Thursday, August 17, 2017
A few amazing days of relaxation, meaningful talks and valuable lessons with influencing people. These are a few words to summarize the ECPM Leadership Retreat 2017. Around 20 participants from different countries, all active in politics at all levels, some of them together with their partner, enjoyed the program that reserved time for spiritual building, cumulating knowledge on the subject and simply think.
One of the remarks heard right at the beginning of the retreat is that politicians do not have time to sit and think. They have to trust the advice of their assistant and act immediately. The retreat gave them the possibility to do just that: sit and think. Moreover, the different points in the program provided material for good discussions and brainstorm about the questions every politician comes across.
The main question of the conference was “Christian reasoning in a secular politics?”, a question every Christian politician asks himself or hears from other politicians, journalists or voters. Prof. Dr. G.J. Buijs from the Free University in Amsterdam came with very significant information on the subject that helped the participants come close to answering this question. Philosophers such as Habermas, Wolterstorff and Rawls were mentioned and their different views put under question. Discussions fueled by this topic continued until well in the night and served as food for thought for the rest of the retreat.
Tamrat Layne, former prime minister of Ethiopia, joined during the retreat and shared with the participants a bit of his vast experience, teaching valuable lessons. What it means to trust God from the darkness of your cell when you have no certainty that anything is happening outside, how to forgive when forgiveness is not asked. How to wait patiently for a miracle to happen. His talks helped the participants come to a deeper understanding of how God works in human lives and politics.
Expectations were exceeded and each participant showed a genuine interest in participating in such a retreat again. ECPM is more than satisfied that the purpose of the retreat was reached and that the participants could have “a time of reflection, a time of relaxation, a time of connecting, a retreat with a purpose”.