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Newsletter March 2022

Dear friends

Our hearts are heavy. We are deeply disturbed. We are praying for all who are caught up in the evils of war in Ukraine, that they may know ‘God who is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble’ (Ps 46 v.1). We are especially mindful of colleagues in theological colleges and fellow research students who are being directly impacted in one way or another. We think of many, including in the Baptist family, who are providing hospitality to those who are fleeing the fighting and of those who are organising aid and relief.

A phrase I have heard often this week is ‘I feel so powerless.’ In the midst of such disruption, daily routines seem inconsequential. Yet we are also reminded of the value of peaceable relationships in our day-to-day encounters with each other and the importance of the witness of the church which points to a different and brighter future. We are reminded of our God who ‘makes wars to cease’ and of his call to ‘be still, and know …’ (Ps 46 v.9-10)
Peace and blessings

EBF - Pray for Peace

The EBF website has various ways in which people can get involved. To find out ways of supporting those affected follow this link.

Kõrgem Usuteaduslik Seminar - 100 Years

The IBTS family across Europe would like to pass our congratulations to the Estonian Free Church Theological Seminary (Kõrgem Usuteaduslik Seminar).Through 100 years of upheaval and change, we give God thanks for the faithful witness of EFCTS. For the coming years of challenge, we pray that the creative movement of the Holy Spirit will continue to empower your journey.

IBTS Ethics Conference: 4-6 May 2022, Amsterdam

A reminder that students/researchers/academics are invited to contribute papers engaging with the relevant chapters of Prof. Gushee’s new publication Introducing Christian Ethics on any of the five themes of the conference. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words and submitted by March 31 2022.
We are also inviting those with lived experiences of specific ethical issues related to our five themes to provide short 10 minute recorded testimonies (video or sound files) for submission during the conference or come and present in person at the conference. These submissions need to be with us by April 2022.

This conference also coincides with the inauguration of Dr. D.P. Gushee which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 4th May at 15:45, in the aula of the university’s main building.

Reimagining Mission & Learning in Community

In this course, we discuss relevant questions that arise from the situation in which we find ourselves:
'As a church, we’re not called to try to get the best for ourselves, but we’re called to join God into his mission in the world, to serve people and to search for and contribute to the welfare of the place where we are. I believe that had we listen properly throughout all of the processes we would have made a significant step forward in the right direction.' Daniele Podestà

The structure is a 10-week online course which requires 3 hours of work per week, beginning on 26 April 2022. Applications can now be completed online. For more information on the application process click here.

Youth Leadership Course

We are all made of stories: Starts 9 May 2022
In this course, developed by a group of youth and children’s workers from EBF, we start with key skills around telling our own story and listening to others’ stories. In the second part of the course, we will dive deeper into Trauma Informed Practice. Youth and children ’s workers across the EBF region are working with children and young people suffering from trauma. This could be for multiple reasons: poverty, refugee experiences, war, religious persecution, or natural disasters. What does this mean for our practice?
Full details on how to register can be found here.

The Institute for the Study of Religion in the Middle East (ISRME)

One of our alumni, George Bristow, has been involved in developing the Institute for the Study of Religion in the Middle East:
'ISRME has a specific academic focus, Middle Eastern religions and their interaction, and is shaped by a Christian ethos. As confessing Christians, we want other Christians to better understand the relationship between Christianity and Islam so that they can engage Muslims constructively and with integrity. At the same time we seek to model such constructive engagement by warmly welcoming Muslim students and academic colleagues into conversation, listening to and learning from one another in a spirit of humility, and extending confessional and intellectual hospitality. Our academic program in Christian-Muslim Relations differs from many Christian-hosted programs on Islam, where Christians teach other Christians. Instead we aim to foster an environment in which we learn through engagement. We think that both Muslim and Christian students will benefit from studying together, learning from real-life opportunities to articulate their faith and hear one another. At the same time our program differs from many university-based programs on Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations because it is guided by a Christian ethos and because it engages squarely with the theological and ethical questions that Christians and Muslims care most about.'

Christian-Muslim Relations in the Midst of Pandemic: A Case Study from Lebanon
Another of our IBTS community, Chaden Hani, has been involved in developing a paper for her own Lebanese context - Christian-Muslim Relations in the Midst of Pandemic: A Case Study from Lebanon. The paper is split into three sections, each addressing various questions contributing ‘to the growing field of Christian-Muslim dialogue’, and can be accessed via this link.

Hearts and Minds Conference

A theological conference mainly for Baptist ministers, designed to create a hospitable space for Baptists to think and talk about theology together. It provides an opportunity to present and/or listen to papers within a friendly, supportive environment.  Cardiff Baptist College are offering a bursary to enable a contribution from the wider Baptist family in Europe. The bursary will cover flights, accommodation (two nights) and meals; attendance at the conference is free. 

 If you would like to apply for the bursary, please e-mail Dr Stephen Roberts (sr@cbc.cymru) by Monday 21st March 2022, with the following:
Name, E-mail address, Affiliation (e.g. Church or College), Title of paper
An abstract / outline of what your paper is about (500 words max)
A brief biography (250 words max)
A short statement of why you are applying for the bursary (250 words max)

Friday 6th May 10.00am to 4.00pm, Cardiff Baptist College

Registration link for the Hearts and Minds Conference