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Politics and Society

2021 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.

 

NETWORK LEADERS

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.

 

NETWORK SPEAKERS

Andrew Fellows was appointed pastor of a church in Bradford, West Yorkshire in 1988 and served there for seven years.  In 1995 his family moved to the English branch of L’Abri Fellowship, where they lived and worked for 21 years.  From 2011 to 2016 Andrew was the chairman of L’Abri international.  He is now based in Cambridge as the director of Christian Heritage.  He has a special interest in reaching skeptics and encouraging followers of Christ to develop the life of the mind so it includes the whole gospel to the whole world with all of its implications. Andrew is married to Helen. They have four children.

 

Stefan Gustavsson is a member of the European Leadership Forum Steering Committee. He is the director for Apologia – Centre for Christian Apologetics and makes his home in Stockholm. He was the founding General Secretary for 16 years of 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 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).

 

Alice Neffe is a civil servant in the Polish Administration, which she joined as Deputy Director of the Department of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Health shortly before the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this capacity she has been responsible for elaborating, conducting, and coordinating anti-COVID-19 measures with a European dimension. Previous to that she was a legal counsel advocating for religious freedom at the European Union for ADF International in Belgium, a faith-based legal advocacy organization that protects fundamental freedoms and promotes the inherent dignity of all people. Neffe also worked in academic research in Helsinki, Finland, where she developed academic cooperation on Chinese law internationally. Neffe earned her LLM in International and Comparative Law from the University of Helsinki and obtained a Master’s degree in International Law from Panthéon-Sorbonne University (Paris 1).

 

Daniel Strange is college director and tutor in culture, religion, and public theology at Oak Hill College, London. He is also a faculty and board member of Crosslands, an in-context theological training initiative created by Oak Hill and Acts 29, and serves as a Trustee of Tyndale House, Cambridge. Dr Strange is a Contributing Editor for Themelios and serves as an elder at East Finchley Baptist Church, which is part of the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches (FIEC). His book, Their Rock is Not Like Our Rock: A Theology of Religions (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), received an Award of Merit for Theology/Ethics in the Christianity Today 2016 Book Awards. His most recent book is Plugged In: Connecting Your Faith with What You Watch, Read, and Play (London: Good Book, 2019).

 

Sergiy Tymchenko founded and directs REALIS Christian Center in Kiev, Ukraine. He is also part of the leadership team of Spring of Hope, a church he helped to plant back in 1997. Sergiy has taught at Donetsk Christian University, the Eastern-European Seminary for the Education of Leaders, and National Pedagogical Dragomanov University in Ukraine. He studied at Denver Seminary before getting his Ph.D. degree at London School of Theology in the area of Sociopolitical Ethics. He and his wife,​ Irina,​ have four adult children.

 

John Wyatt is professor emeritus of Neonatal Paediatrics, Ethics, and Perinatology at University College London and a senior researcher at the Faraday Institute, Cambridge. His background is as a clinician and researcher in applied neuroscience. He has a long-standing interest in the ethical and social implications of advances in biomedical and information technology. He co-led a multidisciplinary research project into the social, ethical, and philosophical implications of advances in artificial intelligence and robotics technology, based at the Faraday Institute, Cambridge. His book Matters of Life and Death: Human Dilemmas in the Light of the Christian Faith has been translated into more than 10 languages.

 

NETWORK PROGRAMME

DAY 1

Human Dignity from a Biblical Perspective

Andrew Fellows

It could be argued that the greatest ‘discovery’ of the West is the inherent value and dignity of every human person.  What few appreciate today is that this discovery is rooted in the Bible.  As our Secular Age loses coherence over what it means to be human, it is essential that we are clear on the superior account revealed to us by our Maker.

 

The Development of Dignity

Daniel Strange

What is at the heart of all political discussions? What do governments have to assume in order to establish their parties? In this talk we will survey how the Christian doctrine of human dignity has developed in the history of Western thought and its current status in the contemporary public square. 


DAY 2

How Should the Church Think About the State?

David Mcllroy

Secular analyses of Church-State relations often start with the State and then discuss to what extent the State should permit the Church to have a role in society. As Christians, our thinking begins with the mission of God, and then looks at the callings of the Church and government to serve God. This places limits on the authority of governments and gives Christians a mandate to stand up to governments which abuse their authority.

 

The Theological and Practical Perspective on Civil Disobedience

Sergiy Tymchenko

How can we recognize a situation where obedience to human beings means disobedience to God (Acts 5:29)? How does civil disobedience correlate with Biblical direction to honor human authorities? In this talk, Sergiy Tymchenko will share his thoughts and experience on how Christians can be agents of love and peace even when they decide that the only way they can be faithful to truth is to take the route of civil disobedience.


DAY 3

Session to Be Announced

Stefan Gustavsson

 

Artificial Intelligence, Digital Technology, and Human Dignity 

John Wyatt

How are rapid advances in technology changing our understanding of what it means to be human? How can we defend the essential dignity and rights of human beings in a world of invasive digital surveillance, disinformation, and covert manipulation?



DAY 4

Human Dignity Defined by Policy Choices During Pandemic

Alice Neffe

Any crisis has an impact on politics and the ability to (re)define even the most fundamental concepts. The WWII and totalitarian atrocities shaped our understanding of human dignity in opposition to dehumanising violence. Since the 60’s, societal and technological shifts have recentred the debates on equality resulting from human dignity. Today, we are currently in the midst of a major health crisis, which takes lives, impacts the economy, and is changing our way of life. Policy choices made by European political leaders in response to the pandemic can provide some perspective on the meaning of human dignity. Ultimately, they are all standing in front of very basic questions: “Shall we sacrifice the health or life of a few to save many?” or “Shall we risk actual lives to avoid economic crisis potentially impacting future lives?”.

 

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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