From Wednesday 24th till Friday 26th of September Driestar Christian University, VGS and Jacobus Fruytier Scholengemeenschap organised the second European conference on Christian education (ECCEN 2014).
With around 100 participants, of which 40% from abroad, the theme ‘Christian education approaching 2020’ was comprehensively discussed.
The conference commenced with a lecture by Rev. Dr. A. Huijgen, senior lecturer at Theological University Apeldoorn, in which we reflected on being a Christian in this world approaching 2020. He detailed a picture of several crises in which we currently live, along with the importance of Christian attitudes we should aspire to.
Dr. John Shortt, professor at Liverpool Hope University, spoke about how we can lead our schools and pupils as we approach the future. God asks of us to practise ‘shalom’ in our education. ‘Shalom’ in the Biblical sense, which signifies wholeness, integrity and connectedness. The relationship with pupils is key in this. “Teaching is about relationships. We open windows and look through them together to know God’s world.”
Rev. Dr. M. Kater, senior lecturer at Theological University Apeldoorn, considered the question of how we should think about leadership in Christian education as we approach 2020. He answered this question by focussing on the following three points: ‘leading by longing’, ‘leading by loving’ and ‘leading by liturgy’.
Alongside the lectures, workshops were organised around various sub-themes, such as leadership in schools, society and the classroom. The conference was concluded with a lecture by Gert-Jan Segers, a ChristenUnie MP, in which we thought about the role of Christian education in a secular society. “When we think of Christian education, impacting our culture, we should not make the same mistake we made in the Netherlands and are still making: trying to make people Christian from the outside forgetting the inside.” “When the night is almost over, the day is about to come. That is the promise of Christ. Thinking of the challenges we have, our only hope is the bright morning star, Christ himself. The night is almost over, the day will come…”
The conference was attended by around 100 participants from various European countries, including Germany, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Romania, Lithuania, Ukraine and Sweden, and also from Nepal. Those attending were primarily school leaders. We would particularly like to thank all the pupils who were involved and played an important role in this conference, on behalf of the organising parties: Driestar Christian University, JFSG and VGS.
Further information and lectures
All information regarding this conference can be found on www.eccen.eu
. The organisation looks back on this conference with gratitude, in which those involved in Christian education in Europe reflected on the developments, threats and opportunities together, with great concern for each other.