The power of Encouragement
Sometimes you wonder in secular Europe about being a Christian. It was once said that Christians were responsible for a lot of good things going on in society. These days it seems that Christian heritage is often put down and even made responsible for a lot of negative outcomes.
Andy Wenzel, an EEA Executive Committee member sent the following link to his colleagues. And I actually think it does not only apply to the Global South. There are many church based initiatives going on in Europe. In fact I would come to the same conclusion as John Longhurst in his article.
Let us remind us of many good initiatives going on through Christians. Please let us know so we may let it be known.
By the way, the new EEA website will be going live soon. We are also working on a news platform which will make it easier to share your encouragements – and also your needs.
Caring for each other in hard times.
As the economic crisis continues, we all watch the news and, beyond the hardship we see on our doorstep, we think of EEA friends in Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Greece and, most recently, in Cyprus. The politics and the possible economic solutions are beyond us but we remember that, behind the news headlines, people suffer and are anxious. So let’s continue to pray for one another and encourage one another. We pray for the most vulnerable and for our politicians. And may the Lord spread hope, relief and salvation as He helps us all be and share the Good News in word and deed.
And remember that even with little resources big hearted people can do much. During the war in Kosovo the Albanian Christians with less than two percent of the resources helped more than 15 percent of the refugees. So let us be creative and let us bring our two fish and five breads to encourage and feed our brothers and sisters in need.
Following this strand at the General Assembly of the EEA
At the General Assembly we will be looking at the crisis of Europe (spiritual, economical, social and political). We will be asking how the Evangelical Alliance can impact this situation. We will learn from each other and hopefully we countries with similar initiatives will be pulling together and encourage each other but also build synergy. There are many good reasons why it is worth to come to the General Assembly, why it it would be good to encourage somebody else to join you or even sponsor somebody to come along.
Coming back to the power of encouragement. How could you encourage somebody right now? Why not write an e-mail, pick up the phone, make that small donation you have thought about several times or even make a visit. Do not delay it any further and remember that what might seem small to you can be enormously significant for a person in need.
Be encouraged and be an encouragement!
Interim General Secretary
PS We are going to send out this letter to the chairmen of the boards of the national alliances and the affiliated members organisation’s as well. If we do not have the e-mail details we will approach you.
Representation on the International
Council of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA IC)
After five years on the International Council Hans Henrik Lund is stepping down. The EEA ExCo wants to thank Hans Henrik for his faithful and competent service representing the EEA on the WEA IC. We wish Hans Henrik God’s blessing on his journey.
The ExCo has decided to ask Frank Hinkelmann, chairman of the Austrian Evangelical Alliance and European director of OM to take on this task. Frank has agreed to do so from September onwards. This means that the ExCo member Andreas Wenzel will be representing the EEA on the WEA IC meeting in May.
News on EEA21 Youth Minstry Network
What if we pooled our efforts and came up with a shared strategic plan for a nation? This was just one of a number of tough but exciting questions a small group of leaders of Europe-wide youth ministries and national youth ministry networks asked during a 36 hour retreat in March. We are now drafting a covenant to work together on a range of levels, from the most basic- to spam well of one another, to the most developed- whatever that might look like.
It is of course thrilling just to get key influencers, thinkers and leaders together in a room wrestling with the big question of how to reach and disciple as many young people for Christ as possible. But to leave the room with a commitment to making that happen is really wonderful.
More national networks of youth ministry are being established, with help from our good friends, One Hope. These include Italy and a number of Balkan nations. Belgium has just completed some research of its youth ministry ready for a strategic review hopefully in June.
And meanwhile some really good and fruitful youth ministry continues on the ground in Europe.
World Evang. Alliance Youth Comm. Exec. Chair
European EA Youth Adviser
Shining the spotlight on massage parlours
Do you look at massage parlours from the outside, wishing and praying you could do something to help those who work behind those doors? We all know that massage parlours often provide sexual services. So often, society turns a blind eye to the exploitation and to the obvious breaking of laws that may exist on prostitution. Because the trade is behind closed doors, it is less of a public nuisance than street prostitution. So intervention is rare.
EEA’s European Freedom Network wants to do something to start changing this situation. A few partners are taking the lead but Evangelical Alliances and others can help with some specific action points. Please keep reading. We need you.
Society tolerates massage parlours because they have no idea of the reality – the levels of compulsion, violence, abuse, financial exploitation, trafficking, organised crime involvement, money laundering etc. We can change this by publicising the reality. Can you find research about parlours in your nation by outreach NGOs, academics or under cover journalists? If research does not exist, can you persuade people (especially investigative journalists) to do this research?
There are many forms of massage (therapeutic or beauty) that are respectable and appropriate. Professional masseurs must hate the way the image of massage is spoilt by the sexual services provided in parlous. Belgian EFN partners are already talking to the National Massage Association as they consider launching a campaign to demand that no one can advertise themselves as masseurs without proper qualifications and licenses. Can you contact your nations’ professional massage associations, asking them if they are concerned and would like to claim back the word “massage” as a purely honourable and safe profession?
The police and local authorities tend to ignore massage parlours. But good and bad practice will exist; we need to promote the good. Can you ask what procedures the police, tax, and health & safety authorities use to investigate parlours?
EFN will provide specific advice and support to help you regarding any of these 3 actions. If you have never engaged in advocacy before, it does not matter. If you do want to get involved, please be in touch so that we can make sure activity is not duplicated.
Please contact Julia Doxat-Purser if you would like to explore joining this effort. firstname.lastname@example.org
A chance to meet
Many of us will be meeting in Dublin 9-10 May at the State of Europe Forum, the annual event arranged by the Schuman Centre for European Studies to provide a space for dialogue on Europe and the big issues it faces in the light of Christian values. The programme includes “Sustainable freedom & the European Future” (Os Guinness),”Recovering vision & values in Europe” (John Bruton) and Relationship Centred Economics (Tomas Sedlecek, Michael Scluter & Jonathan Tame). Christel Ngnambi and Julia Doxat-Purser will be leading a discussion on how we actually implement the vision of a civil public square (as laid out in the Global Charter of Conscience).
If you would like to attend, go to http://www.stateofeuropeforum.eu/ for details and register online. But do let Christel & Julia know if you are coming.
EQUIP. Building. Better. Together
Please pray for the European Freedom Network as it continues to grow in size and activity. EFN (an EEA initiated network on human trafficking and sexual exploitation) has continued to see partners share resources, needs and ideas and in particular
- Help vulnerable people escape to safety
- Do joint research and ongoing advocacy on massage parlours. (Why should society pretend that they are for legitimate massage?)
- Start a collaborative project which will eventually lead to testimonies of recovery from sexual exploitation being recorded and made available to women on the street
- Lay the foundations for our 2nd event, EQUIP.
EQUIP will take place 18-22 November 2013 in Limassol, Cyprus. It is for all EFN partners who want to enhance their skills and strengthen relationships so that, together, we build a better bridge to freedom. Topics include how to build networks, developing good practice for your ministry, advocacy skills, fund raising, the Swedish law on prostitution and latest ideas on Business as Mission.
Please pray that the right people come to EQUIP and for the ongoing work of EFN. Many EEA members are part of the network (and we hope you will come to EQUIP – look out for the publicity). If you would like to consider joining EFN and perhaps attending EQUIP, please contact Jennifer Roemhildt Tunehag email@example.com or Julia Doxat-Purser firstname.lastname@example.org
Impact through websites
the EA in Italy had 300 expressions of interest in the faith from non-Christians last year, through their website! And though the number was much smaller, the EA in Kosovo (KPEC) also had a number of those, several of whom ended up coming to their offices and talking about Jesus. What an encouragement for national EA’s!