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Newsletter October 2022

Beyond Collaboration

Greetings from IBTS,
During the first week of October, IBTS convened its first Bridge-Building event where we were very warmly hosted by Italian Baptists in Rocca di Papa just outside of Rome. People gathered from Wales, the Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Italy and Canada representing theological institutions, mission organisations and various mission initiatives to ask ‘how can we work collaboratively in theological education?’ Although the conversation was conducted in three languages simultaneously (with a bit of Welsh included) the energy and creativity of the meeting was inspiring. These kinds of encounters seem to move us well beyond ideas about collaboration which are simply pragmatic to a deep sense of fellowship and shared purpose in Christ.

For many, the sense of Spirit-filled encounter is also part of the annual colloquium experience. The planning process for the 2023 Colloquium is now underway and you will find information dropping into your inbox on a regular basis over the coming months. We are especially mindful this year that many people – research students and supervisors included – are coming from very difficult circumstances and for some it seems their world is being turned upside down in the most disturbing ways. Whilst looking forward to the colloquium and the opportunity for renewed friendship we pray especially for those who are facing disruption. Here in Baptist House in Amsterdam we often use the following words to embrace our sisters and brothers in prayer. We invite you to pray with us as we prepare to gather.

Circle, O God, our sisters and brothers. Encircle them with your presence.
Keep truth within, keep falsehood out;
Keep compassion within, keep hard-heartedness out;
Keep love within, keep hatred out;
Keep light within, keep darkness out.
In the name of the Sacred Three, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Mike Pears, Director.

Mighty Networks

Since April this year, the IBTS Learning Network group has been working tirelessly to develop a user-friendly, social platform which can host courses, conversations and community in an online setting. This ‘all-in-one’ platform is called Mighty Networks, and you can join ours for free by clicking here. Our hope is that we can populate this space with contributors from all around the world, each motivated to have cross-cultural theological conversations. We’d love to invite our whole community to join us there!

For the first time since 2020, we are hosting an in-person colloquium for our students and supervisors. The dates have been set for 23rd-28th January, 2023, at the Baptist House in Amsterdam. We will be sending out a monthly 'Colloquium Newsletter' to the relevant people, the first of which you will receive in the coming days.

Art on the Boundaries
After the success of our first event, we are delighted to announce the second part of our 'Art on the Boundaries' series. The next conversation will be centred around the question - can art cross boundaries? Led by Victoria Aleksandravicene and Henrikas Zukauskas, this will take place on 25th October 2022. We would love to have you with us online!

If you would like to attend this online event, please click here to register.

Modelling & Mentoring Residential
We were deeply encouraged by the level of enthusiasm and participation throughout our Learning Network residential in Rocca di Papa, Italy. The sense of community and togetherness was a key factor in what we were able to achieve - specifically the goal of exploring theology through creative conversations. Daniele, one of our Italian participants, had this reflection:

'When we spend time with people for the first time, we come ready to be surprised. Knowing they all come from different contexts and cultures, we are able to see the beauty in each other without judging them or trying to convince ourselves that we are better than them. We feel like a real community.'

IBTS Podcasts
In the past month, we have seen many new developments within IBTS. Our courses on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Creation Care have started, including the afore mentioned Modelling and Mentoring. To share some of the stories from our community, we have developed TWO new podcasts - The Learning Network Podcast and The Life Theological. 

Our first Learning Network Podcast featured our two FORB facilitators (Shane McNary and Kieryn Wurts), and can be accessed within our Mighty Networks.

We also released our first Life Theological podcast - a podcast which examines the work and lives of theologians to find out what makes them tick. You can watch episode #01 with Alexander Karyakov, recorded during our Almaty trip in March. You can watch the podcast here.

Dr. Lee B. Spitzer - Sympathy, Solidarity, and Silence
Congratulations to Dr. Lee Spitzer, one of our Research Fellows, who has an upcoming book publication. Sympathy, Solidarity, and Silence: Three European Baptist Responses to the Holocaust will be available from 31st October, 2022. This resource compellingly retells how Baptists in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany responded to Nazism and the ensuing Holocaust. Readers will learn that European Baptists faced the same challenges as those in the U.S., but at a much closer distance (physically and politically) to Nazi Germany. And Spitzer shares how European Baptist national fellowships felt compelled to clarify their stance on totalitarianism, Nazism, and anti-Semitism in light of Baptist core convictions such as soul freedom and personality, separation of church and state, and democracy and freedom in both the civil and political spheres. Drawing from historical documents from the Baptist World Alliance, newspaper articles from the Baptist Times and others, and the works of contemporary and historic German theologians, Spitzer weaves a narrative that engages hope.

Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference and Festival III – Call for Proposals and Submissions
The third Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference and Festival will be held in Harrisonburg, Virginia from 15th-18th June, 2023. There is an invitation for proposals of three kinds -  paper proposals, workshop proposals, and/or art installation or music submissions.
Submissions should be in Word of PDF format, and must include the proposal, any relevant photographs or mp3 files as appropriate, and a two-page CV of the presenter(s). These should be sent to gmp3conference@emu.eu by 30th November, 2022 at the latest.

For more information on topics and content, please contact Andrew Suderman (andrew.suderman@emu.edu).

Emmaus: Journeying Toward and Onward from Emmaus
Congratulations to John Weaver, former chair of IBTS, on the publication of this new book - Emmaus: Journeying Toward and Onward from Emmaus. Having written the foreword, Paul S. Fiddes writes: 

"In this very remarkable piece of theological autobiography, John Weaver remarks that ‘by writing we impose a shape on the world.’ He is surely speaking of this book, which is nothing less than his own spiritual journal. Through it he is giving shape to his own life, interpreting it theologically—but he is also encouraging every reader to do the same.”