Archive for December, 2008

Christmas in Lithuania

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Merry Christmas to all those readers who have already celebrated it according to the Gregorian calendar, and happy preparations to those who are going to do that on January 7th!

It would be interesting to hear all the different stories of those of IBTS to learn how Christmas is or will be celebrated in their corner of the world this year. …Or not celebrated! – there are also those who try to avoid Christmas as much as they can (certainly understandable from the theological point of view)… Anyhow, this would be a very interesting collection, surely.

I had one of the best Christmas this year. Back at my hometown, Klaipeda (Lithuania), it’s the Christmas Eve which is the high point of the whole season. Following Lithuanian Catholic traditions, everybody is expected to spend most of the evening (and into Christmas day) around the family table. Too bad if you don’t have one (family, that is). (more…)

Developing baptistic Eucharistic communities

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Thank you to those who responded to my comment on the very ‘Zwinglian’ Lord’s Supper I endured a couple of weeks ago in Washington DC. My friend, Curtis Freeman, and others, suggested a dialogue – campaign? – to change the attitudes of truly baptistic churches. So, here is my resolution for 2009 – to engage in that dialogue via means of this blog and to make it a theme in the theological forum at Amsterdam 400.

For the benefit of new readers let me assure you we have a weekly celebration of the Eucharist at IBTS (was it not the great Jean Calvin, beloved of some, who said “infrequent celebration of the Eucharist is the very work of the devil?” – though, of course, he said it in French.). (more…)

My first Advent season

Friday, December 19th, 2008

One of our CAT Russian students, Alexandra Sergeeva (known to most here as ‘Sashenka’), reflects on her experience of celebrating Advent:

This Advent season is the first one not only for Peter Andreas (Dejan and Daily’s son)!!! For Russian speakers who came to IBTS this year, it is also the first experience of celebrating Advent.

I think it is wonderful tradition – to begin thinking about Christmas from the end of the November.  For me Christmas is a very important day… And when it is not one day, but the whole month, it gives you more time to think about this significant event. (more…)

Moments from this year’s Christmas party

Friday, December 19th, 2008

What an excitement - a visit of Santa Claus and 'Snegurochka'!

Ukrainian/Russian/Byelorussian group wishing us Merry Christmas

Alternative Santa Claus and alternative Snegurochka!

Suzi Snowflake dance


Being sentimental

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

I don’t really know about other people, but I always get very sentimental around this time of the year. Somehow everything gets bitter-sweet taste of sadness and nostalgia. And today’s gray ‘November weather’ outside does not really help the mood. Even a tiny bit of snow and sunshine would certainly be appreciated!

Christmas is much connected to the past. Family, friends, some short meetings with different people – everything suddenly becomes alive. A few favourite songs on internet Christmas radio sinks you deeper into this sea of memories…   (more…)

Advent time

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

We’re now into the third week of Advent, which for many in the IBTS community will actually be the last one: Christmas break starts this Friday and then many of the staff and students go home, where in a number of cases Advent isn’t celebrated at all.

It’s always interesting to observe various reactions to this time of waiting. We tried hard to hold off the ‘happy glittery Christmas mood’ and be serious about the preparation time and what it involves – alert waiting and active hoping. We’ve done quite well, I thought, even though yesterday in our SVCC all-age service we finally got into Christmas carols – this is our only chance before the community disperses itself! (more…)

First Baptist Church, Washington D.C.

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Established in 1802, this Baptist Church now worshiping in a sanctuary built in 1955, has a historic past and is at the heart of Embassy and Government offices on 16th Street, NW.

In the spectrum of Baptist worship it might be regarded as “High” Baptist with robed clergy and choir, and a high altar (yes, the information leaflet uses the word altar). On the Second Sunday of Advent the procession of choir and clergy also had one of the church families involved to light two of the purple advent candles. The selection of chorale music included “And the Glory” from Handel’s Messiah and we stood for the reading of the Gospel. (more…)

Welcome to the USA

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Landing at Washington Dulles Airport is always an experience. Arriving at the capital city of the world’s last superpower tightens the stomach as one imagines the struggle of trying to get in to fortress America. Obviously KLM thinks it will be a problem as they broadcast a jolly commercial from US Homeland Security telling us what to do and the dire penalties of not doing it twice!

Finally de-planed, into the immigration hall for division into the sheep (US and Canadian citizens) and the goats (rest of the world). This time there is a new amusement – jolly Disney music playing and images on screens of all sorts of Americans on farms, playing with dogs, smiling children etc all of whom shout “welcome”. Each time another plane load of travelers are disgorged into the system the tape plays again – and as the queue is very long for we aliens we get to the point of singing along. The welcome I would really like are more Border guards on duty to speed things up. It’s Saturday evening, so most desks are closed  and the queue snakes way back. (more…)