PEF Impact Montenegro
Our friends in the Pentecostal European Fellowship carried out some successful ground-breaking evangelism in Montenegro this month.
The report of the 2017 EPTA conference can be found here.
Anglican-Pentecostal dialogue has been functioning sporadically for a long time. Revd Dr David Hilborn, now Principal of St John’s College, Nottingham, restarted the process under the auspices of the Council for Christian Unity in 2013 and this led to a day conference at Church House to be followed about a year later by a residential conference at High Leigh. A series of systematically planned papers was presented and followed by discussion and joint acts of worship.
In 2016 the baton was picked up by the Rev Dr Mark Garner who is Head of Whitelands, one of the four constituent colleges of the University of Roehampton. The college offers courses that are taken up by many members and attenders of the belt of Pentecostal congregation stretching across south London. Since Whitelands is an Anglican foundation, it makes good sense to deepen understanding of Pentecostalism. But it is two-way street. I travelled down to London at the end of June to present a paper on Pentecostal ecclesiology and leadership which was then opened up to questions and followed by an equivalent paper on Anglican ecclesiology and leadership. The entire process assists mutual appreciation.
Pentecostals worship under a variety of forms of church government and some of these, especially the Episcopal ones, are especially consonant with Anglicanism. The differences here arise in relation to the actual order of service since most Anglican congregations will follow a set liturgy laying out a careful balance of readings and prayers selected around the core theme of a chosen act of worship. Pentecostals are freer but also frequently less discriminating and less focused on the primary meaning for every type of gathering. In short, Pentecostal services are more varied but not necessarily better.
A future seminar is planned on pneumatology and spiritual gifts (25 October 2017 at 3.30).
Professor William K Kay, July 2017
We neglected to highlight last year the Lutheran-Pentecostal dialogue which took place in Baguio, Philippines, in September 2016. Our member, Jean Daniel Pluss was the co-chair, and presented a paper. This is the beginning of a five year dialogue in which both traditions are seeking better understanding of each other and common witness.
The next meeting of this dialogue will be in Wittenberg, Germany, in September 2017.
EPTA Chair visits Ukraine
In early June 2017, William Atkinson travelled to Kiev, Ukraine. He went partly on EPTA business, in order to talk about the work of EPTA at the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary. He discovered that this seminary had been an institutional member of EPTA in the past, and was encouraged to discover that UETS is more than willing to reinstate its membership. He also had an opportunity to meet a faculty member at the similarly named Ukrainian Evangelical Seminary, and he hopes to develop contacts with that seminary next time he is in Kiev, probably in January 2018.
One other EPTA-related matter that came to light was the need in Ukraine for books for seminary libraries. He received an appeal that when libraries at Western-European seminaries and colleges are offered books that are too old, they consider receiving them and passing them on to such nations as Ukraine. He will discuss this matter with the EPTA Executive group.
As well as these EPTA matters, what occupied his attention in Kiev was preaching at a commissioning service of this year’s graduating residential students at UETS, giving an interview for the UETS website, and attending a book launch. This was of two books, translated into Russian and published together by Colloquium Publishing in Kiev. One was James Dunn’s famous book, Baptism in the Holy Spirit, originally published in the UK in 1970, and the subject of much debate within Pentecostalism, and the other was William’s 2011 book, Baptism in the Spirit: Luke-Acts and the Dunn Debate, which as its subtitle indicates reviews that 40-year debate. The book launch went very well, which was most encouraging for UETS, which had never organised one before. William is particularly grateful to his host, Sergei Flugrant, for the work he put into putting William in touch with the publisher, and for making sure the book launch was such a success.
REPORT FROM NORWAY
In late May 2017, William Atkinson visited the Norwegian School of Leadership and Theology in Oslo, where he was hosted by EPTA member Tommy Davidsson, who works there as an Associate Professor with responsibility for subjects such as Historical Theology and Pentecostal History. The Norwegian School of Leadership and Theology is a jointly run Baptist/Pentecostal college, teaching in both Norwegian and English. Tommy also has another connection with EPTA, which is that he used to work at Continental Theological Seminary, which has long had close ties with EPTA.
Sadly, the School was out of term time, and so William was not able to meet any of their students. He did meet several faculty members, however, and was struck by their warmth and enthusiasm. He met them at a day conference considering the theology of baptism, where he had been invited to give a paper. William’s paper was on ‘Baptise and Other Liquid Metaphors in New Testament Pneumatology’. He also gave a response to the other keynote speaker, the Baptist Anthony Cross, also from the UK.
William came away impressed by the School’s ecumenical arrangement between Baptists and Pentecostals, their cooperation with one another, and their desire to see each other succeed. What they have in common was much more obvious to him than anything that might tend to separate them. May the School continue to flourish.
William was also impressed by the hospitality he was offered. Tommy generously gave his time over the weekend, showing William one or two of the sights of Oslo, and making sure William did not go home hungry!
REPORT FROM GERMANY
William Atkinson, Chair of EPTA, visited the European Theological Seminary at the end of April 2017. This was partly to spend time and ‘talk shop’ with EPTA Treasurer Dr Carl Simpson, who works as the Dean there. However, William also took the opportunity to give a guest lecture with the title ‘Part of Something Bigger’, to attend a student cell group and a staff prayer meeting, and to preach in the midweek seminary chapel service, on 2 Timothy 4:17. He also met for the first time the Principal of the seminary, Dr Paul Schmidgall. William was struck by Paul’s charm and ease, and really enjoyed a further impromptu meeting with Carl and Paul on his final morning there.
The seminary is run by the Church of God and serves a truly international group of students. Much teaching and college life is conducted in English—just as well, given how poor William’s German is! So William was able to enjoy chats with students over the meal table as well as times with various members of staff. Carl also made sure William felt very much at home—aided by his wife Jackie with her British teabags!
William was quickly impressed by the relaxed friendly atmosphere in the seminary. Nothing there feels like a strain, and there was a great sense of love shared within the community, expressed in prayer, testimony and support. William was, like all visitors no doubt, taken by the scenery: ETS is in the heart of the Black Forest South of Stuttgart, and the views from its buildings are tremendous. Paul may hold the record for having the best view in Europe from a seminary office window!
ETS has had a long history with EPTA, being a founding institutional member, and having hosted EPTA’s annual conference in the past. There is every reason to believe that a highly fruitful relationship will continue long into the future.
REPORT FROM BELGIUM
EPTA Chair William Atkinson visited Continental Theological Seminary, Belgium, at the end of February 2017, at the invitation of EPTA member David Courey. David is the Dean of Graduate Studies and the Chair of Systematic Theology there. As part of his role, he had organised a theological colloquium on the subject of secularism in contemporary Europe, and William gave a paper. In fact, David asked him to present the same paper that he had given at the 2016 EPTA conference, on ‘The Miraculous Element in Lukan Missiology: A Challenge to Current Pentecostal Mission in Europe’ (now published in JEPTA 37:1, April 2017, pages 2–12).
The colloquium was a great success, with excellent papers given by students and graduates, as well as by other visitors including EPTA’s own William Kay. CTS is a thriving and important school serving an international community in two languages, and it is to be hoped that relationships between this seminary and EPTA can continue to be fostered in the years to come.
While in Brussels, William also had the opportunity to preach at the Lighthouse Christian Center, a largely Filipino church meeting in the city centre, and to attend the Christian Center, a large international church in the south of the city. Here, he met briefly with Daniel Costanza, Executive Director of the Pentecostal European Fellowship, who is also an Associate Pastor at the Christian Center. Here too he bumped into a couple who had worshipped many years ago at Kensington Temple in London, when William was one of the ministers there—the world is a small place!
William was given a very warm welcome at CTS. He greatly appreciates the hospitality of the Coureys, in whose apartment on campus he stayed while in Brussels, and the kindness of Dr Bob Welch, a New Testament lecturer, who with his wife met William when he arrived and took him to the Christian Center.
William forgot to take any photographs while in Brussels, and so the photos below are taken from the CTS website!
Stanka Vladev, from Bulgaria, has been involved in a serious car accident. We hear she is undergoing surgery for damage to her back. Please pray for a full recovery for her, and also for her husband, Konstantin, and their children.
Those who attended our conference in Sofia last year will remember Stanka, who did much of the organising for that conference and gave a paper on the history of Pentecostalism in Bulgaria.
Update: EPTA member Stephen Hedges visited Stanka in hospital on 7th March and sends the following report:
She was doing much better than we had expected. The scar on her forehead has faded considerably and it was our opinion, that in a month of two, most people would not even be aware that there was a scar on her forehead. She is still in a lot of pain, but that is to be expected. However, she was able to get out of bed (and get back into it) by herself. The only difficulty she is having is that since she cannot turn her head, nor move it up or down she has to use her hands to feel where things are. When we left she walked with us to the lift (elevator) and it was clear that she has no difficulty with walking.
Today (Wednesday) the doctors removed the 27 stitches (sutures) from the back of her head and neck, and released her (discharged her) from the hospital. The surgeon recommended against taking an ambulance to Sofia, saying the ride in a car would be much smoother.
I talked to her by phone when she was about 1/2 way home, aside from the fact that the motorway (highway/interstate) is far from smooth, she was glad to be getting home. I would think that it will take her a few days to get back into a schedule, but as soon as she can she will contact each of those who sent greetings to her.