IBTS travels

The danger of showing maps

I have long since argued that Baptists know something about mission, but nothing about geography. Our European Baptist Federation (EBF) includes Baptist Unions in North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia – stretching the official definition of Europe way beyond that understood by politicians and geographers.

At the second day of the 14th Conference of European Churches Assembly the General Secretary was presenting his report and as is the norm for such events now, it was being accompanied by a varied selection of power point slides. He made some reference to the churches of Europe and up came the inevitable slide, no doubt downloaded from Google images.

At the end of his excellent report, where he had switched from English to French, to German with effortless panache (he comes from Belgium and is clearly an adroit linguist) delegates descended on the microphones and we waited for important questions about mission, about Church and Society, immigrants in Europe , the European institutions and so on.

No, we had a succession of complaints about the powerpoint image of Europe! The churches in Cyprus complained – their island was not there! The official delegate of the Armenian Apostolic Church complained – Armenia was not there. Where had Iceland gone? Why wasn’t Georgia to be found?

Well, I am sure the Revd Dr Guy Liagre has ruefully learnt a lesson about the dangers of using powerpoint images and I have to revise my opinion that it is only Baptists who haven’t a clue about geography.

– Keith





Conference of European Churches Assembly the General

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