“I have one mouth, which does not speak English well. But I have two ears, which understand quite well, ” said Indrek Lude, the often quietly spoken General Secretary of the Estonian Evangelical Alliance (EEA 🙂 ), who many of you know. He joined the preparation meeting on 5-6 September in Brussels, together with Peeter Vosu, who is responsible for foreign affairs of the Estonian EA. We were totally surprised to finally hear the story of the Estonian EA. They are extremely well connected and engaged in the Christian scene in Estonia. They have lots of different activities which involve many local churches AND they have 14 (!) different networks. Indrek Lude has listened very well and has gleaned and implemented a lot in very strategic ways! Now we understand the background of the Estonian EA offer to host the next Hope for Europe event from 8 – 13 October 2018 in Tallinn. Very strategic for the Estonian EA as they also want to see their networks growing and being enriched.
The 28 hours we spent with a small group in Brussels was extremely fruitful. We agreed to the following theme:
Unity in diversity
One body many parts
Hope for Europe Estonia, Tallinn
Hosted by: European EA and Estonian EA
The theme will pick up on present realities among Evangelicals in Europe. We have different opinions around the topics of refugees, national populism and we face a diversity of contexts: East-West and North-South and more. We want to address how to deal with such diversity in a truly Christian manner. This theme will provide the basic grid for the event.
These are not just issues among Evangelicals but issues in the wider European society. It is the church’s task to model how to acknowledge and live out these differences and deal with them in a loving and peaceful way.
An event with local and European impact
In our discussions, we decided on a European Network event with a strong local impact. The mornings will be dedicated to Network meetings while the afternoons will give opportunities to meet with other networks but also with various local bodies We want representatives of National and European Networks AND National EAs to input their expertise into the local situation, but also be enriched by the interaction with other networks and gain a better understanding of the local Estonian situation.
In the evenings, there will be plenary sessions dealing with the main theme of the event. We hope that the Estonian Prime Minister will be present for the opening plenary meeting. Locals will also join the plenary sessions throughout the week.
The week will culminate in a Night of Faith on Friday mainly organised by the Arts+ Network. It will take place in various sites simultaneously all over the city of Tallinn. Evangelical expressions of faith in art and sports will show various aspects of faith. Quite a different face than usual.
A different General Assembly
We understand that the time commitment is bigger than usual. But the benefit for the hosting country (Estonia), for National EAs represented and their Networks will be much greater than usual as well. Affiliate members will add their precious contribution too. Among other benefits will be the establishment of new networks initiated in Estonia, on the EEA level AND in National EAs.
What you can do
We warmly encourage you to get the word about this event out now. Make sure that the key people who can contribute and profit (National EA and national Network representatives) are aware of this unique event and block the dates: Monday 8 October afternoon to Saturday 14 October 2018 early morning. Please start to budget the funds now and begin praying for this event. We believe it has the potential of lasting impact on both Estonia and wider Europe.For the preparation team, Thomas Bucher EEA General Secretary