• Grass tales

    Footworn, almost grassless, spot in the middle of a meadow… Does it bring about any associations? A drought, another consequence of global warming… Or irresponsible, unlimited collection of wild flowers… Or, though unlikely but not impossible, the IBTS goats have finally started to ‘mown’ grass and simply overdid that particular spot? Believe it or not, but such seemingly sad image of dying grass can also have a positive meaning. Today I was looking at this slowly widening footworn spot while standing under the net on the volleyball court next to the meadow on the top of IBTS hill, and I had a very good feeling about it. It has been less than…

  • Running Prague half-marathon

    Since July, IBTS has been buzzing about this year being monumental because as a seminary we are celebrating our 60th Anniversary! It’s an opportune year to highlight so many things about this seminary’s work in Christian communities not only in Central Eastern Europe, but around the world! During this Diamond Jubilee, IBTS is looking for friends to donate towards special birthday gifts which will help the seminary continue educate students for ministry. This made me think, what can I do? I love IBTS. I love what it stands for and what it does. I love the people who sit around our worship circle every morning. I love the guests who…

  • Peace and Reconciliation at the EBF Council in Lisboa

    Though the theme of the EBF Council was “Creation Care and Environment”, perhaps the most notable moment came on the Friday night when Archbishop Malkhaz (Georgia Baptists) invited us to a celebration of the Eucharist and prayers for peace in the troubled region of Ossetia and Georgia. Using a “shortened” version of the eucharistic liturgy of John Chrysostom he co-celebrated with Karin Wiborn (Swedish Baptist Union). The small lecture room assigned for the purpose was soon overcrowded as EBF Baptists, of every liturgical persuasion and non, gathered around the table and joined in the liturgy. We prayed fervently for peace and reconcilation in the region, we shared the one cup…

  • Baptists, silence, and meat

    Cathedral wears Esprit I’m having quite a good time in the ECEN Assembly. A few people were curious to learn I’m a Baptist, with a hint of “we thought Baptists didn’t care about things like environment.” Hmmm…. I’m also glad to report that Italian Baptists have been quite instrumental in helping to organise this meeting. As is often the case with ecumenical gatherings, things can be quite slow at times, so some sessions required some patience, but as usual the breaks with their conversations and contacts have been meaningful and useful in various ways. Yesterday afternoon provided another highlight, when, organised by an Italian Baptist, we held an ‘Hour of…

  • Environment at top of the EBF agenda

    Whilst ECEN meet near Milan, EBF are meeting at Lisboa (Lisbon) and also reflecting on the theology of creation care. Helle Liht (Estonia) led a devotional on the theme looking at the created order in Genesis. Then the keynote address – “Why we should care from a Biblical perspective” – was delivered in full and handsome manor by scientist turned OT scholar, Dr Ernest Lucas (Bristol, England). However, as Lina blogged earlier, it seems a mountainous journey to awake many in Europe to the concern. I tried to judge the impact of what Ernest was saying on the folk from eastern Europe sat around me, but engaging with the detailed…

  • The True Challenge of Climate Change

    This is the theme of the 7th Assembly of the European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN), currently taking place in a lovely Villa Sacro Cuore near Milano. I’m taking part as a representative of IBTS. There are nearly 100 participants from different churches and organisations in Europe, though most of them are from the ‘West’. Thus for me the most pressing part of the challenge of our theology of creation care remains this: how our talk about ecological theology can, and should, be rendered in the language meaningful to an Eastern European believer. I’m thinking particularly of some of our students, coming from Central Asia, who are glad to have 12…

  • In the footsteps of Martin Luther

    Sunday and Monday, a group of students, led by Peter Penner, held a special session of their Bible, Community and Context module: a field trip to see Wartburg, Wittenberg and the Augustinian Monastery in Erfurt, with the purpose of engaging with the life and work of Luther. Jenny (Kazakhstan) and Radostina (Bulgaria) share this picture and their impressions: It was really special to be able to see where Luther lived when he was translating the Bible. Being in Wartburg castle felt like seeing and touching the time when he lived. We actually expected to see a place with no electricity or water but were impressed to discover it was a very…

  • Suffering for the Gospel in Portugal

    This week about 120 European Baptist leaders are descending on an Atlantic coast hotel just north of Lisbon. Your advance guard reporter can inform you the sky is blue, the sun is hot, the swimming pool is just below my balcony (no Baptist leaders in at present, but then it is only 07.30am) and the sea and beach just metres beyond!   This is the annual Council of the EBF, full of Presidents, General Secretaries, National Directors, Seminary Rectors and all. With great flourish our Russian Baptist leaders proposed a reconciliation meeting with Archbishop Malkhaz and his Baptist bishops from Georgia. The Georgians are coming, but latest rumour is that…