Archive for November, 2008

Trip to Elstal

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Trips to another country are always exciting! On November 17, all  M-level students of IBTS had an opportunity to stay for the night in the Baptist seminary in Estal (Germany). It was good to meet some students and to speak to teachers who showed us around the campus.  What we enjoyed the most, however, was visiting the library (you can see us in the background of the picture if you look carefully;) )

– Radostina et al

My spirit like my kite

Monday, November 24th, 2008

My spirit like my kite
has too long laid on a shelf
lovely to see but flat in broken un-put-together parts, unfilled with wind.

Today I took my kite from its box
studied it and slowly fitted together its many parts-bamboo into bamboo-
tiny rings over slender ends of frame- each part just so.
By trial and error-memories half forgotten- piece by piece- a butterfly emerged.

Before it had hung on my wall inviting oohs and aahs of admiration.
Today with string firmly attached I carried it with hopeful, doubtful hands to a windy spot.
Alone I could do nothing.
Helpfully and skillfully my new found friend gave wings to my butterfly.
Up it soared- above my head, above the trees.
Joyfully I watched it fly and knew, deeply knew it was where it belonged. (more…)

A new climate for theology

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

IBTS Environment Month is drawing to a close, the last activity being this week’s time for campus cleaning which we have (tongue-in-cheek) termed ‘subotnik,’ alluding to the legacy of the communist times when people were ‘forcefully volunteering’ to work (for free) for the betterment of the environment. The term, I think, is unknown in the English-speaking word except as a surname, but here’s an interesting description in German. Well, we hope that our volunteering here won’t be forced! The idea is that the time offered for cleaning will be the folk’s free contribution of their work hours which we can then direct to some good purpose (via Christian Aid) for some community in the Majority World. Making an explicit link between environmental issues and the real extent of poverty is especially important given that those of us coming from Eastern Europe often carry poverty complex with us which has huge behavioural implications. (more…)

A historian gets excited!

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Well, what a difference a word can make. In my investigations of the Anabaptists in Sobotište in the seventeenth century I had always been looking for reference to the Haban, as they were usually called (probably from ‘haushaben’). However, on our recent visit to the Anabaptist house in Sobotište we were able to go into a museum where we were given literature that consistently referred to the ‘Hutterites’ in the area (Anabaptists named after Jacob Hutter). I have studied the Hutterites and their interest in communal living, but some digging around in the last day or two, especially reading what Robert Friedmann (the Mennonite historian) has written, revealed a story which I found absolutely fascinating. (more…)

On the pilgrimage with the Anabaptists

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Tuesday morning started early. At 07.00, fourteen of us  – students, staff and community members – were standing in the parking lot awaiting boarding the cars for a field trip to the Anabaptist House in Sobotište (Slovakia) and a stop at Mikulov (Czech Republic, Moravia) where Balthasar Hubmaier had left a significant trace. IBTS is one of the group of partners who have a stake in the house built by the Anabaptists in what used to be their settlement in Sobotište, so we try to visit the house regularly to see it is in good order and to introduce our students to this particular part of our history and heritage.

The crew in our car shared some of the impressions from this journey as we travelled back to Praha on the already dark highway leading to Brno and further on to the capital of the country. Of course, this was an excellent opportunity for students to see some traces of the life of the Anabaptists rather than only studying about them from the books. Also, travel in itself is something than can be a treasured memory; certainly this was true in this case. (more…)

Revival at IBTS

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Revival has broken out at IBTS! That is to say we have been enjoying immensely the 2008 Hughey Lectures by Professor David W Bebbington (University of Stirling) on the subject of “Baptists and Revival“.

We (some of us especially) were fascinated to learn that revivalism was a ‘Scottish discovery,’ having begun in the 1600’s amongst the Presbyterians as a feature of the “communion season”. Well, that’s an encouragement to us in our focus on being a Eucharistic community! (more…)

His story in Prague

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

November Intensives are here! The first three days of this week also contain the Hughey lectures which form the key part of the Conference on Baptists and Revival. Plus, our Moderator from the University of Wales is visiting us. So it’s rather busy!

Intensives also provide the joy of seeing our part-time students. Below is a word from Colin Symes, our MTh in Applied Theology student from Edinburgh:

What a joy to be back at IBTS again this November and a double pleasure to be here coinciding with the Hughey Lectures. It was a suprise to come to the other end of the EU and find Professor Bebbington lecturing, having come from just 40km along the motorway from home in Edinburgh. (more…)