What 2024 will bring us, none one can yet say. We pray it will bring resolution to conflict in Ukraine and Israel. We pray the many elections coming up across Europe and in America this year will result in more justice, compassion and seeking of the common good – despite current prospects.
Whatever challenges the year will bring, let’s not just sit passively. Let’s choose to be proactive. Here are some activities we have planned in the Schuman Centre over the coming months.
January 20, Cluj, Romania: Ukraine under fire – perspectives of hope.
Next weekend I will be sharing with some of the Ukrainian refugee community presently in Cluj, Romania, historical and biblical perspectives on the oppression their nation has been enduring these past two years – and much longer. This follows a session organised last May in Stockholm by Schuman associate Laura Mihaly who led a delegation of Ukrainian and Romanian young people to the State of Europe Forum in Sweden. More about this in next week’s Weekly Word.
February 20 – May 21, Amsterdam: Marriage Course – investing in each other.
In cooperation with the Noorderkerk in Amsterdam, Romkje and I will lead yet another seven-evening series of the Marriage Course developed by Nicki and Sila Lee of Holy Trinity Brompton, London. Marriage and family are both suffering in a society centred on expressive individualism. Those of us fortunate to be married need to take the time to invest in this keystone relationship of society. Each evening begins with a dinner together – no counselling, no group therapy, no airing of dirty laundry! Check out: https://themarriagecourse.org/find-a-course
February 21, March 6 & 20, Amsterdam: Bible and Culture series at the Noorderkerk.
Biblical illiteracy is undermining European culture everywhere. Ignorance of the book that has shaped our lives more than any other robs us of our cultural identity. How has the Bible shaped our art and music, education and scholarship, language and literature, science and technology, law and politics, human rights and ethics, plus many other areas of life? I will present this series for a Dutch audience, but plan an online series in English in the autumn.
February 26-29: The hybrid Heritage Tour of Ireland and Britain
Through this three-day historical sweep through Ireland and Britain, half through illustrated talks, and half on location, I will explain how the Gospel came to Ireland and Britain, transforming Irish and British cultures; how monasteries shaped cities & birthed universities; how the Reformation influenced politics & science; and how the Evangelical Revivals stirred Britain’s conscience. From our base in Holmsted Manor (near Gatwick airport), we will visit Canterbury and spend a day in London. Open for all, but spaces are limited. Interested? Write email@example.com.
March 15, Ede, Netherlands: Symposium on YWAM NL’s 50-year mission legacy
This full-day, Dutch-language symposium will reflect on the contribution YWAM has made in the Netherlands in its 50 years of operation since its foundation when Romkje returned from England enthused for youth missions by YWAMers she met there. Dr Evert Van de Poll saw the need for an academic and non-academic evaluation of YWAM’s influence on missions and church life, including worship, prayer, discipleship, holistic mission, urban mission and mission communities; plus the mobilisation of the X, Y and Z generations. The event is facilitated by MissieNederland (formerly the EA) and will be held in the Christian University of Applied Science (CHE) in Ede. See www.missienederland.nl/symposium.
April 4, 18, May 2, 16: Online learning community – Love Thy Body
Based on a Nancy Pearcey book, this series of four evening online sessions (a repeat of last year’s sessions) examines the influence of gnostic thinking in our society, including our churches, eroding our understanding of sex, gender, marriage, family, ethics, morals, abortion, euthanasia, personhood and humanity.
Topics include: • purposeful or purposeless bodies? • abortion and euthanasia; • schizoid sex, same-sex relations; • transgenderism and social implications. Further information forthcoming in weekly word.
May 9, Europe Day, Brussels: European Study Day 10:00-16.00
Europe Day, commemorates what I call ‘the defining moment of post-war Europe’, the day when Robert Schuman launched the process of European integration with a three-minute speech that has affected all Europeans – inside and outside the EU. I like to call it Interdependence Day, a day to celebrate being part of the European family of peoples, made possible through forgiveness and reconciliation, following Schuman’s example. Learn more about the central role of the Christian faith not only in the past-war period (afternoon session), but throughout the whole European story (morning session). You can reserve your place by writing to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 10, Brussels: Walk through the European Quarter 10.00-14:00
Last September I wrote about a walking tour through the European Quarter starting with the Schuman story, learning about the European institutions, the work of Christian lobby groups in Brussels, and finishing in the Parliamentarium, an interactive museum explaining the workings of the EU. Some have already indicated their interest. Reserve your place by writing to: email@example.com.
May 10 & 11, Brussels: The State of Europe Forum, Carmelite Church
As Belgium holds the presidency of the EU for these six months, Brussels is the location of this year’s State of Europe Forum with a public opening event on Friday evening (May 10) in the Carmelite Church, followed by the forum on Saturday (May 11) for registered participants reflecting on Europe today in the light of Schuman’s vision for a ‘community of peoples deeply rooted in Christian values’. The Anglican Bishop in Europe, the Rt. Revd. Doctor Robert Innes, will address the opening session. Information and registration will soon be made available on www.stateofeuropeforum.eu.
July/August:the Summer School of European Studies
At a location and on dates yet to be confirmed, our annual one-week summer school will offer historical, biblical and contemporary perspectives on Europe, the Christian faith and our secular and multi-religious society for students and pastoral and mission workers engaging in one of the most challenging mission fields in the world today. Lectures, tours, discussions and videos have made this an inspiring week for many participants over the past two decades. Watch for more information in weekly word.
All year: Masters degree programme in missional leadership and European Studies
To equip workers in church, missions and the public square to engage effectively with our fast changing society, we offer in partnership with ForMission College and Newman University a three-year masters degree course, with Bologna accreditation. Three intensives per year with assignments, online or in Amsterdam, are followed by a third-year dissertation. You can start the programme at three different entry points each year. See: https://www.schumancentre.eu/2023/12/ma-missional-leadership-and-european-studies/
On the 9th of each month: Schuman Talks with guests on issues facing Europeans today
Did you catch Florica’s encouraging story of God’s faithfulness through personal tragedy last Tuesday, January 9? If not, listen to it here.
On February 9, during Marriage Week leading up to Valentine’s Day on the 14th, I will talk with Richard Kane, founder of Marriage Week, about the importance of investing time in our marriages.
On March 9, the editorial team of Vista missions journal will be our guests talking on the rise of anti-democratic parties across Europe. What does this mean for our future?
Let’s not wait passively for the future to come to us. Our task as believers in prayerful, proactive engagement is to pull God’s future into the present.
Till next week,