At the close of the SICRIE workshop, participants were invited to take part in Sunday worship in some church in Sofia. Eight of us, on the invitation of the Revd Theodor Oprenov, worshipped together with the Baptist community at the First Baptist church on Osogovo street. Accidentally, the service coincided with the 130 year celebration of the Baptist movement in Bulgaria, and the preacher was Dr Neville Callam, the General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance. Greetings were also shared by Revd Tony Peck, General Secretary of our own European Baptist Federation.
Theodor (known to most as Tedy) invited also to share some of the experiences and insights learned during the workshop, as well as about the current situation at IBTS. For me, being in my home church, it was so moving to see many familiar faces of people with whom I had started my walk in faith. What moved me almost to tears was the spontaneous response of this small and rather impoverished congregation to the needs of IBTS as an institution which contributed significantly in preparing women and men to the ministry to the Bulgarian Baptist and Evangelical communities. And so in a gesture of appreciation and concern, they collected a love offering for IBTS and its mission. The former General Secretary of the EBF, Revd Dr Theo Angelov, prayed that the vision and the ministry of IBTS would continue and flourish.
A small congregation – giving out of their heart and out of what they barely have, and providing such a great encouragement for us in the present situation. Couldn’t help but think of the biblical story of the widow in the temple… Perhaps some others will join in.