On July 9 another CEBTS meeting occurred. Due to the restrictions caused by COVID-19 pandemic this forum was arranged online, thus complying with the conditions of the time. Nevertheless, it was great to meet many friends and see some new faces.
Quite predictably the meeting was devoted to the subject of COVID-19 impact on theological education. Two excellent presentations by Einike Pili and Michael Rhode approached the subject from different angles. Einike presented an educational perspective while Michael provided an overview and suggestions for theological response to the pandemic. Both speakers shared good and deep insights which also resonated with what theological institutions and churches have experienced in Ukraine.
In addition to presentations the organisers did their best to give the participants chance to share their thoughts and experiences in small groups. Personally, I noticed how similar the challenges and responses to the COVID-19 crisis are in different parts of Europe. Small group conversations with the colleagues was a great encouragement and time of real fellowship in spite of the geographical distance. This positive experience prompted a number of participants to suggest keeping such meetings on a regular basis even when the restrictions for travel and bigger meetings will be cancelled. I am sure that both the online conferences and meetings with physical presence help, albeit differently, to express one of the key values of the Church – fellowship of the saints.
Odessa Theologicla Seminary, Ukraine