There is a lot going on in Europe. Every day we hear and read news about economic and social challenges. Behind all these pressures Europe’s values like solidarity, freedom and integrity are challenged. But we have to say more. Behind that spiritual or rather Biblical values are challenged like: humility, love, justice and honouring the living God instead of today’s idols of security, money or nationality.
Together we pray and we work for the transformation of Europe. Not something that we have in our hands, but we trust a great God, Who will not abandon the work of His hands. Together we cry to Him, we are so dependant on Him. Together we work for the glory of His name and the welfare of our continent. Let us do it with joy and with endurance.
Happy reading, sincere greetings in our Lord.
Niek Tramper - General Secretary of European Evangelical Alliance.
Praise and prayer
- The very good meeting on Generosity at 20 April in the Netherlands.
- Management assistance at EEA office
- The preparations for General Assembly
- Preparations for the Week of Prayer 2013
- The European Students Forum in Brussels
- EEA staff and EXCO members – we have to work and pray hard to find the resources to be able to do our work.
General Assembly in Barcelona, 8 – 12 October.
Did you already fix the dates in your agenda?
The GA is a great opportunity to meet and share, to be encouraged by good speakers and to partake in specific trainings. We expect a number of young leaders again as well as pastors working in a cross-cultural setting.
Theme is ‘Loving our neighbour’. So the GA concentrates on the question to whom we should be good neighbours in our context. This question is not easy to answer because we have to think about our Roman Catholic, Orthodox neighbour, our secularized neighbour, our migrant neighbour, our Muslim neighbour, our Roma neighbour, our….
We expect several speakers including: Samuel Escobar, Pablo Martinez, Thomas and Christine Schirrmacher. Also Lee Behar (US), Evi Rodemann (Germany) will join in specific training sessions. Again we hope to welcome a number of brothers and sisters from Central Asia as well as (migrant) pastors working in a cross-cultural context.
Invitations and registration forms will be send this week. General Secretaries, please, also forward these to the people whom you want to be invited to the event.
We have a limited number of scholarships for participants from Central Asia, Central and Eastern Europe. You can ask for it by indicating that in your registration form.
In the previous Newsletter we introduced Tirza Kampert to you as the new staff member at the EEA office. Unfortunately she decided to resign after giving herself fully to the work for two months. I had to take a short time out because of over tiredness as well. My work as well as the work in the EEA office needs limitation and focus. We hope to continue with a revisited work plan (in consideration with EXCO). We are still searching for a new assistant to replace Tirza. Because of this preparations for GA as well as Newsletter have been retarded. Thank you for your prayers and patience. (Niek Tramper)
Week of Prayer 2013
The basic text for the preparation of the Week of Prayer 2013 has been sent to the National Evangelical Alliances last week. You will find it at EEA’s website here.
Central Focus Theme: ‘Walking with God in humility and joy’
Micah 6: 8 ‘He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’
The path of Christian discipleship involves walking the path of humility and joy, justice and mercy. The metaphor of ‘walking’ has been chosen to link together the 8 days of prayer because, as an active, intentional and ongoing act, ‘walking’ characterizes the dynamism of Christian discipleship.
Several national EA’s prefer to use the same (or a comparable) theme as is used by the national Council of Churches. Other EA’s do not prefer that. The leading text of course is very known within Evangelical Alliances because of the initiatives around Micah challenge. So the preparing committee and the General Secretary recommend this leading text and theme, which is roughly the same as has been chosen for the ecumenical week of prayer and unity in 2013 (that is organized usually in the 3rd week of January).
Vision 2020 – Fundamental Freedoms Project
Across our continent, our societies are straining with economic and social challenges. Evangelical Christians pray and work earnestly to offer hope in Jesus. But we also observe new forms of religious intolerance, directed at religious minorities. Sometimes this is mainly due to aggressive secularism, at other times, it is the forces of conservatism that are behind the intolerance. Either way, politicians seem to be struggling to accept and to handle the diversity of worldviews and faiths that exist and will continue to do so.
Many of you will have heard Os Guinness speaking at our General Assembly last year. EEA staff and the Public Policy Authorisation team have continued to reflect with him on what vision for society we should be promoting which people of all faiths and none might be willing to support. What will maximise freedom and justice for all? What will enable us all to carry on believing and often living differently while being a cohesive, safe and fair society? What will protect everyone’s ability to share the Gospel in word and deed, in private and in public?
We believe that the answer is a civil public square with respectful co-existence of people of different faiths and worldviews and peaceful resolutions of clashes of rights. Civility is Jesus’ way, He is the suffering servant, giving dignity and respect to all, as is clear in EEA’s socio-political approach.
Pablo Martinez of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance has, once again, kindly acted as our theological advisor and developed a biblical basis specifically focused on a civil public square. EEA’s Public Policy Authorisation Team has approved the paper and a summary which you will find with many other resources at http://www.europeanea.org/news.html
Can I urge you to read the full document as well as rereading EEA’s socio-political approach? Please pray and discuss these with your colleagues. If you want to explore these ideas further and consider promoting them in your nations, we would love to work more closely with you.
Uniting & Strengthening Religious Liberty Efforts – The European Religious Liberty Forum.
By Julia Doxat-Purser, EEA’s Religious Liberty Coordinator
2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the European Religious Liberty Forum (ERLF), the annual meeting place for Europe’s Christian Religious Liberty Forum, chaired by EEA and Advocates Europe. This unique event brings together friends from across the continent as equals and look at the problems of East and West with equal seriousness. Lawyers, political campaigners, researchers, journalists, Evangelical Alliance representatives and the persecuted meet around one table in a confidential setting to discuss religious liberty developments and how we can respond wisely to them.
Fruit from ERLF include strategic partnerships to assist Belarus, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Trust and relationships nurtured at the Forum have allowed ongoing, regular collaboration and information sharing. Joint legal and political work has become easier at the European Union, OSCE, Council of Europe and European Court of Human Rights. We also place an emphasis on prayer and encouragement, especially on nurturing younger religious liberty professionals.
EEA plays a lead role in designing and chairing ERLF, and facilitating ongoing communication. This is much appreciated from the friends who attend, including from Alliance Defense Fund, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, European Baptist Federation, European Centre for Law & Justice, Forum 18, Open Doors International, Evangelical Alliances and the Ukrainian Christian Lawyers’ Association. We were thrilled to have new friends from the French, Italian and Spanish Evangelical Alliances with us this year.
There is a strong desire and need for ERLF to continue, especially as we observe many changes in religious liberty situations across the continent. There are worrying signs but also new opportunities to influence opinion formers. So please pray that EEA will have the finances to ensure that ERLF can continue to flourish.
“The European Religious Liberty Forum (ERLF) is important for both organisational and individual reasons: through organisational coordination we can make a difference and create synergies and through individual contacts and friendships we can build relationships across national borders which will help to further our cause. ERLF is unique in nature in that it provides a space for learning and sharing for stakeholders coming from a wide range of countries in a joint objective to promote this fundamental right and freedom in Europe and beyond”
Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Good News People
Serving the Lord in Politics? Economics? Media? Law? The European Student Forum, Brussels, 22-28 September 2012.
Once again, EEA and IFES are delighted to be organising a fantastic week of participative learning for students and young graduates who feel the Lord is calling them to serve society in the public arena.
Many of our alumni are to be found in European and national political administrations, major NGOs, newspapers and law firms across the continent.
Can you help us promote this opportunity? Go to www.studentforum.ifeseurope.org to find out more. Young people need to register by 25th June.
And please pray for all the preparations and also the finances to come together.
Effectively Communicating our Christian Views
You can read Kris Vleugel’s paper on ‘How to Communicate Our Christian Views Effectively’ also on EEA website. It gives practical ideas to consider and examples of excellence to inspire. We hope you can use it to help your members to speak the Truth both clearly and effectively and to live the Truth as well. Read and share the paper wit other! See: http://www.europeanea.org/news.html
Generosity Network in Europe
At 20 April around 20 leaders from different parts of Europe came together to think and pray about the theme of Generosity in Europe, organized by Generosity Network (led by dr. Sas Conradi, Crown Ministries and EEA). It was a very inspiring meeting. An European discussion network has been established. We hope to bring results and further recommendations at the General Assembly
European Leadership Forum in Eger (Hungary)
From 19 – 24 May the European Leadership Forum will take place in Eger, Hungary again. It is a major and significant congress bringing together people from the whole of Europe and US. Many EA representatives will attend. ELF has excellent leadership training programmes and also supports national initiatives for example in apologetic meetings. Go to the website www.euroleadership.org to see what ELF is doing or to go for a last minute application!
EEMA Central and Eastern European Mission Forum in Ukraine
We continue to build a good relationship with the EEMA. For this year EEMA is not able to join in the EEA General Assembly or to plan meetings there. The EEMA is running its third conference bringing together leaders from new mission movements in Central and Eastern Europe in Lviv, Ukraine, 18-22 September 2012. Entitled Church and Agencies in partnership. If you want to participate mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
The EEMA has strong sub-networks such as European Member Care, but little administrative support. EEMA is therefore delighted to announce that Tim Herbert will be able to take up a voluntary post for 2 days each month to provide administrative support.
A functional Description of an Evangelical Alliance!
If your Evangelical Alliance was given a ‘job description’ what would it like?
See the link below, leading you to the WEA website
|A Functional Description of an Evangelical Alliance|
More news to encourage you to pray
On 26th May, many of us will be watching the Eurovision Song Contest live from Baku. Can we turn this into an opportunity for prayer &/or awareness raising about the deteriorating religious freedom situation in Azerbaijan? Christer Daelander of the European Baptist Federation would like to encourage us to encourage our churches to host Eurovision events with something more serious before the singing begins. Can churches pray? Can they invite the wider community to come along and find out about the situation Christians face? Forum 18 has just published an excellent report at http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1690 with all the info they would need. Could you spread the word? Meanwhile, please keep praying for Azeri Christians. The pressure is increasing as non-registered religious activity is illegal. (Registration is almost impossible).
After the elections Greece has become the centre of the news in the Eurozone. At the moment it is completely uncertain what will happen. Many Greeks lost their job. Pray for social stability, wisdom for the politicians as they negotiate with European political leaders. Pray for Gods help and strength for the churches, for our brothers and sisters who do what they can to help in the social and economic crisis, but who are affected greatly by the crisis.
International Leadership Forum in Estonia
From July 27-29 2012, Agape Europe will hold an International Forum on Prayer and Transformation in connection with Heartbeat Tallinn (July 24-29) and Christ Day. Key leaders of nations will be given the opportunity to be inspired in order to initiate similar movements of prayer, evangelism and transformation in their own countries. Hanspeter Nüesch writes:
‘Please use this historic opportunity and invite key leaders of your country to attend the International Leadership Forum. We ask you to contact the people whom God has burdened for their countries and send the attached invitation letter with the program to them. If you prefer us to send the invitation letter to them directly, please tell us and give us their Email addresses.’
Switzerland, change of leadership
Recently Hansjörg Leutwyler said farewell to the Swiss EA after13 years of involvement within the Alliance. Hansjörg said: ‘It was a great time and I continue to be very convinced of the great evangelistic potential it has, when believers together live a trustworthy and visible walk with Christ.’ His successors will be Matthias Spiess (church) and Marc Jost (society).
Religious Freedom versus Equality in UK
There are 2 important cases being considered by the European Court of Human Rights this year that really need prayer. If either case is lost, the consequences could be significant.
- Eweida & Chaplin versus the UK. These 2 ladies were prevented from wearing cross necklaces at work. The case acts as a precedent concerning the right to express one’s faith at work.
- Ladele & MacFarlane versus the UK . These 2 people lost their jobs because of their views on homosexuality. The case acts as a precedent concerning the clash between religious freedom rights & non-discrimination rights.