Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

Vienna and Vienna again…

Monday, March 27th, 2017

In the past two weeks I have been in Vienna twice to participate in two EBF conferences.

The first of these was the EBF Younger Leaders’ Programme TRANSFORM held from 15-18 March. Present were six men and five women who had been identified by their Baptist Unions or Conventions as having gifts and potential to exercise leadership in a wider setting with an international dimension. The focus of this gathering was on discipleship and I contributed around themes of: less conventional biblical images of discipleship as leadership, the communal nature of discipleship, and the practices of discipleship. Perhaps a key theme which emerged through all of this was how we deal with and respect different cultural contexts which influence biblical interpretation.

After a few days back in Amsterdam I returned for the  joint conference of EBF Mission and Evangelism Commission and Youth and Children Workers.

At this conference I had the task of ‘re-imagining’ discipleship, the Church, and mission. Of course whether what I offered was a re-imagining would depend upon how people imagined these things in the first place! On this again, contextual, cultural, and hermeneutical come into play. This said, I would suggest that re-imagining these issues begins by us not separating these issues, or arguing which one has priority, but rather by viewing them as integrated in the call, challenge, and grace of Jesus Christ which takes priority. In so far as we can talk about them separately I drew upon the work of the late Athol Gill to offer the biblical images of…Following Jesus, Friends for the Journey, and Engaging the Powers as perspectives from which to view discipleship, Church, and mission respectively. In viewing each on in this way one cannot really talk about them without reference to the others.

Part of the pleasure in being in Vienna was to see the great and developmental work being carried out by the Baptist Church there under the leadership of Walter Klimt and his team. To be honest they are embodying what I was talking about in a clear way. Below is Walter beginning the Conference speaking about Luke 4.

 

Stuart

‘Prophetic’ theological education

Saturday, March 4th, 2017

In a previous post I raised the question of what is the ‘theological’ in theological education? In so doing I was pointing to the CEBTS conference in 2018.

Here is one example from ‘The Institute of Middle East Studies ‘of such theological work on the nature of theological education that others could learn and reflect on…Theological Education as Formation for Prophetic Ministry

What is the ‘theological’ in theological education?

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

In 2018 IBTSC Amsterdam will again take the lead in arranging a meeting of the Consortium of European Baptist Theological Schools. The final dates and venue have yet to be confirmed but it is likely to happen at the end of June 2018.

The theme of this conference gathering will be ‘What is the “theological” in theological education?’ This will be an invitation to think theologically about the practice.

It could be argued that at times it appears that the only thing that makes theological education ‘theological’ is the content, an emphasis which may or may not be accompanied by a focus on education.

The main question invites the potential for a range of trajectories, some perhaps provocative and the following only offered as examples…

‘Is talk of formation a myth, if not, how do we know that it has taken place, how does it take place, where does it take place, and how do we measure it?’

‘Is ministerial “training” different from theological “education”?’

‘Does the theological school need to be free from the Church as well as the State in order to serve the Church?’

‘In-church training is all the rage, is it a false panacea?’

‘How does the theological school serve the Church?’

‘Should and how can the theological school be prophetic?’

‘What has bread and wine got to do with books and seminars in a day and age when much education is distance and part-time?’

There will be a call for papers at the end of the year.

 

 

 

CEBTS Elstal

Monday, July 4th, 2016

CEBTS (1)Between Wednesday 29th June and Saturday 2nd of July the bi-annual meeting of the Confederation of European Baptist Schools took place in Elstal Germany hosted by the Theologische Hochschule Elstal. The theme of this particular conference was: In which way is our Baptist Movement linked to or in tension with the Reformation in Europe in the 16th century?

A number of shorter and longer papers were presented which allowed insight into the ways in which the events of the Reformation impacted various countries and contexts such as Spain and Italy and also the way in which various theological themes have been and can be interpreted. Some of these will be published in a future edition of IBTSC Baptistic Theologies.

A guided day trip to Lutherstadt Wittenberg offered a fascinating insight into the events associated with martin Luther.

The theme aside, as ever, those participating valued the opportunity for contact and conversations with others also involved in Baptist theological education in Europe and beyond and the hope of this years participants is that another event will be held in 2017.

Thanks to Richard and Jo-Anne

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

Pieter, Richard, and Jo-Ann

Over the years IBTS in its various incarnations has benefited from the support of volunteers who in a variety of ways have contributed significantly to the institution and its students in many different ways. This year we were pleased to welcome the contribution of Richard and Jo-Ann Matiachuk from Canada. After a visit earlier in the year we were delighted when at their own expense they came back for two weeks in October/November. During this period they brought their expertise in specific areas such as the library and in editing material for a future Journal. In both areas work began that will have longer importance. In addition, however, they were quite simply willing and ready to help out as we hosted the Nordenhaug lectures and then held our conference. Their presence and personalities enriched our common lives.

Richard (here pictured with Jo-Ann and our librarian Pieter) writes:

‘As for why we came to help … well we have been aware of IBTSC (and its earlier iterations) for nearly 40 years. We had heard the “school” had moved and brought the library with it (a major undertaking) and we knew there was a new librarian on site. I was working in a theological library, have been actively involved in mentoring librarians, have participated in leadership on a library association board and, have been committed to “giving back” to the profession.

We have always wanted to be involved in Christian ministry outside Canada. Jo-Ann and I are now at a time and place in our lives and careers where we can help outside our local context. And so we wanted to use our time, gifts, training (and some of our financial resources) to ‘give back’ to (invest in) a Christian work.

With our knowledge about IBTSC, our availability and your willingness to have us come help it seemed like a door had opened to be able to serve God’s greater kingdom work outside our local community.’

Our thanks to them and all the volunteers over the years past and present who enable the work of theological thinking from a specifically baptistic and international perspective to happen.

Nordenhaug at Herdenkingskerk

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Nodenhaug

Nodenhaug

 

As mentioned in other posts, on Monday 2nd November 2015 the Nordenhaug lectures will take place. Josef Nordenhaug was between 1950 and 1960 the inspirational President of the first incarnation of this institution then located in Rüschlikon, Switzerland. These lectures are delivered in his memory.

Last year we were delighted to receive this Photographic Biography of Josef Nordenhaug from his daughter Karin Nordenhaug Ciholas. For those interested in the history of European Baptist Church life and indeed the Rüschlikon Seminary this is a fascinating and informative book. Yesterday a former volunteer at  Rüschlikon visiting the IBTS Centre looked through the book with great interest.

This year the lectures to be delivered by Dr David P. Gushee will be delivered in the Herdenkingskerk, a church building a two minute walk from the IBTS Centre in Amsterdam.

Originally we had planned to hold the lectures at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam but for some practical reasons we moved them to the church building. As I reflect upon this I am pleased about the change for a couple of reasons.

The first is that the tradition of this institution considers that academic theology is ‘secondary theology’, and that it exists to serve the Christian community in its life, worship and witness (primary theology). Insofar as these lectures represent ‘academic theology’ I think that there is something symbolically significant about them taking place as it were in the home of some local congregations rather than the ‘academy’.

The second reason, however, is one that was a pleasant surprise to me. IMG_0002For as my friend, sitting in our library, looked through the Nordenhaug book, she said: ‘Is that not the church along the road?’ So indeed on page 212 there is a picture of the opening of the Herdenkingskerk opened in 1964 – presumably an event at which Josef was present. I love the moments of connection, a former volunteer (originally from America now in Canada)  reading about a former President of Rüschlikon (a Norwegian) notices that a church building in Amsterdam is in the photographic biography of that President just a week before the lectures held in his honour and the tradition he represents are about to take place in that building! I have to say, it made me smile.

Update

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Attached are the full details of the forthcoming Nordenhaug lectures. Please note times and change of venue.

Gushee.jpg

Monday 2nd November 2015

in

Herdenkingskerk op de Postjesweg 150 (hoek Jan Tooropstraat), 1061 AX Amsterdam.

(A one minute walk from Postjesweg Metro Station)

Lectures:

10.00 am ‘Sacredness and Christian Scripture’

11.30 am ‘Sacredness and Christian tradition’

2.00pm ‘Sacredness and contemporary application’

(Attendance is free and each lecture will be followed by an opportunity for questions and discussion)

If you plan to attend while not necessary it would be helpful if you have not already done so to contact blythe@ibts.eu in order to help with providing tea/coffee.

IBTSC is is a collaborative centre within the Faculty of Theology of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam & an approved partner of the University of Manchester

Call for Conference Papers

Friday, July 17th, 2015

IBTSC will host a Conference on ‘Conflicting Convictions’ on Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th of November 2015 in Baptist House, Amsterdam. This conference will explore disagreements among Christians on ‘matters that matter’ and responses to such.

Already a number of people have offered papers on topics of conflict indeed perhaps encouraging some debate on a number of contested issues.

We are also continuing to look for papers that will explore conflict among people who claim to hold to the same Christian ‘tradition’: its nature, causes, risks, opportunities and how such can be responded to and dealt with. Papers can be offered from a range of perspectives, biblical, theological, historical, practical. There is the opportunity following conference review to be published in our Journal, Baptistic Theologies.

We invite contributions from not only from more experienced writers and scholars but also from aspiring and developing scholars. For those who may wish to offer more provisional and developing work there is an opportunity for publication in the Journal of European Baptist Studies which as well as containing the work of more established writers was created to help young and new scholars publish in an English language European Journal.

To offer or to discuss the possibility of a paper please contact, Stuart Blythe, blythe@ibts.eu.

There is no charge to attend the conference although there will be a small fee to cover lunch provision and participants are responsible for their own travel, food, and accommodation.

At present, we have no bursaries to help people come but if  you would be willing to contribute towards another person being able to come please be in touch.

The Conference will follow the delivery of the Nordenhaug lectures on Monday 2nd November 2015. These will be delivered by Dr David P. Gushee who is the Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Director of the Centre for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University, Atlanta & Macon, Georgia. He will deliver three lectures on ‘What it means to say that human life is sacred?’. Gushee.jpg

 

Dr David P. Gushee who is the Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life Mercer University, Atlanta & Macon, Georgia.
Widely regarded as one of the leading moral voices in American Christianity, he is the author or editor of 20 books and hundreds of articles in his field, including Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust, Kingdom Ethics, The Sacredness of Human Life. He will deliver three lectures on the Monday on the theme of ‘What it means to say that human life is sacred’.