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Politics and Society

Detailed information about the 2021 Forum is not yet available but will be posted in the future. Please review the information from the 2020 Forum for a look at the quality of instructors, teaching, and content that will be available in the 2021 Forum's Networks. 

2020 European Politics and Society Network

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. This Network will be led by Nola Leach and Charlie Hoare. Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.



Nola Leach is a co-leader of the European Politics and Society Network and serves as the 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 Head of the Public Affairs team, Nola leads campaigns on topics such as human trafficking, Internet pornography, and the value of human life from its beginning to natural end. She has overseen 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 is a co-leader of the European Politics and Society Network. He 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 is a co-leader of the European Politics and Society Network and 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.



Andrew Bunnell is a dual American-British citizen, working in a PhD program at the University of Washington. His research is focused on transnational religion and security, with post-Soviet Russia as the primary frame. In addition to his academic work, Andrew has been involved in global missions and human rights advocacy for twenty years, serving in Russian speaking countries, the Middle East, and London.  He is currently the General Director Designate for Biblical Ministries Worldwide, an international mission agency in Atlanta, Georgia.  Andrew is married to his childhood sweetheart, Sarah, and they have three children: Joseph, Jackson, and Elizabeth.


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, Torquay and Gloucester. He was previously Principal of St John’s 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.


Driton Krasniqi has served for two mandates in the position of the president of the Kosova Protestant Evangelical Church (KPEC). As a representative of the Kosova Protestant Evangelical Church, he has made significant contributions to peace-building and inter-faith dialogue in Kosovo and beyond. He obtained a degree in Biblical Studies from the International Bible Training Institute (UK) and a Master of Theology (MTh) from the University of Wales in Bangor, where he wrote his dissertation on the history of Protestantism in Kosovo since the 18th century. Currently he’s enrolled in doctorate studies (DMin) with the School of Antioch in Ames, Iowa, USA. Krasniqi served as pastor of the Fellowship of the Lord’s People Church in Prishtina, Kosova from 1997 to 2007. He has been in leadership or advisory roles for several charities, including the Kosovar-Finnish partnership House of Hope Foundation, the international NGO World Vision International, and the Kosova NGO coalition, etc. Currently he’s working as the national director of Scripture Union Kosova. Some of the international publications include articles and researches in relation to the Protestantism among Albanians in particular and Eastern Europe in general. He’s married to Halide Krasniqi and they have three children.


David McIlroy is a practising barrister based in London in the UK. He serves on the editorial board of Law & Justice, teaches the Mission of Justice and the Theology of Law course at Spurgeon’s College, and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Notre Dame (USA) in England. He is convinced that justice matters enormously to God and He wants Christians to work hard to see justice done more and more in situations around the world. Through his books (A Biblical View of Law and Justice, A Trinitarian Theology of Law, The End of Law) and many articles, David seeks to deepen people’s reflections on justice and to inspire others to take up the challenge of acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God (Micah 6:8).


Päivi Räsänen is a medical doctor and has been a Member of the Finnish Parliament since 1995. She is the chair of the Christian Democratic Parliamentary Group. From 2004 to 2015, she was the chairwoman of the Finnish Christian Democrats. From June 2011 to May 2015, she was the Minister of the Interior of Finland. Currently, she is Member of the Audit Committee, Member of the Intelligence Supervision Committee, Deputy Member of the Administration Committee, and Deputy Member of the Agriculture and Forestry Committee. She is married to a pastor, and they have five grown-up children and six grandchildren. She is also a member of a City Council and has written several books from a Christian perspective on marriage, abortion, and euthanasia. At the moment Päivi is under two police investigations, primarily for quoting the Bible in a tweet and for a 16-year old pamphlet.


Veronika Šumová is currently working for the European Commission as Information and Communication Officer. She leads communication campaigns related to the EU Internal Market as well as support available to small companies and startups in the EU. She has more than 11 years of experience on communications and social media and has managed several major international communication campaigns (28 countries/24 languages). She is very passionate about relational evangelism, discipleship, young professionals and the connection between faith and work.


Françoise Thonet is a Senior Judge at the Court of Appeal in Mons, Belgium, specializing in environmental matters and humanitarian law. She has been President of the Court since 2019. She is committed to mission work through studying theology at the Vaux Sur Seine Evangelical College, France and membership of the board of Portes Ouvertes (Open Doors) France and Belgium as Vice-President (PO France) and President (PO Belgium). She is also a member of the International Baptist Church of Brussels since 2005 and prayer ministry leader since 2008. She has a passion for mission work, church planting and mission theology, as well as promoting justice for Christians who are discriminated against.




Enlightened Evangelicals: The Subversive Architects of Freedom of Religion and Belief

Andrew Bunell

Two hundred years ago, powerful Enlightenment-influenced politicians joined forces with Evangelical preachers around a unique sort of providentialism.  Their political movement won an exceptional version of both religious and civil liberty.  The instrumental role of Evangelicals in this struggle has urgent relevance for the contemporary world and Gospel proclamation, but sadly, it has been isolated, forgotten, or misunderstood by people on all sides of the theological/political spectrum. The ideas behind the unique alliance presented in this talk are more than just a fresh way to frame the historical picture of freedom of religion and belief. As a global philosophy, this ideological alliance has had a profound role in shaping contemporary concepts of religion, state, and society.


The Independent Review of the British Foreign Ministry Support for Persecuted Christians

Charlie Hoare

The Independent Review was commissioned by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and has delivered its Report at the end of June 2019 with 22 Recommendations. These were accepted in full by the Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister Teresa May. They have also been accepted by the new Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary. Charlie Hoare will begin by highlighting some of the key recommendations and then discuss the ongoing implementation process and identify what future action is needed to ensure that governments do more to support persecuted Christians.


Know Your Rights: Defending Freedom of Religion and Free Speech

Paivi Rasanen

Freedom of religion and the right to free speech are strongly guaranteed in the International Human Right Treaties. A major threat to these freedoms and rights is that Christians are intimidated not to use them and to speak according to their faith. Päivi Räsänen, a Member of the Parliament of Finland, is under two police investigations, primarily for quoting the Bible in a tweet and for a 16-year old pamphlet. In both cases, the criminal offence she is suspected of is agitation against a group. Her case is a precedent. The Christian view of man is currently attacked in the West, whether we think of questions relating to marriage, gender, the protection of life, etc. Päivi wants to encourage people to use their freedom of religion and the right to free speech, and publicly speak about the teachings of God’s Word.


Freedom of Religion in Western Europe

David Mcllroy

Unlike the USA, Western Europe has forgotten that freedom of religion is the first freedom. While there is good protection for freedom of association and freedom of worship, freedom to evangelise and freedom to manifest one’s beliefs are under pressure. There are both social and legal challenges to freedom of speech. Kant’s contrast between reason and faith results in religion being restricted to private spaces.


Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion and the European Court of Human Rights

Françoise Thonet

How much religious freedom do we have in Europe today? Looking at jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights can reveal a side of Europe that some choose to overlook. There are cases regarding the veil, the burqa, and the freedom to wear religious symbols in public, but also cases of Christians being accused of infringing anti-discrimination laws, which threaten the right to religious freedom. It seems that the scope of freedom of religion is wider than Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This session will consider the different aspects of religious freedom in Europe today.


Religious Freedom in Eastern Europe

Driton Krasniqi

In Eastern Europe, there are three dominant religions: Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Islam. Protestant denominations are present in all of the countries of Eastern Europe. Nations on this side of the continent are divided by their religious ethnicity, which means that sometimes it is difficult for other minority religions to organize. In recent years more efforts have been made by the international community for tolerance, inclusion, and cooperation between all religions. In this presentation we will show some of the progress made as far as religious freedom is concerned.


The Role of Social Media in Influencing Policy and Culture

Veronika Šumová

We live in an era where digital communication has a huge role in shaping policy and culture. In this session we will explore the significant influence of social media in these areas, while also analysing the connection between social media and religious freedom. What are the challenges that Christians face in terms of digital communications? What are the opportunities that they have in using social media? The aim of this session is to provide answers to these questions and to stir reflection and good conversations.


Freedom, Religious Liberty, and The Church

Revd Dr. David Hilborn

Judaism and Christianity have a key role in shaping key concepts of personal, religious, and political freedom – concepts that are too often assumed nowadays to be secular in origin. Yet whereas these motifs were rooted in profoundly communal commitments to church and godly society, certain Enlightenment philosophies promoted a ‘turn to the subject’ which bred greater individualism, and which came increasingly to present individual freedom as freedom from belief in God and from the Church and its moral teaching. This session will provide an in-depth analysis of the divergence of ‘freedom’ from its biblical roots and will examine how that divergence now threatens liberties hard-won by Christians over the centuries.


Where Do We Go from Here? Painting a Better Picture

Nola Leach and Charlie Hoare

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 from across the four days with opportunities for participants to express their take-home points.

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