The first two full weeks in November usually mean Intensive session for IBTS – and it certainly has been a very intensive period so far! As you may have seen in an earlier blog entry, several of us have started our last week in Amsterdam, listening to Dr Cathy Ross talking on Global Christianity and Hospitality for our Nordenhaug lectures. Then the ‘IBTS crew’ travelled back, picking up one of our students, Kristina from Latvia, who continued with her classes in our Prague campus.
This week traditionally is the Dissertation Writing Seminar Week. So yesterday we welcomed and today we listened to the dissertation proposals of six of our M-level students: Walid from Lebanon, Ben from South Russia, Torben from Denmark, Anatoliy from the Ukraine, Tomek from Poland, and Ingeborg from the Netherlands. As you can imagine, this is quite a feast for anyone interested in contextual theological studies! To me, this is one of the favourite times: hearing the students beginning to verbalise their research plans, listening to their motivations for taking up a specific topic, wrestling with almost inevitably too wide an area of research, then focussing, then hearing them report again and seeing the proposals maturing and taking shape, and writing commencing. What a privilege to walk alongside them, encourage them, and see them grow as theological thinkers and servants to their faith communities!
One other exciting addition this week has been the first visit of our Academic Advisor, Prof David Law, for our new MA in Baptistic Histories and Theologies programme. He also took part in one of the dissertation proposal reporting sessions, met with the staff and students, and offered encouraging comments and helpful questions. Although this year’s intake for this new programme is small given the timing of its commencement, it’s exciting to see the opportunities this programme provides to those interested in reflecting on the history, theology, practice, or mission of baptistic communities. If I were to start my M-level education now, this is the programme I would want to do!! So if you are interested, or know someone contemplating master-level theology studies, do have a look at this one! (Well, the last bit may sound like a ‘PR exercise’, but it really comes out of my genuine excitement for this newest ‘baby’ of IBTS!)
So, just a bit of an update for those of you interested in how things are going! Will try to post some photos tomorrow for those of you visual people. Do keep us in your thoughts and prayers.