenges facing BIC churches around the world:
- Hurricane Ike swept across Cuba, leaving a path of destruction from one end of the island to the other.
- Zimbabwe is embarking on a tenuous transition to a power-sharing agreement government, even as the country reels from an almost complete collapse of its economic system.
- The people of Zambia are gearing up for national elections in the aftermath of the death of their president.
- The province of Orissa in India is experiencing the worst eruption of anti-Christian violence in 60 years, while flooding in that region as well as the province of Bihar has resulted in many deaths and millions of dollars’ worth of damage.
With these developments in mind, a late-breaking purpose for the meeting was to develop a formal statement in response to the persecution in India. All the while, the members were building relationships with one another as global church leaders.
In addition to Cuba, North America, Southeast Asia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe—all of which have membership in IBICA—the organization has initiated relationships with BIC Conferences in Honduras, Mexico, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Columbia, Japan, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, and Botswana.