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2022 Politics and Society Network

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    Politics and Society
Equipping leaders to influence society through a Christian worldview

The European Politics and Society Network is designed to teach key Christian political, legal, and social leaders how to be salt and light through effectively communicating Christ’s character in their respective contexts. Applicants should be those who are working in the areas of politics, law, campaigning, or community action. Both seasoned lawyers, activists, and campaigners and aspirants will benefit from the input of leading thinkers and practitioners. Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.

Applicants should be those who are working in areas of politics, campaigning, or community action. Both seasoned campaigners and aspirant politicians will benefit from the input of leading thinkers and practitioners.

Network Leadership

Nola Leach served as the former Chief Executive of CARE (Christian Action Research & Education), one of Europe’s leading Christian charities, which provides resources and helps bring Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy and practical caring initiatives. CARE undertakes a variety of social caring and educational programmes and research and is represented in the UK Parliaments and Assemblies. As the Head of the Public Affairs team, Nola led campaigns on topics such as human trafficking, Internet pornography, and the value of human life from its beginning to natural end. She oversaw the publication of Living Free, a sequel to the CARE book Searching for Intimacy – a resource designed to help those trapped in the net of Internet pornography. She has a passion for developing Christian leaders and heads up CARE’s unique Leadership Programme. She is increasingly in demand as both a writer and a public speaker, has penned numerous articles, and regularly appears in the media.

Charlie Hoare received his Bachelor's degree in History at the University of Durham. After a year of working for a British Member of Parliament, he studied law before taking a Masters degree at the London School of Economics in social policy and non-profit management. From 1998-2012 he was CARE’s International Director. For the past year he has acted as a consultant focusing on International work. In addition to representing CARE at the United Nations, he has helped establish a strategic global network of policy makers, academics, politicians, and diplomats at the national and regional levels. He is married to Eleanor; they have a son and two daughters.

Roxana Stanciu serves as the Chief Operating Officer of CARE (Christian Action, Research and Education) in London. CARE’s vision is to see a society that has a greater regard for human dignity and increasingly reflects God’s grace and truth through public policy, media, and local practical involvement with vulnerable people. The organisation works on issues in relation to family, life, and justice, and is represented in the UK Parliaments and Assemblies.  Previous to working for CARE, Roxana was the Executive Director of European Dignity Watch, a Brussels-based organisation focused on informing and educating stakeholders in Europe to make a difference in the public square.  Roxana is originally from Romania and is very passionate about encouraging and equipping Christians to promote their values and be agents for social justice.

Network Speakers

Ralf Bergmann, born in 1962, is married and has three adult children, two children in-law and one grandchild. He received his degree in physics and a doctorate from German universities. He was involved in several areas of applied physics at several research institutions in Germany and Australia and has also worked in industrial research. Since 2008 he is a professor and head of a research institute working on optical technologies and optoelectronics. Beyond his research, he is interested in defending the reasonability of Christian faith, especially in the border triangle of physics, philosophy, and theology as well as the relevance of Christian faith for modern western society. In 2019, he wrote the book Gott und die Erklärung der Welt (God and the Explanation of the World) and in 2021 he wrote Die freie Gesellschaft und ihre Feinde (The Free Society and Its Enemies), in remembrance of Karl Popper's famous book The Open Society and Its Enemies and the work of Francis Schaeffer.

Ralf Bergmann is, amongst other organisations, a member of the Leadership team of the German Professorenforum, and is a founding member of the “Netzwerk Wissenschaftsfreiheit” (Network for the Freedom of Science) with members in all European German-speaking countries. He is also active as a speaker at national and international occasions and is a predicant within the protestant church.

Per Ewert is the director of The Clapham Institute, Sweden’s leading Christian think tank and research institute. This summer, he will defend his PhD thesis about the political process which shaped Sweden into what is arguably the most secular and individualistic nation in the world. Per is the author of several books on apologetics, relations, and the role of faith in society. He also writes weekly editorials in one of Sweden's Christian dailies. He lives with wife and four children in southern Sweden.

Stefan is the director for Apologia – Centre for Christian Apologetics and makes his home in Stockholm. He was the founding General Secretary for the Swedish Evangelical Alliance. Stefan travels widely with apologetic teaching and training and is often involved in university evangelism and public debates. He is the author of several books on Christian apologetics and the Christian mind. Stefan is married to Ingrid and they have three grown children.

David Hilborn is Principal of Moorlands College, UK. Moorlands is an interdenominational evangelical college based near Christchurch in Dorset, with regional training centres in Birmingham, Devon and Belfast. He was previously Principal of St Johns College, Nottingham and Assistant Dean of St Mellitus College. Before that he was Head of Theology at the Evangelical Alliance UK for nine years, also serving on the Executive of the World Evangelical Alliance Theological Commission. David is an ordained Anglican minister and was a member of the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission from 2006-2016. He currently chairs the Evangelical Alliance’s Theological Advisory Group. He is a graduate of the Universities of Nottingham (BA, PhD) and Oxford (MA), and has led or served on the ministry teams of five local churches. He has authored or edited several books, including Picking Up the Pieces (Hodder), The Nature of Hell, ‘Toronto in Perspective, One Body in Christ, Movement for Change (Paternoster) and The Atonement Debate (Zondervan). David is a Londoner by birth and is married to Mia, a senior hospital chaplain. They have two grown-up children. He loves cricket and enjoys a wide range of music.

Charlie Hoare received his Bachelor's degree in History at the University of Durham. After a year of working for a British Member of Parliament, he studied law before taking a Masters degree at the London School of Economics in social policy and non-profit management. From 1998-2012 he was CARE’s International Director. For the past year he has acted as a consultant focusing on International work. In addition to representing CARE at the United Nations, he has helped establish a strategic global network of policy makers, academics, politicians, and diplomats at the national and regional levels. He is married to Eleanor; they have a son and two daughters.

Nola Leach served as the former Chief Executive of CARE (Christian Action Research & Education), one of Europe’s leading Christian charities, which provides resources and helps bring Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy and practical caring initiatives. CARE undertakes a variety of social caring and educational programmes and research and is represented in the UK Parliaments and Assemblies. As the Head of the Public Affairs team, Nola led campaigns on topics such as human trafficking, Internet pornography, and the value of human life from its beginning to natural end. She oversaw the publication of Living Free, a sequel to the CARE book Searching for Intimacy – a resource designed to help those trapped in the net of Internet pornography. She has a passion for developing Christian leaders and heads up CARE’s unique Leadership Programme. She is increasingly in demand as both a writer and a public speaker, has penned numerous articles, and regularly appears in the media.

Peter Saunders was born in New Zealand and originally trained as a general surgeon before serving with the Africa Inland Mission in Kenya and completing two years’ mission training at All Nations Christian College in the UK. From 1992 to 2018 he served full-time with Christian Medical Fellowship, a UK-based organisation with 4,500 UK doctors and 1,000 medical students as members, first as Head of Student Ministries, and from 1999 as Chief Executive. From 2006 to 2018 he also served as Campaign Director of the Care Not Killing Alliance, a coalition of over 40 organisations in the UK promoting palliative care and opposing euthanasia. Since January 2019 he has been CEO of the ICMDA (International Christian Medical and Dental Association) which brings together national associations of doctors and dentists in over 80 countries worldwide. His work has involved leadership training, teaching evangelism and ethics, medical mission, writing, editing, and media work. His wife Kirsty is a retired community paediatrician and they have three sons, Christopher, Benjamin and Jonathan, and one grandson. They are members of Spicer Street Church, St Albans. www.icmda.nethttp://pjsaunders.blogspot.com/

Network Programme

Sunday, 22 May

This session provides participants an opportunity to explore their experiences with polarization, fragmentation, and hostility and how the idea of a free society is understood in their countries. This group activity will equip participants to better understand their contexts and thus respond to discover their personal part in helping to overcome polarization with intellectual leadership, truth, and love.

Monday, 23 May

The focus of liberal and radical campaigning within and beyond the church has critically shifted of late, from recognition of gay male and lesbian partnerships to the much broader canvas of Queer Theory and Queer Theology. This session will explore the development of Queer Theory, its adaptation into Queer Theology, and how queer theological ideas are entering church discourse around LGBT+ issues. In particular, it will show how these ideas are characterised by a more general shift of focus from creation to eschatology, and how classic Evangelicals will need to marshal counter-arguments in favour of biblical marriage and sexual chastity accordingly.

How do we successfully address the LGBTQ/Pride movement in the public arena without being rejected as homophobic or facing similar accusations? Based on the example from The Clapham Institute’s report “The Colourful Darkness”, Per Ewert gives practical examples on how to uncover the deeply troubling content and agenda of the Pride movement. This session gives advice on which attitudes and way of reasoning work well and what ought to be avoided. Properly handled, opinion-making about this issue can reveal much-needed information and can impact a nation.

Tuesday, 24 May

This session will help you understand the non-Christian mindset and confidently communicate the Gospel in the way the Apostles did it – in understandable language, in a safe place, and with the opportunity for discussion. We will focus on understanding the basic worldview categories, determining a person’s worldview, and what is distinctive about Christian theism in contrast.

How can we confidently communicate the Gospel? In this session, we will seek to understand the apostles’ strategy, address our fears, identify common questions, and develop the three main lines of argument for Christianity and how best to share them.

Wednesday, 25 May

Drawing on his own experience as the Director for Apologia – Centre for Christian Apologetics and the founding General Secretary for the Swedish Evangelical Alliance, Stefan Gustavsson will lead an open discussion addressing the tools we need to engage well in the public square. This session will equip participants with the best points of entry into public conversations, arguments to use (and not use), and the right type of language and tone to employ.

There is no area in the realm of politics and society into which our Christian faith does not speak. Across this Network, participants have grappled with considerable issues of our day and sought to understand how we as Christians can best stand for the Lord and help His Church shine as a light for hope and truth. This session will bring together the key points that have emerged across the four days with opportunities for participants to express their take-home points.