Politics and Society

2015 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. The four Network sessions are broken into three parts: a lecture from a leading Christian in public life, multi-disciplinary interactive groups, and two specialist sub-networks in the fields of Politics and Law. Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.

A required introductory session for first-time attendees of the Network will take place prior to the start of the Forum on Saturday, 30th May, 16:00-17:00.  




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. It is represented in the UK Parliaments and Assemblies, at the EU in Brussels, and at the UN in Geneva and New York. As Head of the Public Affairs team, she 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 is increasingly in demand as both a writer and public speaker. She 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.




Michael Cromartie is Vice President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he directs both the Evangelicals in Civic Life and Faith Angle Forum programs. His area of expertise includes issues at the cross-section of religion and politics.  Michael is the editor of fifteen books, including Religion and Politics in AmericaReligion, Culture, and International Conflict; and A Public Faith: Evangelicals and Civic Engagement. A senior advisor to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and a senior fellow with The Trinity Forum, he is also an advisory editor of Christianity Today magazine. Michael was appointed by President George W. Bush to a six-year term on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, where he was later twice elected chairman. Mr. Cromartie is a graduate of Covenant College (GA), and holds an MA in Justice from The American University in Washington, DC.


Vedran Đulabić, received his PhD in public law and public administration, and is currently an assistant professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb. Vedran is also Executive Secretary of the Evangelical Pentecostal Union in Croatia. He is actively involved in public debates, lectures and other events on various topics in Croatia, both as an academic and a Christian leader. He is married to Ines and they have a daughter, Lea. They live in Zagreb, Croatia.


Valeriu Ghiletchi is a member of the Moldovan Parliament and former Bishop of the Union of Christian Evangelical Baptist Churches of Moldova. Valeriu received degrees from the College of Polytechnics, Moldova, and the Institute of Electrotechnics in Ukraine before obtaining a Bachelor of Divinity at the University of Cluj in Romania. Since 2010, he has been a member of the Moldovan delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) where he was elected First Vice Chairperson of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development in 2012. As a member of PACE, he was the rapporteur on Fighting ‘Child Sex Tourism’ and member of the Parliamentary Network of Contact Parliamentarians to stop sexual violence against children for Moldova. Valeriu is married and has 3 children.


John Abraham Godson was elected to become a Member of the Polish Parliament in 2010 after having been a member of the Łódź City council from 2007. John was born in Nigeria and received his first degree from Abia State University in 1992 in Agronomy. Following on from this he gained degrees in Human Resource Management and Development from Trinity College and Seminary in Newburgh, Indiana in 2003 and International relations from the Łódź Academy of International Studies 2008. John has also finished two doctorate studies; political science from the University of Warsaw in 2011 and Management from the University of Łódź in 2012. He was a senior lecturer at the Technical University of Szczecin (1993–97) and at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań and is the president of the African Institute in Poland. John is a former minister in the Polish Charismatic Church of God in Christ and is married with 4 children, living in the city of Łódź.


Timothy Laurence is Public Theology Associate and London Chairman of the UK Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship. In this capacity Tim arranged, contributed to, and edited “Good News for the Public Square” – a collection of London-based lectures for Christian lawyers giving a Biblical framework for Christian engagement in law and government. An Oxford graduate and a former banking regulation lawyer at international firm Hogan Lovells, Timothy is now engaged full time in theological studies at London Theological Seminary.


Dave Landrum is the Director of Advocacy at the UK Evangelical Alliance. He is responsible for theology, media, research and public policy, overseeing a team based in the national parliaments of the UK. He received his PhD in policy-making in education with a thesis on politics and the citizenship curriculum. He previously worked in the Houses of Parliament for over a decade developing Bible advocacy. He is a frequent contributor in the national media on a range of political issues, and has an interest in the development of a culture of public leadership in the UK church.


David McIlroy is a practising barrister based in London in the UK. He holds Master’s degrees in Law from the Universities of Cambridge, UK, and Toulouse, France, and a PhD in the Theology of Law from Spurgeon’s College, University of Wales. David 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 a Visiting Senior Lecturer in Banking Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. 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) 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).


Henk Reitsema is a member of the staff at Dutch L’Abri and one of the trustees of the international work of L'Abri. Along with his wife, he has been hosting guests at L’Abri for 20 years. He is active in the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in Europe. His academic interests include Philosophy, Theology and Ethics. Most recently, he completed a degree in the Philosophy of Technology at the Free University in Amsterdam. Mentoring, lecturing and engaging in dialogue about the issues that confront us today form an integral part of his work at L’Abri. He has published a variety of articles both scientific and popular in the disciplines of Apologetics, Philosophy of Technology, Ethics and music appreciation.


Arleen Westerhof earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry in Canada before moving to Amsterdam to work as an expatriate for a large multinational corporation. Arleen is the Lead Pastor of the God’s Embasssy Church in Amsterdam together with her husband Dick and is the Founder and Coordinator of the European Economic Summit, a semi-annual invitation-only Summit which aims to introduce new paradigms on finance and economy which are inspired by Christian tradition, faith and thought, and to present transformational businesses as new models for poverty alleviation and sustainable economies.




Human Rights and the Magna Carta
Dave Landrum

The 800th year anniversary of Magna Carta (The Great Charter) represents an important opportunity to reassert the pivotal role that Christianity played in shaping this key contribution to the development of human rights. However, despite the fact that Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, played a central role in drafting the charter, which was signed by King John at Runnymede, Surrey – with at least 11 other bishops present, it is clear that there is a battle raging today – about yesterday – for tomorrow. And we can expect human rights campaigners, secularists and politicians to seek to ignore or diminish the influence of the bible in the creation of this historic document which refers to God as ‘the source of all liberties’. This session will: explore the biblical and historical roots of Magna Carta; chart its influence upon ideas of freedom, human rights and civil liberties; and review the contemporary trajectory of human rights discourse.

Law Sub-Track: Gospel and Government: How the Public Square Relates to Christ
Timothy Laurence

How does the good news of God's kingdom relate to our legal context today? What does it mean to make a faithful and substantive Christian contribution to shape law today when so many people reject Christ?  In this seminar, Timothy Laurence will lay out a practical Biblical framework for loving engagement in the public square in the light of creation and the gospel, providing a clear foundation for the rest of the week.

Politics Sub-Track: What Are the Origins of Human Rights in Europe and How Are They Maintained? Reflections on the Council of Europe and Moldova
Valeriu Ghiletchi

Reflecting on his experiences in the Council of Europe and as a member of the Parliament of Moldova, Valeriu Ghiletchi will examine the origins of Human Rights in Europe and how they are maintained. He will then look at the lessons to be learnt as we move forward as Christians in a challenging environment.



Plenary: New Economic Paradigms
Arleen Westerhof

The global financial crisis that began in 2008 has plunged millions of people in Europe and the world into poverty and despair. This crisis however is a symptom of something much deeper. We have a  crisis of culture and values. Our progressive individualism, widespread addiction to debt at all levels, and the dominance of short-term financial gain as the driving force in the financial markets must be addressed and re-evaluated. This presentation will focus on presenting new economic and financial paradigms based on Christian faith and tradition as plausible alternatives for economic renewal in Europe; in particular Relational Economics and the Economics of Mutuality.

Law Sub-Track: Law, Finance and Corruption: Christian Ethics in the Financial World
David McIlroy

There is a close relationship between law and finance –and what is appropriate ethically and Biblically. Drawing on David’s experience in Banking law and litigation in this area, and his interactions with other jurisdictions including Albania, this session will consider this relationship in a Biblical framework. He will be looking particularly at what the law - and Christian lawyers - can do to help shape thinking in this area for the public good and consider the difficult issue of corruption.

Politics Sub-Track: The Polish Success
John Godson

Poland is the only European Union country not to have experienced economic recession during the recent global economic crisis. What are the sources of Poland’s economic success? What lessons can be learned from Poland? What challenges will Poland face as it continues to grow? The goal of this session is to have a closer look at the Polish political and economic transformation from communist state-planned central economy to a successful decentralized free market economy.



*The plenary session on Day 3 will take place jointly with the Media Communicators Network.

Plenary: Principles for Working Effectively with the Media
Michael Cromartie

The eminent church historian Martin Marty once observed that “there is no news in the news today that is not somehow related to religion news.”   Some of the most critical issues in our national dialogues rest at the cross section of religion and public policy.  Everywhere we turn, the issue of “the faith angle” keeps coming up.  Many members of the mainstream media recognize this as well.  They embrace their role as responsible stewards of a national conversation, and realize that a deficit of knowledge of their fellow citizens’ religious convictions can hamper their coverage. Michael will explain how his “Faith Angle Forum” program for journalists aspires to correct this imbalance and lack of perspective.

Law Sub-Track: Christians and the Public Square: Strategies of Christian Engagement with Contemporary Society
Vedran Đulabić

Why is it important for Christian lawyers to be active members of society influencing politics, social affairs, media and business? Looking at the Biblical foundations for public engagement, and contemporary developments of legal engagement Vedran will present and analyze elaborate on the distinctive issues  that tend to isolate faith practice from public life (including Church and state relations) and using faith as an ideological instrument. He will then present four possible strategies for engagement (assimilation, isolation, imposing and influence) to enable participants to analyze their position in engaging with wider society.

Politics Sub-Track: The Right and Wrongs Ways to Approach the Public Square
Michael Cromartie

As Christians we are commanded to love our neighbours. One way we can love our neighbors is by working to ensure that all people, being made in the image of God, be treated with justice, respect, and mercy in the public arena. Our speaker will propose several characteristics and virtues we ought to exhibit when seeking the "welfare of the city" (Jeremiah 29:6-7).  He will conclude by suggesting we need to develop an "Augustinian sensibility" if we are rightly to discern what we as Christians should aspire to do in our private and public witness.


Plenary: Lessons Learned from the Netherlands: Can We Prevent Euthanasia Legislation from Spreading?
Henk Reitsema

Henk Reitsema is active in the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in Europe. In this session he will examine the current situation in relation to euthanasia in the Netherlands, looking at the history of how the current situation came to be and drawing out the lessons that can be learned for the rest of Europe. We will then ask whether we can prevent euthanasia legislation spreading.

Law and Politics Sub-Tracks Joint Session: Euthanasia Panel Discussion
Nola Leach, Peter Saunders, Henk Reitsema

A society’s perception of the sanctity of life is frequently moulded by events that occur in other nearby countries. Once a policy has become the status quo in a neighbouring country, expectations are often altered to believe this policy will travel to other lands. The unrelenting expansion of Euthanasia policy in the Netherlands has resulted in many countries across Europe considering following suit. Due to the ever converging nature of social policies within the European continent, pressure is growing on countries to accept the pro-Euthanasia doctrine. Following on from Henk's session will be a panel discussion with Nola Leach (CEO, CARE), Peter Saunders (Executive Director, Christian Medical Fellowship) and Henk Reitsema. The panel will use euthanasia as a case study in how one country's social policy can influence the policies of its neighbours.

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