Friends from the Dutch, Finnish, French, Swedish & Swiss Evangelical Alliances met in EEA’s Good News Café last month to share what they are doing to promote and defend religious freedom. Nancy Lefèvre from CNEF presented “Libre de le Dire” (“Free to say it / share it”), a comprehensive plan to understand religious freedom developments in France, explain religious freedom to politicians and the media, defend individuals when cases arise and to encourage and equip Christians to know their rights and how to exercise freedom of religion and expression in church, at work, at school and in public. In France, there has been a worrying increase in religious freedom problems. CNEF has wisely understood that, if they don’t work now and in a joined up way to strongly promote societal support for religious freedom, then the situation could worsen. There is a growing gap between what the law says about religious freedom and what society understands. Marc Jost explained how the Swiss EA hosts and facilitates the Religious Liberty Commission which brings together 7 specialist NGOs who help the Persecuted Church around the world. Their collaborative actions capture the attention of Swiss Evangelicals and wider society because uniting forces brings greater impact. The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) is a huge event each year. 50 000 people signed a petition asking Parliament to do more to protect religious freedom in the Middle East. The Commission works together to provide counsellors for all Christian asylum seekers. We heard briefly about activities in the Netherlands, Sweden & Finland. The Netherlands is blessed by having Christian MPs who take the lead on religious freedom promotion. In Sweden, on the day of the Good News Café, the EA had been working with Open Doors Sweden to promote the new World Watch List to politicians and the media. The EA often contributes to the secular media or arranges political discussions on religious freedom, both around the world and within Sweden. Finally, in Finland, the EA has a Human Rights working group which strongly promotes IDOP, arranges campaigning, e.g. to the Iranian Embassy calling for the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini. The EA works closely with Christian MPs, including the Minister for Interior Affairs. And it cooperates closely with the immigration office to persuade and assist them to treat Christian asylum seekers fairly. (If you are involved in helping Christian asylum seekers, we really need a few minutes of your time. We are conducting research on how governments treat asylum seekers and what we can do to help them do a better job. Contact Julia Doxat-Purser ASAP and she will send you a short survey. ) So, what does your Evangelical Alliance do to promote understanding of religious freedom within your nation? What can you do to defend religious freedom for all within Europe and around the world? If you have not been able to do much until now, there are ways to make an impact that do not need many resources. EEA would be delighted to advise. Meanwhile, look out for your invitation to the next Good News Café.