Local church members, social entrepreneurs and political representatives gathered in the Northern Spanish city of Valladolid for Idea 2020, the annual event of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance.
“Working for the wellbeing of the city” was the theme of the annual weekend organised in a different city each year. Idea aims to connect evangelical leaders with each other and with the city and region they live in.
On February 14, two city councillors of the area of Social Services and Mediation of Valladolid, sat down with the Secretary General of the Evangelical Alliance and the President of the Spanish Bible Society in a public roundtable.
“The religious phenomenon is important, it has always been” and therefore its presence “should be public, nor only the private sphere”, said city councillor Rafaela Romero as she addressed around 80 people in the Casa Cuna civic centre.
Romero called to “include all worldviews and respect the diversity” of the city, and praised “evangelicals because you do not come to us [the City Council] to ask, but to offer solutions”. In a moment of polarisation and a “political crisis”, she said, “personal relationships” are “more important than ever to find common answers”.
X. Manuel Suárez, Secretary General of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance, used the example of Jesus looking over Jerusalem before entering the city, as an example of how Christians should “see the aspirations, diagnose the pathologies and understand the soul of the city”. This will help to better “work for its good”.
“We, as a Protestant minority, know well what it means to be unknown to the citizenship and the authorities”, but evangelical churches still “have a broad experience of mutual integration of cultural, linguistic and ethnic minorities – and we offer ourselves to contribute to this process more broadly”.
In a context of division, Suárez called to look for consensus, underlining that the “municipal public activity should be a favourable environment to open minds, mutual tolerance and a will to dialogue”.
A conversation was opened to members of the public, many of whom pointed to the long history of Protestantism in Valladolid (a city in which many were killed during the Spanish Inquisition). Interesting cultural initiatives and social projects initiated by evangelical churches were presented as well.
PLENARIES, WORKSHOPS, YOUTH EVENT…
On Saturday 15, the more ‘internal’ programme included the Spanish Evangelical Alliance’s General Assembly. The Alliance’s work in areas such as Youth leaders, Infancy, Theology, Mission, Bioethics, Solidarity (Alianza Solidaria) and Media (to which Evangelical Focus belongs to) was presented.
Two presentations on “The Bible and social wellbeing” (Luis Fajardo) and the “The church as a factor of wellbeing of the community” (Julio García Celorio) were followed by an open dialogue.
After enjoying a paella together (typical Spanish rice dish), participants split into workshops on four issues: “Local business entrepreneuring”, “Local political participation”, “Presence of local churches in social media”, and “Care of people in leadership”.
The day closed with Idea Joven (‘youth’), a time of worship and preaching that was attended by youth groups of several churches from the Valladolid region.
Idea 2020 was held in the Christian Centre La Roca (‘The Rock’), an Assemblies of God church led by a team of Korean and Spanish pastors. Over 30 years of presence in Valladolid, this multi-national community has been known for its projects to serve the city with a gospel perspective.