Francophone Christian teachers conference, Feb 21-23
@ Guebwiller, Alsace, France 

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Graham Coyle is keynote speaker at the „Séminaire Mathurin Cordier“, tha annual conference for the evangelical teachers and schools for the Francophonie. „You are important“ is his first message - „because you are God’s presious child, and because God wants you exactly in the place you are.“ Difficulties should not discourage us, but on the contrary, they are a proof that God is shaping us into His image. God is interested in the impossible, so pray for the impossible! You may not see its realisation while you are here on earth, but God will make it happen in His time. MC 20 Plenum.jpeg

 

 

 

ECCEN Conference around the corner: March 4-6

The European Conference for Christian Education in the Netherlands is for school leaders and teachers of Christian Schools across Europe, drawing together different cultures, nationalities and professions within Christian education. A great opportunity to exchange knowledge and wisdom, and to build God's network!

Know more - join last minute: https://www.driestar-educatief.nl/eccen

 

 

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Dear friends of EurECA,

We are in the process of redesigning our website and hope to finish soon.

The new website will provide EVERY European nation with a website that can be designed in their language and according to the specific needs and interests of the Christian educators of that nation.

In order to do this, we are looking for volunteers who will work with us to develop these country-specific pages on the new EurECA website.

If you would like to do that or know someone who might be interested in this role, we would be happy to hear from you.

The board has decided to keep communication for the rest of the website mainly in English.

Vienna: A new Christian school!

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Since 1998, the „Arche Noah“ kindergarten and since 2004, the „Mayflower Academy“ school at the Quellenstrasse on the South side of Vienna offered education on a Christian foundation. As the number of children kept increasing from a handful to over 150, including many muslims, quarters became tight. The founders, Marcus and Sylvia Aszmann, worked and prayed hard for years to find a new place for the school. Finally now, after many obstacles and many last-minute interventions by God, a brandnew campus with capacity for over 300 children was erected this year, and the „International Campus Vienna“ happily started after summer vacation.

http://internationalcampusvienna.at

EurECA congratulates the Aszmanns and their team and thanks God for this new school! We bless you, and may you be a blessing to all you touch!

(EurECA caters primarily to Christian teachers in secular schools, but believes also in the necessity for Christian schools, and seeks to unite teachers of both walks.)Bildschirmfoto 2019-10-24 um 09.28.09.png

 

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Safely back to school

The sign reads "Safely to school with the Max-App". Many schools in Switzerland are soon resuming after the summer break. An insurance company is advertising for their app, specially designed for kids at school. So we assume that all kids have a handy nowadays?

I haven't tested the app (yet), but it made me think: Sure, safety is important - but is not our desire for safety misused here for the interests of the insurance company? If  we as Christians had that kind of money - would we create a "God-App" and big posters saying "Safely back to school with God"? 

Maybe the insurance company does take a genuine interest in the safety of the kids - but Jesus reminds us that ultimate safety cannot be found in worldly means (even apps!) but only in unity with him: "I am the way, the truth and the life."

EurECA wishes you a safe way back to school with God!

 

Narnia school in Slovakia

The Christian school called Narnia (named after C. S. Lewis’s stories) is one of God's wonders of the 21st century - at least for us, Slovak evangelical Christians.

It was created 11 years ago as the second evangelical school in Slovakia. The name Narnia should allow the wider public to see the school as an open space, not only for children from evangelical families but any families in the city. And it is good! The primary purpose of the school is to open a new world of Christian kingdom to everybody in need. So today, the school is a second home to more than 300 children, perhaps 20% of them are from evangelical families ... the rest are children from families with various backgrounds (in Slovakia there are 18 registered religious churches and religious communities).

So, there is a large variety among the children and their parents, but the school openly states that it will lead children to Christian morals and that is what it does. Its founders in Banska Bystrica are a very devoted, godly couple and now together with a team of more than 40 employees they all serve God, open staff meetings with God’s word and prayers, teaching the Bible to all children - leading them to pray to the Most Holy and Loving God who sent Jesus to save them from sin. The teachers pray for all the children, especially those with various problems and needs. The school is sought after because of its wonderful care for all "problematic" children, taking great care of their needs, praying not only for their minds and concentration and social skills, but also for their spiritual needs, past and future. It is a demanding ministry to be a teacher at this school, but at the same time a place of many miracles.

One of them is that in spite of taking in quite a few SEN children, the results of the school are excellent – one of the top 10 schools in Slovakia (in math and science sometimes the second-best school). The teachers consider this to be a miracle as they really do not push the children just to "academia" but they spend a lot of time talking to children, praying with them and having lots of celebration days.

The Lord is also blessing the school materially and financially. A few years ago there was a big financial decision; where to move the school, do we have enough money to buy a building? The church that founded the school decided to pray and after two years of praying and fasting they decided to trust the Lord and bought the property of the school that used to lend them one building for about 8 years. So, now the whole property belongs to the school and it is in a lovely area of the city. Of course, there are prayers and sacrifices to be brought to the Lord every day to be able to pay the loan, but the Lord has been blessing this decision without which the school would probably had ceased to exist. So, the parents are paying and contributing in practical ways, also the teachers help a lot.

So, we praise God that He has given in this school what the wider community needs and at the same time He leads us in such a way that every day we have to depend on him and at the same time praise Him for what He does.

 

EurECA board retreat 2017
 
The Board of EurECA met for their annual retreat, Oct 21-23, at the place of the 2018 conference, the Vitosha Hotel in Sofia, Bulgaria.
 
Vitosha, by the way, is the name of the mountain above Sofia, a sport resort and right above the hotel.  For more info about the conference and more pictures check out our conference page.
 
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Saturday 9 a.m., Graham started us with a devotion - in short: „Can we, as a small group, reach out to all of Europe? We can - by allowing God to protect us and equip us. We create a spiritual environment for those who come with us.“
Reviewing what major things took place in the past year: A blessed conference in Oslo; two papers written in cooperation with EEA on „Gender mainstreaming“ and „Sexuality education“; preparations for renewing our website; legal work with German authorities; networking with Christian and non-Christian organizations (the latter with a view of representing Christians in a secular world); several Board votes by e-mail. The sad end of Scottish Christian teachers association (no great loss without a small gain!) brought us a gift of 4400 £.
 
Our EurECA members form Sofia, Julia and Nadya, then helped us with viewing the conference facilities and with getting details of the organisation settled. Without their dedicated work there, it all would be impossible. Though the hotel management speak English, the Cyrillic writing is an enigma to us!
Further discussion involved
  • The changeover of chairmanship from Matt Kaegi to Graham Coyle: After 12 years as president, Matt felt it was time that someone else will take the lead. The two of them had prepared for this step carefully over the last half year. Matt will stay on the Board as long as his wide network and experience is useful for God through EurECA.
  • The website procedure: You don’t realize how intricate and complex the chageover is, until you get into it!
  • Guidelines for official EurECA publications: It became obvious with the two publications, that we need rules for how to proceed. EurECA is to be „A voice for Christian educators“ (as in the constitution), but we have only recently gained the resources to start practicing this.
 
Sunday, as is our tradition, we participated in a local worship service - in Bulgarian and English! Wow! This vibrant church rents a nightclub! Talking about bringing God’s kingdom into the secular world!
Lunch and sightseeing in the city: Everywhere the contrast between the communist past and the arrival of the western world!
 
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Meeting continued in the afternoon with
  • Finances: Only about 30% of the members have paid their membership fee. Reason to worry? No, because gifts and collections compensate for this. We were able to give about 3500 € to support people in coming to the conference.
  • Conference 2019: We hope to be able to have a joint conference with our brothers and sisters in the francophonie.
  • Hope for Europe / Evangelical Alliance conference 2018: Oct 9-12, a new kind of conference is in the planning in Tallinn, Estonia. Local networks will interact with networks of the same kind / theme. EurECA must be there for educators!
Monday, the meeting continued until 11.30: 
Raquel, Liviu and Matt will start a prayer ministry within EurECA, following up on prayer requests and channeling them to the network - not in bulk, but in small portions. Where appropriate, this will also feed into our website news.
The bulk of the morning was devoted to the website - many aspects and questions involved! Markus is heading up this project, in conjunction with a Christian website design company in Spain!
Several new members were officially accepted, and a spreadsheet with all the jobs the Board members will be responsible for, was established.
 
By the way, after each item on the agenda, we prayed and committed the work into God’s hands.
If you can, please join in prayer for EurECA!
 
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Can you read this? You will, after 3 days in Sofia!
 
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A good end to a bad story

COMACEP is a ministry that belongs to the Portuguese Evangelical Alliance and coordinates the work done in public schools throughout the whole country in a subject called “Evangelical Ethics and Religious Education“. This subject has become part of the official Portuguese school program for nearly thirty years. Since then it has increased in influence and at present it is taught in around 250 schools. Throughout these long years, the Ministry of Education has been paying for two COMACEP coordinators, same as for the Catholic Ethics and Religious Education coordinators, about 10 of them.

At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, the government suddenly refused to pay for the two coordinators, Raquel and Samuel. They had to resume their jobs as teachers. They continued to do the COMACEP work on top of full-time teaching, just so that the nearly 2000 children would not have to miss out on their classes. This, however, was a titanic injustice toward the Evangelicals and clearly a religious discrimination. 

After appeals to the ministry of education and interventions by the Evangelical Alliance, as well as prayer requests sent out to all EurECA friends and members, finally in mid-October, COMACEP was informed that the unjust decision was reversed. And only just now, at the beginning of November, Raquel and Samuel could resume their jobs, while two teachers had to be found and trained to take over their teaching positions.

Praise God that this story took a good ending! Thank God for the perseverance of the two coordinators! And thank you all who intervened in prayer!

 

Inspiring developments in the Francophonie

„The Reformation Continues“ was the title over this year’s annual conference, Feb 17-19, of the evangelical schools of the Francophonie. When Luc Bussière startet the first „new“ evangelical school Collège Daniel in Guebwiller, Alsace, in 1986, he also began immediately with annual conferences to inspire, equip and connect Christian educators. In the meantime, he and his wife Manuela have triggered an amazing movement, including

  • annual conferences (Fri evening - Su lunch) with 300-400 participants today
  • a network of 41 schools
  • 50 school projects at different stages, in the planning
  • an association AESPEF (Association des Etablissements Scholaires Evangeliques en Francophonie) which coordinates the schools
  • a teacher training seminary (Institut Supérieur Protestant Mathurin Cordier) which is now in its 3rd year, offering full-time training as well as modular courses

This is the amazing result of faithful perseverance. It started with a mustard seed and has grown by now to a sizable tree! And this despite the fact that their free schools don’t receive any financial help from the state!

Luc and Manuela have passed on the operation of the Collège and are now free to travel and consult school projects.

The conferences are named after the influential French pedagogue Mathurin Cordier (1479-1564) who taught at the side of John Calvin. The vision of the conference is, to regain and ecceed the territory of Christian schools of the 17th century, when there were 1500 of them in France.

At the present, the public school in France has a very poor reputation. This is an opportunity for Christian schools - but they must ask themselves „What do we do differently, so that we are not just one more school, but a school of more value?“ So the reform continues.

 

Encouraging developments in Ukraine

Since the Law 1447 (allowing Christian schools official status in Ukraine) was passed by parliament, twenty-two new Christian schools have opened and there are concrete plans for six more to start working next September!

God is using our small alliance to play a big role in casting a vision for Christian education among churches and schools of this region, encouraging and training emerging school leaders and helping those just beginning the journey with important organisational and legal advice. We want to help them shape schools into places where pupils can learn about God’s world in a way that also molds Christian character and worldview and prepares graduates to help transform their societies in ways that glorify God and promote His goals in the world.

In November work began in earnest on the technical aspects of a cutting-edge website for Christian teachers called “What If Learning” that was originally developed in English by specialists from the UK, USA and Australia. Thankfully, over the past several months, about 75% of the original material has been translated into Russian, and work on that continues.

For more of the very interesting news about Christian developments in Ukraine, contact Cindy LeClair, cindy(at)missioneurasia.org