On November 29, the ECP Centre sent out the following notice to its readers, informing them that they will be closing their doors:
NoApologies.ca website to be managed by Tim Bloedow and ChristianGovernance at www.christiangovernance.ca
Legal Advocacy and Defence efforts to continue with other organizations, including Christian Legal Fellowship at www.christianlegalfellowship.org
Education and awareness directed through the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) at www.arpacanada.ca
The ECP Centre announces that it will no longer operate as an independent entity as of the end of 2010. We are pleased that many of the initiatives supported by the ECP Centre will carry on, and are being carried on quite well in other forums, often with the participation of people who have been working with the ECP Centre for some time. The work done here will continue and we invite you to continue the revolution. Our opponents have noted the impact of the ECP Centre. It’s time to broaden the movement.
Our History in Brief
The ECP Centre, or the Equipping Christians for the Public Square Centre, was formed earlier this decade, originally as a Christian advocacy organization formed to educate, motivate and mobilize Christian participation and leadership in the public square. We expressed the belief that social conservative Christians need a national voice defending their right to exist, participate in and express themselves in the public square. We believed that it was time to stop apologizing, and time to start defending who we are and the things we stand for.
The initial focus of the organization was public advocacy for the Christian view to be expressed in the public square. In 2005, the ECP Centre was formally incorporated as a non profit corporation to carry on an expanded mandate, focusing on three general areas. In brief:
In our view, several years ago, Christians were getting slaughtered in Canada’s public square, to put it bluntly. As examples:
There were many more cases, both then and to follow, including the case of Rev. Stephen Boissoin, the Alberta pastor who was being taken to task before the Alberta Human Rights Commission for writing letters to a local paper expressing his Christian views and criticising the seeming support for homosexuality in public schools.
Further, other than churches and a few organizations, there seemed to be a gap in education and training for Christians to get involved in the public square. By organizing conferences in Ontario and British Columbia, we facilitated discussion of relevant topics by qualified speakers and practical workshops for participants.
In the past five years, while the challenges of being a Christian in the public square clearly remain, much has been accomplished, in our view. Certainly not just by the ECP Centre, of course, but we have borne witness to and participated in a growing, and increasingly successful or influential, movement to promote freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and a Christian renaissance in the public square.
A movement is often messy, but we see great signs of progress, both in general, and specific to what we have tried to do at the ECP Centre.
Specifically for the ECP Centre, we have been busy. On the public advocacy/educational front:
On the legal, advocacy front, we also have been busy:
So, there is much to be thankful for. We have had a pretty good run of it, so far. But, in our view, it is time to move on. And for a very joyous reason, frankly. The basic causes we support are today being supported by many more good organizations and people than just a few years ago. We believe we can individually and collectively join a broader movement.
The Broader Movement
On the educational front and political advocacy front, we support the work of the Association for Reformed Political Action. It has been rejuvenated and is well led by Mark Penninga. Their website is www.arpacanada.ca. We commend their efforts. Many of our supporters support ARPA and like organizations. We do not have to duplicate their work and encourage all our supporters to become involved.
On the political commentary front, we believe that the popular No Apologies.ca should continue, and have ensured that it will do so, with Tim Bloedow, who has edited the site for years, continuing on as contributor and editor. Tim has been involved with the ECP Centre since its start up phase, and presently runs ChristianGovernance with its website presence (www.christiangovernance.ca) as well as its vision for practical apologetics and political action. In terms of his political activity, without ignoring federal politics, he nevertheless hopes to be more involved at the provincial level, filling a vacuum that still exists in provinces such as Ontario.
On the legal advocacy and defence front, we believe that the legal environment in Canada has been awakened to the dangers of anti Christian, secular humanist forces generally, and the threats of state sponsored attacks on freedom of speech, freedom of religion and Christian principles such as pro life issues. Our legal advisory committee has had extensive contact with leading Christian advocates in Canada, such as Gerry Chipeur (counsel to Rev. Boissoin) and others; with other leading legal organizations such as Christian Legal Fellowship and the Alliance Defence Fund; and with a variety of other organizations and individuals. Our view is that it makes good sense to pool our resources, particularly with the Christian Legal Fellowship, to support Christian legal causes. The resources of the CLF can support 5 or 6 cases at a time-why not broaden the base for Christian legal advocacy. The issues are often broader and are supported by more than the support group for the ECP Centre. We are seeing many Christian legal advocates joining with the CLF and it has great potential if we pool resources. Presently, the CLF is intervening in landmark cases, including the polygamy challenge in BC and the prostitution law challenge in Ontario. The legal advisory committee of the ECP anticipates holding fundraisers for specific legal cases in future.
When we started, we felt we were a voice in the wilderness sometimes. Now we hear our causes supported by so many more. All the members of the ECP Centre advisory board are still very involved in Christian advocacy or education. Being involved in the ECP Centre has empowered them and opened avenues to be involved successfully. ECP members are involved with ARPA. ECP members are involved with the CLF or politically. The work continues.
We are part of a revolution.
Don’t take our word for it. Let’s hear a little about what others say about the ECP Centre and our little movement. Marci Macdonald, described on her book cover as one of the Canada’s most respected journalists, has written a book entitled the Armageddon Factor-The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada. We will not comment on the contents of the book per se, other than to say it is fairly alarmist about Christian involvement in the public square, and that there are not a few technical errors. But, overall, the striking thing, and one that should encourage Christians everywhere, is that there is a clearly defined growing Christian movement in the public square in Canada. You could NOT say that just a few short years ago.
In the Armageddon Factor, the ECP Centre is mentioned many times-there are passages and pages talking about us. There are passages on Tristan Emmanuel and on Tim Bloedow. There are references to several ECP supporters. There are passages on people that we have had at our conferences. There are passages on our conferences. There are passages on the legal counsel we have worked with on legal defence and legal advocacy. Among other things, our No Apologies website and our advocacy of Punching a Hole in Political Correctness is described. The support of dutch based Calvinists is described. Here is one short passage:
“…the ECP Centre has become one of the most strident voices calling for the demise of human rights commissions, casting them as instruments of Christian persecution…”
Well, looks like our cause is being noted. We think it is something where Christians can and should take heart. Hallelujah!
Our organization will no longer accept funds directly and will be wound down effective December 31, 2010. The ECP Centre has never run with a large surplus, and we anticipate that there will continue to be a small deficit. We have arranged for the deficit to be covered so that anyone who is owed funds will be fully paid.
As noted above, the No Apologies website will continue. It will be edited by Tim Bloedow. Any information on how to support it will be available there.
The legal and advocacy work will continue. ECP supporters will get updates through the No Apologies website and eventually directly. There will be fundraisers and informational meetings.
Finally, we want to thank our supporters over the years. People, who came to our meetings, who read our literature and who donated funds. Many thanks to you all. You have supported a very good chapter in the history of Equipping Christians for the Public Square. Please continue the good fight!
The ECP Centre Executive