Saturday, October 31, 2009

Celebrating and Assessing Twenty Years of Freedom

From Vajta (H) I travelled on to Osijek (Croatia) to attend a very interesting international consultation marking the twentieth anniversary of the collapse of Marxist-based totalitarian systems, which ruled for decades over the eastern part of Europe, titled: "Challenges for Church and Society in
Post-communist Contexts. Celebrating and Assessing Twenty Years of
Freedom”. It was good to reconnect with colleagues and friends from Croatia, Romania, Serbia.

"People everywhere long for and celebrate freedom. The dramatic tearing down of the Berlin Wall, the most powerful symbol
of the division of Europe, signified the end of atheistic one-party
regimes that kept under their grips hundreds of millions, caused
indescribable suffering and countless victims. In addition to abuse of
political power, economic devastation and ecological disaster, this
oppressive ideology violated human rights, destroyed creativity,
personal initiative and social responsibility, and created
hopelessness and spiritual emptiness.

Twenty years after the demise of communist systems in Europe, people
in Eastern Europe and beyond need to come to terms with the lasting
effects of this failed social experiment, to assess the painful
transition from totalitarianism and centralised economies towards
open, democratic and just societies and to discover where hope resides
for the future. Christians are called to join hands with people in all
cultures and communities to work for the wellbeing of all citizens and
shape a better world for generations to come.

The consultation took place 29-31 October 2009 at Evandeoski
Teoloski Fakultet in Osijek, Croatia."

(For further information and interaction see and

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Emerging Missions Movement Consultation

Wednesday and Thursday I attended the Emerging Missions Movement consultation in Vajta (H).

For brochure see:

Almost 50 people from all over Central and Eastern Europe gathered to assess the extend and growth of cross cultural mission mainly outside the borders of the countries.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Megjelent! Sherwood Lingenfelter: Mindennek Mindenné

On 19th October a new book was published as a co-production of Harmat Publishers and CIMS on bridging cultural differences: Sherwood Lingenfelter: Ministering Cross Culturally. For more information on the original English edition:

Mindenkinek mindenné

Friday, October 16, 2009

Impressions from Theology of Work course

About fifteen students took part in the Theology of Work course with Prof. R. Paul Stevens from Bakke Graduate University organized in cooperation with the Reformed Church District along the Danube.
Rev. András Harmathy (Ref. pastor in Szigetszentmiklós, D. Min. student at BGU) assisted by Mrs. Mónika Józsa (CIMS) did a marvellous job in putting all the logistics of the course together, including visits to workplaces.
This course was the first of its kind to be officially recognized by Bishop Dr. István Szabó as part of the Continuous Education Program for pastors of this Church District.
One of the students, Mrs. Gea Gort from the Netherlands, captured the course in pictures. Take a look at her webalbum:

To get an impression of what you have missed by NOT attending the course, see the course outline:
TW-Outline BGU Oct09ver3

Friday, October 9, 2009

Hungary: Twenty Years after the fall of Communism

As part of Euranet's Fall of Communism series, correspondent Nick Thorpe reports on perceptions in Hungary, where economic woes are leading to dissatisfaction with how much has been achieved since the country's peaceful "negotiated transition" to democracy.

Moscow Square in Budapest on a weekday afternoon. People are hurrying home from work, while others are trying hard to find a way of making some cash.
Despite the fine weather, there's a heaviness in the air. Twenty years after the fall of Communism in Hungary, most people seem dissatisfied with what has been achieved.

"I don't miss anything from the 1980s," says a man selling books, "but the problem now is that it’s all about money. If you have work, you don’t have time to go out. If you don’t have work, you don’t have the money to go out."

Twenty years ago, Hungarians ate in a restaurant on average once a week. And they went to the cinema regularly. Now, that's out of the question, except for the richer few.

Read more:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

International Consultation for Theological Educators in Sopron, Hungary

It was a great encouragement to attend just for one day the ICETE International Consultation for Theological Educators which took place from 5-9 October 2009 in Sopron, Hungary. It was good to reconnect with friends and colleagues from Central Europe and elsewhere in the world and to be re-energized by the various presentations. The distinguished international evangelical scholars Bishop Hwa Yung of Malaysia, and Professor Henri Blocher of France, were among principal speakers at the event. The Consultation’s theme was: “Energising Community: Theological Education’s Relational Mandate.”

The ICETE website gives a syllabus of the issues dealt with in the consultation:
"The 2009 ICETE Consultation will seek to focus on relational theological education, how the biblical values of relationship and community might be usefully reenergised within our contemporary patterns of theological education. In what sense might community be considered a mandated priority for theological education? To what end, with what limitations? How might a theological college best embody biblical community in its institutional culture? How can students be more effectively equipped in relational competencies and community-formation skills? In what practical ways could theological schools demonstrate biblical community in relation to other theological schools, the church, and their own local context? The 2009 Consultation programme will enable creative interaction among theological educators from around the world on the implications of these biblical values for our programmes, and for understanding our own roles freshly within such a framing.
Among those to address the Consultation in plenary session, additional to Hwa Yung and Henri Blocher, will be: Daniel Bourdanné from Chad, General Secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES); David Baer, President of Overseas Council in the United States; Joseph Shao of the Philippines, General Secretary of the Asia Theological Association (ATA); Manuel Reaño of Peru, Rector of the Seminario Biblico de Colombia; and Riad Kassis, professor at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Lebanon. Also participating in the Consultation programme will be: Geoff Tunnicliffe, International Director of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), Doug Birdsall, Executive Chair of the Lausanne Movement (LCWE); and Chris Wright, International Director of Langham Partnership International (LPI). The Consultation format will also provide for a range of seminars, workshops, roundtable discussions, and much informal contact on other areas of interest additional to the Consultation theme, thereby enabling rich stimulation, interaction, reflection and fellowship for participants."

ICETE’s triennial international consultations are widely popular for offering the only occasion of its kind for evangelical theological educators from all parts of the world to gather for peer professional reflection and interaction at global level. The events provide multiple occasions for collaborative networking, cross-pollination, and reflective engagement, thus furthering a shared commitment in preparing biblically-based church leadership for the global Christian community in the 21st Century.

Participants in ICETE’s 2006 Consultation in Thailand came from: Angola, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Congo, England, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Scotland, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trinidad, Ukraine, USA, and Zambia.

For more information:

The ICETE website contains excellent articles for downloading on extremely relevant issues related to theological education from e.g. Alister McGrath, Chris Wright and Miroslav Volf:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Church and State, twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall

An interview with Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, President of the Council of Bishop's Conference of Europe summarizing the Conference in Paris, 1-4 October, 2009.

The Plenary Assembly, which discussed the theme of Church-State relations, decided, in the light of changes that have taken place in the twenty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, to draw up a message which witnesses to how faith in Jesus Christ can give birth to a clear outlook full of hope. The participants adopted a message entitled:

"Europe, have courage. 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall: rediscovering the impetus, a hope to proclaim." To be downloaded at:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Impressions from Missiological Research Fellowship Seminar

On September 29th and 30th a Missiological Research Fellowship Seminar was organised with Erasmus visiting scholar Dr. Wojciech Kowalewski from the Evangelical School of Theology in Wroclaw, Poland (,407.html)

As always it is very interesting to discuss issues in a Central European perspective. Take a look at the program:

KRE-CIMS MMK 2009_9_29