PROPOSAL TO MOVE IBTS TO AMSTERDAM: THE CORE NEWS

IBTS will move to Amsterdam as an International Baptist Study and Research Centre, probably by September 2014.  This is the unanimous recommendation of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Seminary to the Council of the European Baptist Federation (EBF) that will meet in Elstal, Germany, from 26-29 September 2012 to take the final decision. The proposal is to move into a new phase of partnership with the VU (Free) University of Amsterdam, the Baptist Union of the Netherlands and the Baptist Seminary of the Netherlands.  In this way the Board of Trustees is confident that IBTS will continue to be at the forefront of European and worldwide Baptist research and study.

The global financial situation that has adversely affected the income of IBTS and the increasing financial burden of the upkeep of a very large suite of buildings in Prague, led to a severe financial crisis for IBTS from 2008 onwards. The BOT has been seeking to address this in a positive and visionary way, considering several options to secure the best possible future for IBTS.  The conclusion was reached that the only way to meet the clear desire of European Baptists to continue the work of the Seminary was to refocus it as a non-residential International Baptist Study and Research Centre.  This means selling the property in Prague and moving to a new location that better meets the current needs of IBTS, and in co-operation with a local Baptist Union and Seminary and a new academic context.

One of the joys of being Baptist is living with the provisional nature of all institutions, and the capacity to reshape how we do things to meet changing situations, comments  Chair of the Board of Trustees, Dr Ruth Gouldbourne:  It is exciting to see God once again leading us into new places, and to rest in the faith of this community, that wherever God leads God also opens the way and equips the people.

In Amsterdam, IBTS will be located in a “Baptist House’, a Baptist church building in South Amsterdam.  The Baptist house will be shared by IBTS (including its specialist Library of Baptist and Anabaptist books and journals), the Baptist Union of the Netherlands which will move its offices to Amsterdam, the Baptist Seminary of the Netherlands, and the office of the EBF. Work to renovate and extend the church building will be carried out by the Baptist Union of the Netherlands. The “Baptist House’ will provide a setting to continue the strong community ethos of IBTS which is seen as one of its unique strengths by both staff and students.

IBTS has been invited to become an ‘embedded institution’ in the Faculty of Theology of the VU University Amsterdam, which is situated close to the proposed Baptist House.  This University, founded by Dutch Calvinists, is now a large Public University which seeks to preserve a Christian ‘ethos’.  The Faculty of Theology is one of the largest in Europe and already has several seminaries, including the Dutch Mennonites and Baptists, as embedded institutions.  This will give the opportunity for sharing of academic and practical resources and higher degrees awarded by the VU University. IBTS will focus on doctoral level studies in Baptist and Anabaptist Studies, and Mission and Practical Theology.  Study at Masters level will take place using the combined resources of the Centre and the VU University.

5 Responses to “PROPOSAL TO MOVE IBTS TO AMSTERDAM: THE CORE NEWS”

  1. Blake Says:

    Wow, I’ve been itching to go to Amsterdam for awhile to study the writings of Hans de Ries. It would seem I have to go now if you all are relocating.

  2. Mary Helen Brannan Says:

    I am really sorry to hear about the changes coming to IBTS as it appears that IBTS will only become a shadow of its former self. Do we Baptists really give up so easily? There are thousands of volunteers who would go to help keep up the aging buildings if invited. I taught Engllish for 6 months at IBTS and found it a most special place–conducive to study and thought. How I pray there will be much prayer before the final decision is made.

  3. Lina Says:

    Thank you for your concern, Mary, but in recent years virtually no volunteers have come from Baptists in the USA to help repair and maintain buildings. Several groups have cancelled since 2007 citing expensive air fares and bad economic circumstances in the USA. As well as volunteer help, we have also seen a big decline in donations from the USA.
    In 2001 we received US$5 million in donations from the USA. By 2011 the annual level has declined to US$789,000. Sadly, it looks as if many Baptists in the USA have turned their attention elsewhere, or like European Baptists are struggling in the global economic downturn caused by the world of toxic banking.

    Certainly, let us all join in prayer for renewed interest and support – Keith

  4. Vasko Says:

    Hello friends,

    I wonder what other relocation options were considered and what were the factors that favoured the choosing of Amsterdam? Thank you!

    Vasko

  5. CHAPLAIN PRENTICE FOX Says:

    I ATTENDED SEMINARS/CLASSES BOTH IN RUSCHLIKON AND PRAGUE. THE LIBRARY IN CH(SWITZERLAND) WAS MAGESTERIAL AND THE CAMPUS IN PRAGUE CARRIED BOTH A GREAT HISTORY AND GREAT PROMISE. A STRONG VISION WOULD BE TO HAVE KEPT BOTH ALIVE AND WELL, AND BIRTH A NEW SEMINARY IN AMSTERDAM. CORRIE TEN BOOM WOULD HAVE LOVED IT, AND COULD HAVE NAMED IT “THE LEARNING PLACE..”

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