From 15 to 17 March 2023 we organised together with VGS and Jacobus Fruytier Scholengemeenschap the 4th ECCEN conference! Read here the report from one of our participants Graham Coyle.
UNDERSTANDING THE TIMES AND KNOWING WHAT TO DO
"I recently attended ECCEN (European Conference on Christian Education in The Netherlands). Its purpose is to draw educators together, mainly from Christian settings, to hear about and discuss issues relating to God’s purpose in education. The topic this year was ‘Understanding the times and knowing what to do’ with a key verse of 1 Chronicles 12:32, ‘Leaders from Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.’
The assignment given to all Christians is to effectively demonstrate the love of the Father to a world that doesn’t recognise Him, and indeed can’t without the help of His Spirit. We all know the challenge this presents us with in education. How do we do a good job of loving people while operating in an environment which is frequently harming them? More than that, how do we handle the fact it often wants to harm us as well, because we are the people who have been shown its hostile intentions and are seeking to neutralise them?
We shouldn’t be surprised of course, Jesus warned us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). The challenge we often face though is this, how do we act wisely, hold onto our peace, speak truthfully and continue loving as Jesus did?
All of the speakers at ECCEN had helpful and wise insights, and the main purpose of this week’s blog is to pass on to you two of their sessions.
Firstly, Prof. Dr Henk van den Belt works in the faculty of Religion, Theology, Beliefs and Practices at the Free University in Amsterdam. His paper, ‘Discerning the Times: Inspired by Hope in the Present Age’ is here. Secondly, Dr Dave Benson works at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity licc.org.uk and his paper, ‘Disenchantment, Diversity, and Disciple-making: A Process for Christlike Schooling in Post-Christendom Times is here.
Both are excellent, and the time taken to read and think about them will greatly benefit you and your service for the Lord. Let’s understand the times together and learn what to do."