Elspeet 2012

IARF Europe and Middle East (EME) Conference held at the Mennorode Conference Centre, Elspeet, the Netherlands on 19-22 July 2012

Even with the very best website, there is no substitute for the physical, live meeting of people; as a balance to our computer-dominated existence, such first-hand encounters may be gaining importance and serve a much-needed function…
by Richard Boeke, UK

The worshippers face a wall
Which is a window
From floor to ceiling
Looking out to the garden
Of small pebbles..
To the left of centre
In the sea of pebbles
Is a wooden sculpture
Like the stump of a tree
With a tiny bubbling fountain.

The theme was Liberal Religion on ‘hold’, ‘play’, or ‘fast forward’? with a focus on leadership.

Some 70 plus people of 12 nationalities from 10 different countries, affiliated to 18 different groups, took part in what was a highly successful international gathering, hosted by our Dutch Chapter (NLG) and offering a mix of lectures, workshops, devotions, and social events.

At the bottom of the post you can see a slideshow of selected photos, here a Photo set (on Flickr) from the event, and here read a full Report (PDF, 6 pages illustrated; 3.5mb).

This is one of the reactions we received as follow-up. For Libref. – the Swiss Liberal Reformed Association – the following points were important:

  • Our communication with IARF is more direct and personal now due to the very well- organized meeting.
  • IARF has now gained the nature of a community for us. We feel well that IARF has and is a body.
  • We are informed in the matters of positive and negative liberty, risks, and splits. We learnt the human being is a kind of “split” (Martin Heidegger), that presence is an attitude of attendance.
  • We are informed in procedures of human rights (the Council in UN Geneva) by Morse Flores
  • We will discuss further on the role of libref. and IARF as one of leadership in public opinion.
  • The excursion to Schokland showed that nature has a fragile balance, that manipulations of procedures needs enormous efforts. We saw very directly that water is chance and risk as much in the Mountains (sources of fresh water and torrents) as in Nether-Lands. Learning from nature might signify that liberty is a voluntary enlightenment by nature?
  • The new internet platform of IARF reminds us that worldwide the first religious freedom as a (personal) right was articulated in 1524/-26 in a constitution which is vigorous still today in Ilanz, Switzerland (source of the Rhine as an important European storm). This religious freedom was the outcome of a conference between a protestant reformer called Comander, the bishop of Chur and the political authority of the ‘Freistaat der Drei Bünde’.
  • We are looking forward to working with IARF and its members in the future.

We thank the organizing team of IARF for all their efforts.
– Jean-Claude Cantieni, Andreas Peter – libref. Switzerland

Selected photos from the event: 

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