Archive for October, 2013

Thank you, Ruth, and well done!

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Ruth Gouldbourne, with the former BOT Chair Emanuel Wieser

This weekend Ruth Gouldbourne will make the journey from London to IBTS in Prague to chair the IBTS Board of Trustees and she will do it with the absolute commitment she has shown since she first joined the Board over ten years ago (for the detailed history of IBTS see Carol Woodfin An Experiment in Christian Internationalism – A history of the European Baptist Theological Seminary, Macon, GA: Baptist History and Heritage, 2013).

Ruth first served as a member of the Academic committee of the Board, and then when Emmanuel Wieser completed his term as Chair, the European Baptist Federation Council appointed Ruth in his stead. Ruth would say to us that this type of task is not one of her natural and extensive gifts. She is an outstanding scholar and Anabaptist historian; she is an excellent preacher and worship leader (she is one of the ministers of Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church in London, which has always had excellent preachers). Yet, those of us who have witnessed her chair some intense and complex meetings of the Trustees and cope with a wide range of Trustees drawn from different traditions of governance would say she has been an amazing person holding the IBTS Board together and ensuring the work got done and always within the time frame of enabling people to get their Saturday early evening flights home.

Ruth, with Iain her husband, is a devoted and committed supporter of all that IBTS stands for – the vision of a worshiping community leading to high quality academic work for the sake of the churches. Ruth delivered the Hughey Lectures at IBTS in 1998 and her Whitley Lecture “Reinventing the Wheel – Women and Ministry in English Baptist Life” is often consulted by several of us. Ruth has lectured for IBTS, examined for IBTS and cares deeply about IBTS. We hope our connections with Ruth and Iain will continue!

At this moment, we pray for Ruth and the Board as they move forward the issues of transition from the beloved Prague campus to Amsterdam, as they consider the appointment of a new Rector and move on to complete the Academic team. Though Ruth continues in post as Chair until midnight on 31 December, late afternoon on 2 November will see her conclude her last “ordinary” board and on this blog site we salute Ruth, thank God for her and pray God will continue to bless her in her ministry.

– Lina, Parush and Keith

Wishing a valued partner institution well!

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Monday night, 14 October, saw two of us as representatives of IBTS present at Luther King House in Rusholme, Manchester, for a “Service to mark the new ministries of Clare McBeath, Glen Marshall and Tim Mountain at the Northern Baptist Learning Community.”

It was a lovely service, with a thoughtful act of worship led by different members of  NBLC, including two newly-appointed Regional Ministers, Mary Taylor (Yorkshire) and Tim Presswood (North West), both of whom are NBLC alumni.

Clare and Glen become Co-Principals of NBLC, following in the pattern of co-principalship established by good friends of IBTS, Richard Kidd and Anne Phillips. Tim joins the tutorial team.

Within the European Baptist community and networked through the Consortium of European Baptist Theological Schools these relationships and connections are very important. In this challenging Christian and academic environment there is no place for our Baptist seminaries to stand alone – we need each other!

So, the links between IBTS and NBLC are many – sharing in conferences; having an NBLC Co-Principal as an External Examiner; now sharing in the community of theological colleges who have degrees validated by the University of Manchester (including Spurgeon’s College); the triangular relationship involving the Non-Residential Bible School in Lithuania, IBTS and NBLC. These  all add to our common life together and we rejoice in this inter-connectedness.

Permit us one additional link. Clare is an IBTS alumna!  After undergraduate work in Aberdeen and on the way to postgraduate work in Manchester, Clare spent a year at IBTS, so we claim our small part in her formation and look forward with enthusiasm to future working together in the important task of forming women and men for service within the baptistic communities of Europe, Central Asia  and the Middle East!

– Lina and Keith


A reminder…

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

…that our Nordenhaug Lectures are less than a month away! Those planning to take part please register!

Yorkshire Baptist Ministers’ Day

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

It’s some 23 years since I could last be classified as a “Yorkshire Baptist Minister” (that is to say resident in the historic white rose county and having some ministerial input into a member church). So, it was good to return as a somewhat lowly “Team Enabler” on Monday having last been there as the General Secretary. About 35 of us were gathered together, with almost as many apologies (guess they had heard I was to be the morning speaker), but a good event.

I had offered various titles to speak on and was surprised to find the chosen title was “Is there a future for ordained Baptist ministry in Yorkshire tomorrow?”

So,  I reflected on my own calling to the “Ministry of Word and Sacrament” some thirty plus years ago, funded, partly, by the Lady Hewley Trust (a Dissenter who lived in York in the 1600’s) and who had a clear (Presbyterian) view of what a Dissenting minister should do.

I owe a lot to Lady Hewley, but in my lecture sought to challenge the accepted Protestant vision of the Ministry of Word and Sacrament, to point my colleagues towards the Radical Reformation, the ideas of John Howard Yoder and Jim McClendon and help them to appropriate that radical reformation zeal towards establishing gathering, convictional, intentional, porous, meal-eating communities in the urban wilderness that is now West Yorkshire.

They seemed to like the idea of enabling the fullness of Christ to flourish amongst the whole people of God and I came away feeling satisfied that some had “food for thought” in the business of making our contemporary baptistic churches live with relevance and with hope.

– Keith

IBTS in Czech Rectors’ Conference

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

On Monday 30th September, the IBTS rector took part in the official opening of the new academic year 2013/14, organized by the Czech Rectors Conference. This year, the event took place in Pardubice and was joint with awarding the „doctor honoris causa“ – “the honorary doctor” – title of the Pardubice University.

The welcome speech was given by prof. Ludwig, Rector of the host university. After him, prof. Hampl, Rector of the Charles University and President of the Czech Rectors Conference gave his address. (It is available in Czech here.) He stressed the importance of personal responsibility in the area of higher education, the need of honouring the ethics and principles of fairness in the academic and scientific life. Doc. Fischer, the President of Council of Universities, observed that the quality of Czech higher education is increasing, despite the difficult conditions caused by the political instability and poor state funding. The president of the student body of the Council expressed his belief in cooperation between the students, faculty members and other stake-holders in the education area.

The title „doctor honoris cause“ was awarded to Dr. Jean-Luc Adam from France for the area of solid substances chemistry, and to Prof. Dr. S.N.Balagangadhara Rao from India (who for some 40 years has worked in Europe in Gent, Belgium) for his outstanding contribution to the comparative science of cultures and religion.

– Katka K