Simon Oxley shares some of his impressions of the Colloquium:
Two welcomes, one hoped for and one unplanned, were highlights the Research Colloquium in Amsterdam for me. The hoped for welcome came from the faculty and administrative staff of the VU. They turned out in force to meet us when we had a mass visit early in the fortnight. Then several professors came one by one to listen to and then discuss progress reports by students. It was very reassuring and encouraging to see the confirmation that IBTS is a valued partner.
The unplanned welcome came in an urban walk, part of the students’ Migration and Dislocation conference in the middle of the colloquium. A group of us was exploring the immediate neighbourhood of the church that will become the Baptist House. We walked by a mosque and looked in. Instead of being told that it was Friday prayers and they were busy, we were welcomed in, offered tea and engaged in conversation – fortunately for us some of them spoke English! We accepted an invitation to observe their prayer. We learnt about the Moroccan community and their perception of the neighbourhood. I hope that there will be an opportunity sometime for us to return their hospitality. The question that I’m left with is what would happen if a group of Muslims exploring my neighbourhood turned up just before Sunday worship.