• Impressions from a stay at IBTS

    As many of you know, one of the possibilities IBTS offers is sabbatical stays for pastors, teachers, and anybody else needing refreshment and stimulation. Our most recent friend to make use of the sabbatical programme was Antonio Pires from Portugal. Whilst here, Antonio kept a blog (in Portugese) where he shared his journey with his congregation back at home. But he’s also written something in English for us all to enjoy. Safe travels, Antonio – and do come visit us again! In September 2002, during the EBF Council in Oslo, I sat on a bus, and the fellow Baptist beside me was my first personal contact with IBTS-Prague. Like an AK-47…

  • Good King Wenceslas

    The patron saint of the Czech Republic, the country in which IBTS is situated, is St Wenceslas, svaty Václav in Czech. In English, he’s probably best known as the subject of the Christmas carol, Good King Wenceslas. He wasn’t, however, a king, and as most of what we know about him is legend more than fact, it’s not entirely clear just how good he was either.He was probably born around 907, grandson of the first ruler to have been baptised by Cyril and Methodius when they came to the Czech lands in 862-3. Wenceslas was a Duke, the ruler of the area of Bohemia. It would appear that, like most…

  • A must read for preachers

    Tonight I am reminded that I live within meters of a goldmine. I am referring to our library here at IBTS. Reading the blogs of others, Simon Jones (Bromley) drew my attention to Frederick Buechner and his short book Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale. It is evocative, passionate and quite simply moving for those of us called out to the preaching of Christ’s Holy Gospel. It was added to our library in 1985, someone borrowed it in 1994, and then another person had a look in November 2008. This weekend I borrowed it, following the recommendation of Simon. Now, I am adding it to…

  • Burma comes closer

    Burma is never far away from the world news – even with our ‘first world’s’ egecentrism, the constant and cruel violations of the human rights there by the country’s military junta bring it to our TV screens regularly enough. Just the other week, in the Baptist World Alliance Annual Gathering, we were praying for the situation now that Aung San Suu Kyi, has been once again sentenced for house arrest in an attempt to trample her movement of peaceful resistance. But then a week or so ago, we’ve got a call – from the Czech Ministry of the Interior! (You can imagine various thoughts running through the Rector’s mind!) Pan…

  • August serenity

    It’s quiet here at IBTS! Well, most of the times – except when the fire alarm (gone mad, rather than announcing real fire, thank goodness) is yelling at 07.00 in the morning, or when maintenance is fixing something, or little Yulia is laughing in the courtyard… But overall, it is quiet and only a few souls around. This morning, eight of us broke bread and shared the wine, and were able to stand right around the table, almost touching its red tablecloth. I like these times. IBTS is not like this most of the time, but it’s one of those rare periods of building strength for the upcoming academic year.…

  • Protestant or Baptistic?

    A very important event took place in the Vrije University, Amsterdam, on Thursday 16 April. To mark the Baptist Seminary in the Netherlands entering into partnership with the Vrije University Faculty of Theology and the 400th Anniversary of the formation of the first Baptist Church in 1609 in Amsterdam (English-speaking General Baptists), a day symposium was held at the University to look at “Doing Theology in a Baptist Way”. IBTS Pro-Rector Dr Parush R Parushev delivered the keynote address to a capacity crowd of over 100 people drawn from the University, other theological institutions in the Netherlands and many from the Dutch Baptist family. Parush, as we would expect, delivered…

  • At last – new way of preparing for ministry!

    Dmitriy, our Ukrainian student, brought my attention to a computer game which apparently has been around for a while. That’s it – now I know what to do. Just look at the features of MegaChurch: Pastor a simulated church and create your own Christian empire Build a church from the ground up Hire and fire staff Deal with idiots, naive volunteers, and denominational egos Attract fickle unchurched people with Bingo, revival meetings or fasting–it is all up to you! Select a pre-loaded community Xurban or suburban church plant (for those who want it easy or just starting out) Or pastor an inner-city, multi-ethnic 80 year old church with 50 members and…

  • Spring in our Steps

    Regular readers of this blog will know that three of us – Vanessa, Anna and I –  have been preparing over the past few months to run the Prague half-marathon, in support of IBTS’s Jubilee appeal. Last Saturday on a beautiful warm spring day we lined up with around 6500 other people to run through the streets of Prague. A half-marathon is 21.0975 kilometres (13 miles 192 yards). It’s those last fifty centimetres that is hardest! The course took us along the banks of the Vltava river that flows through Prague, up and down each side. I had run one half-marathon before, some ten years ago, when I was somewhat…