Archive for June, 2009

Integration in the new Europe

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Those of us living in the European Union are coming to terms with the outcomes of the elections for our Parliament. We are also breathing a collective sigh of relief that the Czech Presidency of the EU is coming to an end very soon now and we will be in the safe and serious hands of the Swedish Government for the rest of the year.  No more sarcastic art works like David Cerny’s Entropa in Brussels, which portrays Bulgaria as a toilet, Romania as a Dracula theme-park and France as a country on strike! No more of Czech President Klaus telling all European leaders there is no such thing as “global warming climate change caused by human activities”.

We’re back to the gentle pattern of  EU integration – enjoying Lithuanian cepelinai in Prague, Yorkshire Pudding in Sevile, French bread in Wroclaw and Spanish tapas in Mytholmroyd.

However, can it all go too far ? Are there no national boundaries to be respected within the EU? For generations the Latvians have had brown cows and the Lithuanians black and white cows. Imagine my consternation when journeying from Riga to Klaipeda to discover brown cows had strayed across the border as far south as the Trakai – and black cows were to be found in the proximity of Riga airport! Thankfully, the famous and mythical Latvian blue cow seemed safely confined to its usual home in the eating hostelries beside the Daugava River in the capital.

– Keith

(Note from the co-moderator of the blog: whilst searching for appropriate pictures and links, I got quite excited with the number of sites devoted to cows and cattle breeds and so on! If you also think this may be exciting, check out, for example, this – or this.)

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Diamond Jubilee!

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Apologies for a bit of a silence on the blog, but it’s been terribly busy: IBTS was at its festive best with the community celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of our institution, holding a Graduation ceremony, a birthday party and a service of thanksgiving.

Over 150 people gathered at the Jenerálka campus to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee at the conclusion of the 60th Academic Year. The President and General Secretary of the EBF, Toma Magda and Tony Peck, led an assembly of alumni from Rüschlikon and Prague, members of the Board of Trustees, friends of the seminary, volunteers, staff, students and community in a whole series of special events over a four day period. The Graduation on the Friday was a highlight in a year which saw 24 people gain a Master of Theology degree, four people Doctor of Philosophy and eighteen the Certificate of Theology diploma. They were awarded their diplomas by Dr Gouldbourne and dressed in their academic gowns and hoods by the Rector, the Revd Dr Keith G Jones, and the Pro-Rector, the Revd docent Dr Parush R Parushev. Other students were valedicted as they moved to the dissertation writing stage of their Masters, Magister and Doctoral degrees.

The following day a Birthday party and B-B-Q was held with greetings in person from the EBF Officers, the Chair of the Board of Trustees former Faculty and students and a message from the President of the Baptist World Alliance, Dr David R Coffey.

On Sunday members of the IBTS community joined with the Šárka Valley Community Church, which meets on the campus, in an open air Pentecost service of celebration and thanksgiving. There were special items from an IBTS student choir, children of the church painted a special mural and the address was given by the Rector.

The whole celebratory weekend was rounded off by an evening Ceilidh led by Mr Don King from Scotland, a frequent volunteer at, and good supporter of IBTS.

We have had a marvelous Diamond Jubilee. It was a delight to welcome back to IBTS people like Dr G Keith Parker, who served on the Faculty in the 1970’s, student presidents from several eras and good friends and supporters of the seminary. The presence of the EBF President and General Secretary throughout the celebrations was a reminder of how much the seminary is valued by the European Baptist Federation.

Don’t forget to purchase our special “IBTS Unique” Diamond Jubilee book! Until you do that, here are some pictures for you to enjoy from the celebratory weekend:

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