Monday, May 11, 2020
This spring the Wilberforce Academy was re-launched, a course program for young professionals who wish to mature their Christian faith and as active believers in society. Previously, the program was arranged by the Swedish Evangelical Alliance, but this year, the program was a joint project with the Clapham Institute, Apologia and Sallux.
The program consisted of three weekends with lectures and study visits to think tanks and other organizations working with opinion-making. The regular lectures took place at the office of the Evangelical Alliance. Due to the Corona pandemic, the arrangement had to have some practical changes. Most notably, this meant that several speakers and some of the participants participated through Zoom instead of on site. We are very glad, however, that we managed to hold all three weekends, when most other courses and arrangements have been called off this spring.
Some of the themes and speakers at the Wilberforce Academy have been:
· Apologetics and worldview analysis
· Secular humanism
· Political ideologies from a Christian perspective
· Religious freedom and foreign policy
· New political landscapes in Sweden and Europe
· The battle of faith-based schools
· The Swedish midwife case and conscientious objection
· Natural law
· Why the EU matters
· How to write an debate article
The final moment of the program has been a voluntary participation at either the European Leadership Forum or the Almedalen week. As Almedalen is cancelled this year, and ELF will be held as an online event, ELF appears to be the default option.
The program has, apart from the physical gatherings, lectures and group discussions, also included some texts for reading, plus one task of writing a debate article and have it evaluated by the rest of the group and the arranging team.
The number of participants at this first year of the re-launched Wilberforce Academy was seven, whereof six people completed the program. The participants came from a wide variety of religious and political backgrounds, from the Pentecostal movement to the Quakers, from the Left-wing party to the Conservatives. In the evaluations, the group found the program to be of a high quality, especially when it came to the quality of the speakers as many of them were high-profiled opinion-makers, researchers, and journalists outside Christian circles.
Our impression as arranging organizations is similarly positive, and we hope to be able to continue this program next spring with an even larger group of participants.
Before and during the time that the course was held, Sallux was visible on the web page where we presented the Wilberforce Academy. During the course, Sallux was visible through a roll-up and by Johannes de Jong participating with a lecture via Zoom.
We are grateful for Sallux’ contribution, and we are glad that we through it could contribute to our students being challenged to make an impact in society!
The arranging team: Clapham Institute, Swedish Evangelical Alliance, Apologia