Following a regional search and interview process, the European Baptist Federation (EBF) has appointed Will Cumbia as the EBF Coordinator for the Migration Issues (part-time).
Since its inception after World War II, EBF has stood strong in supporting the most marginalised across the EBF region. In recent years as the refugee crisis continues to unfold across Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia, the EBF has recommitted itself to responding to the needs of displaced peoples and Baptist unions serving them. After five years of faithful work from an EBF refugee working group, an EBF Commission on Migration was established at the EBF Council in 2020 hosted virtually. In this role, Cumbia will act as an EBF lead on issues of migration and displaced peoples, working in conjunction with the Commission on Migration. He will strengthen the network of EBF ministries and partners involved in work with displaced peoples and build bridges among external groups and organisations involved in similar work in the EBF region. The role also includes curating and developing relevant theological resources and channeling aid. Cumbia, originally from Virginia, USA, holds a Bachelor in Business Administration in Marketing from the College of William & Mary and brings over six years of cross-cultural ministry experience. He is based in Vienna, Austria where he has been assisting the refugee integration efforts of the Baptist Union of Austria since 2017. He has worked with the EBF refugee working group and now Commission since the beginning of 2019. Cumbia also serves as the Field Coordinator of a Missions Partnership focused on refugee work with the Baptist General Association of Virginia, an EBF partner. Besides, he is working towards his Master of Divinity, with a concentration on interfaith dialogue online with McAfee School of Theology in the United States. "I am absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to continue working with EBF member bodies and partners to increase our capacities to serve displaced peoples in the EBF region,” said Cumbia. “My life was completely changed by my relationships with asylum seekers in Austria and I look forward to reflecting deeply with EBF members on how Baptist churches in Europe can be spaces of welcome. I am excited to help strengthen the network of ministry partners working alongside displaced peoples and work with the EBF Commission on Migration to provide resources, materials, and aid for greater Kingdom impact across the EBF region."
His appointment follows a search from the entirety of the EBF region overseen by EBF staff, representation from the Commission on Migration, and representation from BMS World Mission. "I am very pleased about this new appointment which helps the EBF to serve its member bodies in their ministry to refugees and migrants,” said EBF Assistant General Secretary Helle Liht. “Since 2015, refugee ministry has been an important part of EBF work, and now, having appointed Will Cumbia as a part-time coordinator for this area, we are able to develop this ministry further and offer better support to our member bodies.” BMS World Mission has agreed to come alongside EBF to support greater capacity for work with displaced peoples in the coming years. Liht continued, “We are immensely grateful to our long-standing partner BMS World Mission whose generous support makes this appointment possible.” Cumbia will officially begin work in the new role on March 1, 2021.