• Advent time

    We’re now into the third week of Advent, which for many in the IBTS community will actually be the last one: Christmas break starts this Friday and then many of the staff and students go home, where in a number of cases Advent isn’t celebrated at all. It’s always interesting to observe various reactions to this time of waiting. We tried hard to hold off the ‘happy glittery Christmas mood’ and be serious about the preparation time and what it involves – alert waiting and active hoping. We’ve done quite well, I thought, even though yesterday in our SVCC all-age service we finally got into Christmas carols – this is our…

  • First Baptist Church, Washington D.C.

    Established in 1802, this Baptist Church now worshiping in a sanctuary built in 1955, has a historic past and is at the heart of Embassy and Government offices on 16th Street, NW. In the spectrum of Baptist worship it might be regarded as “High” Baptist with robed clergy and choir, and a high altar (yes, the information leaflet uses the word altar). On the Second Sunday of Advent the procession of choir and clergy also had one of the church families involved to light two of the purple advent candles. The selection of chorale music included “And the Glory” from Handel’s Messiah and we stood for the reading of the Gospel.

  • Welcome to the USA

    Landing at Washington Dulles Airport is always an experience. Arriving at the capital city of the world’s last superpower tightens the stomach as one imagines the struggle of trying to get in to fortress America. Obviously KLM thinks it will be a problem as they broadcast a jolly commercial from US Homeland Security telling us what to do and the dire penalties of not doing it twice! Finally de-planed, into the immigration hall for division into the sheep (US and Canadian citizens) and the goats (rest of the world). This time there is a new amusement – jolly Disney music playing and images on screens of all sorts of Americans…

  • The joys of parenthood (Part 1)

    Some time ago, Phil has written about his first impressions of working with CAT students. A couple of months later, Alex follows up with her Part 1. (We shall look forward to Part 2!) Our CAT ‘children’ have been at IBTS for nearly a whole semester and now the time is drawing near for many of them to return to their own countries and homes for Christmas holidays. I think that the end of semester calls for some time of reflective on Phil and my roles as CAT ‘parents’. 🙂   It must be said that it has been a great first semester from our point of view. Our CATs…

  • My spirit like my kite

    My spirit like my kite has too long laid on a shelf lovely to see but flat in broken un-put-together parts, unfilled with wind. Today I took my kite from its box studied it and slowly fitted together its many parts-bamboo into bamboo- tiny rings over slender ends of frame- each part just so. By trial and error-memories half forgotten- piece by piece- a butterfly emerged. Before it had hung on my wall inviting oohs and aahs of admiration. Today with string firmly attached I carried it with hopeful, doubtful hands to a windy spot. Alone I could do nothing. Helpfully and skillfully my new found friend gave wings to…

  • A new climate for theology

    IBTS Environment Month is drawing to a close, the last activity being this week’s time for campus cleaning which we have (tongue-in-cheek) termed ‘subotnik,’ alluding to the legacy of the communist times when people were ‘forcefully volunteering’ to work (for free) for the betterment of the environment. The term, I think, is unknown in the English-speaking word except as a surname, but here’s an interesting description in German. Well, we hope that our volunteering here won’t be forced! The idea is that the time offered for cleaning will be the folk’s free contribution of their work hours which we can then direct to some good purpose (via Christian Aid) for…

  • A historian gets excited!

    Well, what a difference a word can make. In my investigations of the Anabaptists in Sobotište in the seventeenth century I had always been looking for reference to the Haban, as they were usually called (probably from ‘haushaben’). However, on our recent visit to the Anabaptist house in Sobotište we were able to go into a museum where we were given literature that consistently referred to the ‘Hutterites’ in the area (Anabaptists named after Jacob Hutter). I have studied the Hutterites and their interest in communal living, but some digging around in the last day or two, especially reading what Robert Friedmann (the Mennonite historian) has written, revealed a story…

  • Crumbs of hope

    The following entry has been written by Nancy Lively, who together with her husband Bill works in the Library and also teaches our CAT students English (progress already visible!). Nancy and Bill have been coming to IBTS as volunteers for a number of years already and have become very dear friends of this place. Here we were seated on a very nice, brand new train heading home to IBTS from a beautiful day in a medieval town in the Czech Republic.  Then the conductor made a rather long, very interesting announcement (which I told Bill sounded like – “You are all going to have to get off the train.”), the…