Archive for October, 2010

What can we change?

Friday, October 29th, 2010

This week, we’ve started our Environment month – and being a month, it will run for four weeks, but this first week has been especially focused on environment for our CAT students as their lectures were all on creation care. We were glad to have Dr John Weaver of South Wales Baptist College with us for these lectures, and today the CATs shared some of their own reactions (very positive and enthusiastic – even more so than some other years) to what they’ve been exploring throughout the week.

Some of those reactions are ‘postable’ in terms of format, so we thought you may enjoy them too. Here comes the first one – a presentation prepared by Diana, our Lithuanian CAT. Click on Litle Change .

American Spaghetti

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Quite often, we get people who come to IBTS to spend their sabbatical or research time. It can be as short as several days, but some stay for a longer period of time, and that’s the case with a lovely couple from the US, Josh and Alison, who have become a part of our community for the whole academic year. We’ve already become good friends and are enjoying different ways they take part in community’s life (including Josh playing our bongos!). Here’s a little snapshot from their blog where Alison describes preparing a supper for our weekly Bible study for CATs (full version can be found here):

[I had to] decide what to cook this Tuesday for the 25 students who attend Bible study. It was a difficult choice since the request was that I prepare something that represented my culture or family. If you think about it there are not many true American dishes, and since I was serving a bunch of Europeans I knew they would instantly sniff out a fraud if I attempted to Americanize a dish. In light of this, I decided to go with the second request and prepare a family based dish: spaghetti. If you are reading this and have ever dined at the Kilgore house, at some point you have probably been served spaghetti; if you are reading this and have ever eaten at “my” house (over the past five or so years) at some point you have probably been served spaghetti. 🙂 Needless to say it is a staple in my diet so I figured- Eastern European students, I know it’s Italian but here it comes! (more…)

Lake Baikal and its seals

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

For our yesterday’s EMPTy spot (a more or less weekly pausing to reflect on some aspect of creation care), we talked about the gift of water and watched this lovely video of the seals who live in the Lake Baikal – the oldest and deepest lake in the world. (I didn’t even know there were seals living in fresh water – turns out there are three types!) Folk in the Chapel clearly enjoyed it, so we thought those who are not on campus might too.

– Lina

Being encouraged

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

At the close of the SICRIE workshop, participants were invited to take part in Sunday worship in some church in Sofia. Eight of us, on the invitation of the Revd Theodor Oprenov, worshipped together with the Baptist community at the First Baptist church on Osogovo street. Accidentally, the service coincided with the 130 year celebration of the Baptist movement in Bulgaria, and the preacher was Dr Neville Callam, the General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance. Greetings were also shared by Revd Tony Peck, General Secretary of our own European Baptist Federation.

Theodor (known to most as Tedy) invited also to share some of the experiences and insights learned during the workshop, as well as about the current situation at IBTS. For me, being in my home church, it was so moving to see many familiar faces of people with whom I had started my walk in faith. What moved me almost to tears was the spontaneous response of this small and rather impoverished congregation to the needs of IBTS as an institution which contributed significantly in preparing  women and men to the ministry to the Bulgarian Baptist and Evangelical communities. And so in a gesture of appreciation and concern, they collected a love offering for IBTS and its mission. The former General Secretary of the EBF, Revd Dr Theo Angelov, prayed that the vision and the ministry of IBTS would continue and flourish.

A small congregation – giving out of their heart and out of what they barely have, and providing such a great encouragement for us in the present situation. Couldn’t help but think of the biblical story of the widow in the temple… Perhaps some others will join in.

– Parush

Contrast time, learning time

Monday, October 11th, 2010

For over a year now, IBTS, alongside other three partners from the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Northern Ireland and Lithuania has been involved in a project called SICRIE, sponsored by the EU’s Grundvig programme. The partners meet four times during the course of the project. The first meeting took place in Prague last November; another one in Northern Ireland in May of this year; and yesterday, together with other colleagues, I have returned from the third which took us to Sofia, Bulgaria.

Actually, not just Sofia. Divided into three different groups, we saw Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Rila Monastery and work with Roma community in Sofia itself.

Plovdiv, where I went with a few others, sounds like fun; and fun it was, of course, to see its 2nd century AD amphitheatre dug out just a few decades ago, the the Roman stadium, or the Djumaya mosque. But what has made the greatest impact on all of us was a walk through a Turkish-speaking Roma district – really, a ghetto. We were welcomed there by a German family of “real” missionaries – you know, the ones who actually live, rather than only serve, there, who have their children marrying the locals (yes, including someone from the ghetto itself)… “Real” missionaries who asked us not to take pictures because they don’t want the inhabitants to feel like in a zoo. That by itself spoke worlds about the respect we were expected to have for those people, and yet also a sense of realism of the hardships one should expect to encounter when settling in such a challenging setting. (more…)