EEA members in the spotlight

EEA members in the spotlight

The European Evangelical Alliance is really proud of the fantastic socio-political work done by many of our members. So we wanted to honour them by asking a few to give us a taste of what they have been doing.


Government connections in Portugal


Luis Calaim from the Portuguese Evangelical Alliance (EA) told us about an important meeting the President of the EA, Antonio Calaim, had recently with Francisca van Dunem, Minister of Justice. Antonio and Francisca discussed the problems that Evangelical churches have regarding their meeting places in homes or shops and also that chaplains have in accessing prisons and hospitals. The meeting was also an opportunity for Antonio to express deep concern about progressive sex education to be taught to children who are just 8 years old. Antonio and his colleagues are not so confident that the government will change policy about education, although they think it was still important to make their views clear. However, they do trust that there will be improvement regarding church buildings and chaplains.  EEA asked Luis how such a good and open encounter with the Minister of Justice had been possible. “Relationship building,” was his answer. “Build genuine and positive connections with politicians and then they are more likely to listen.”


Hope in difficult times


Uwe Heimowski and Kersten Rieder work in the German Evangelical Alliance (DEA)’s office that works at the German Parliament.  The DEA was increasingly concerned by the atmosphere of fear, criticism, anger and even conspiracy theories that developed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. So they chose to do 2 things to point people back to God’s hope.

  1. They published this article called “Time for Hope – a call to unity and prayer.” It challenged Evangelicals to listen to God more than false prophets or conspiracies and to be bearers of hope and bridge builders in these fractious times. It encouraged Christians to take up their role as shapers of the future with Christ’s help.

  2. They wrote to every single Member of Parliament (MP), thanking them for their work during the pandemic crisis and wishing them a good summer break. They also sent a link to the “Time for Hope” article. Several MPs were really grateful for this encouragement.


Bold communication in Italy


In Italy, a law is going through Parliament to protect members of the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination. There has been much lobbying by the Italian Evangelical Alliance and others to ensure that the final version of this law will not prosecute those who express a classically biblical line on sexuality. On June 12th this year, several Evangelical churches and agencies purchased advertising space in the main Italian newspaper, “Corriere della Sera.” Thus they were able to present their concerns about freedom of religion and of expression, as well as the biblical view of family and relationships. Giuseppe Rizza of the Italian Evangelical Alliance said, “This is a useful and interesting initiative, a good exercise in public theology.”  See here for more information.


A tough struggle in France


Nancy Lefevre, legal counsel for the Conseil national des évangéliques de France (CNEF) told us about one big political campaign that has involved all of the CNEF advocacy team: Clément Diedrichs, Thierry le Gall and Nancy Lefevre.


Back in 2017 President Macron promised to change the relationships between religions and the State if he won the elections.  He won but progress was slow because of other priorities.  Then, in October 2020, a terrible atrocity happened. Teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by an Islamist extremist; the public and media wanted action. The atmosphere was now perfect for the introduction of a law which would put much tighter control on all faith communities. There was little concern that new restrictions would mean big difficulties for innocent people.


CNEF have much experience of political influencing. They have excellent relational connections with MPs and they have played an active part in government meetings; they know how to work collaboratively with others and to argue constructively and clearly; they are also great at activating their members to pray and to speak up. But working on this “Law against Separatism” was incredibly tough.  The CNEF team started by sharing their concerns privately, they moved to more public criticism, they made constructive proposals to try to meet the government half way, they took time to explain how the law would badly impact churches. All of CNEF’s efforts meant that many MPs, both on the right and left of politics could see that the law was unfair and needed to be changed.


But the government easily won the vote. The new law controls all faith communities in many ways. There are now burdensome administrative rules, too much reliance on the good will of the local council and the “religious service police” will be watching for any teaching that goes against the values of the Republic. How will they react to a sermon on a biblical view on family life?


The CNEF team is not giving up. They will now equip their members to understand and try to follow the law’s requirements on administrative matters. They will also provide legal advice about continuing to preach biblically. They will be ready to take the right case to France’s constitutional court. And they are working with the World Evangelical Alliance’s Geneva office to bring the law under the scrutiny of the United Nation’s Human Rights Committee.


We wanted to share this story to illustrate the truth that defeat is part of the story if Christians engage in politics. But CNEF is convinced that every prayer, conversation, text and meeting was worth it.  They did do a great job.


We asked Nancy how the team sustained themselves. She replied:

  1. Holiday! They took much needed quality times of rest to recuperate this summer.

  2. Not panicking. The law is not fair and it will cause genuine challenges for Evangelicals. However, CNEF knows that freedom in France is still huge compared to so much of the Church globally who face real persecution.

  3. Keeping focused on the Gospel and mission. In the end, all of CNEF’s work is about enabling its members to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and deed. This sustains the team with hope.

Latest Posts

Receive the EEA newsletter!