Last weekend, and some days prior to it, have been spent by me, Lydie, Parush and Keith in the meeting of the Consortium of the European Baptist Theological Schools and the European Baptist Theological Teachers’ Conference. It was a great time indeed – great somewhat unexpectedly for me as I approached the event with anxiety, being involved in its organisation, with a concern how it’s going to work out given that our numbers were much smaller than usual and some bits of Europe weren’t represented at all. It seems to be a tough year for conferences of any sort.
But the hope that small numbers might result in deeper and remarkable exchange of ideas and experience was fulfilled over the full measure.
As another member of the CEBTS Core Team, Richard Kidd of the Northern Baptist Learning Community, has observed, you don’t often see folk going on discussing the topics of the presentations after the sessions are over; but this kept happening time and again, and especially over the meal and the drink. I think it was partly that we could see how all these topics – under the heading of “Baptist Learning in Community: Cognitive and Non-cognitive Expressions of Identity”. At least some of the presentations we hope to publish in our own JEBS.
Yet the most powerful impression for me personally from this conference was an Urban Pilgrimage some of us took on a Saturday afternoon. Glen, one of the tutors at Northern Baptist Learning Community, which was hosting us, has done it a few weeks ago for their MA students – you can read about it here. Going out into the centre of Manchester with an encouragement and the permission, so to speak, to watch, listen, smell, touch, and think of God’s presence there and what God might be saying, turned out to be a really special experience which I certainly want to repeat in Prague.
These have certainly been days well spent – and I’m not sorry at all it involved a summer weekend.