The Bible and trends in Europe today

2012 European Consultation: Trends in Europe todayEvery year Redcliffe College hosts a consultation on mission in Europe. The next one, which is organised by Global Connections, ECM and Redcliffe, is in January and is focused on the theme of Trends in Europe Today.

I’ll be offering some biblical reflection toward the end of the programme. If you are interested or engaged in mission in a European context do come along.

Redcliffe’s European specialism is embodied in the work of our Nova Research Centre.

There is info about the consultation below from Redcliffe’s website. .

2012 European Consultation: Trends in Europe Today

Wednesday 4 to Thursday 5 January 2012

It isn’t easy to find people who love Jesus in Europe today. Only in the Middle East are you less likely to meet people who follow Christ. This is a sad statement to make about Europe, whose skylines are littered with steeples.

Nonetheless God has called many churches and mission organisations to say “This isn’t good enough! We want God to be glorified in Europe too!”. But it isn’t always easy to work in today’s most secular continent.

Organised by Global Connections, ECM and Redcliffe College, this consultation is designed to help stimulate your thinking about some of the trends we are facing in Europe today. Experienced missional thinkers and practitioners will deal with the challenges of Migration, Urbanisation and Islam.

As with previous consultations this is a unique chance to network with other leaders involved in Europe with its many unique and changing facets, to share information on current activities, focus and aims, as well as future plans and dreams.

Speakers include:

Robert Calvert (Urbanisation), formerly of Scotland, currently pastors a church in Rotterdam. It is made up of people from more than forty nations and the team of elders is drawn from four continents.

Alessia Passarelli (Migration) consults for the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (Brussels) while also doing PhD research into the relationships between migration and churches in Italy and the Republic of Ireland

Bert de Ruiter (Islam) speaks on issues related to Christian-Muslim relations and has developed a course called Sharing Lives to help Christians overcome their fear and share their lives with Muslims.

Tony Peck (Church response) is General Secretary of the European Baptist Federation and an Associate Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance.

Chris Wigram (Mission organisation response) is International Director of European Christian Mission, which works in 18 European countries.

Tim Davy (Biblical reflection) is Director of the Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission at Redcliffe College, and lecturer in Biblical Studies and Mission

Ian Nicholson (Prayer) works with 24/7 Prayer.

The consultation will be held from 12 noon on 4th January through 2pm on 5th January 2012 at Redcliffe College.

Directions to Redcliffe College


Until 31 October 2011 the cost is £75, which includes an early booking discount.
From 1 November to 23 December 2011 (the booking deadline) the cost is £85.
This will cover food and accommodation, including lunch and dinner on 4th January, and breakfast and lunch on 5th January.

To book

You can download the booking form here, or book online via the Global Connections website
If you have any other queries relating to booking for this event, please contact Evan Winter.

Dan Beeby on the Bible, mission and Christendom

Canon and Mission - Dan BeebyJust a short quote to kick off the week. In his fantastic little book, Canon and Mission Dan Beeby asserts the following:

Christendom left us with a church that does not realize that the church exists for mission. It presented us with a God who is not the God of the missio dei. It obscured and concealed the fact that God is a missionary God and that the church exists for mission. It obscured the fact that theology is the handmaid of mission. And it obscured the fact that the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, if taken as a unity, is a handbook of mission. Unfortunately, we have a theology in Europe that is almost completely innocent of mission.

Beeby packs in a lot here. I would agree with what he asserts but would be interested to know if his final point (written in 1999) would still hold up, and whether readers would have agreed with him then or now. Perhaps my colleagues at Redcliffe’s Nova centre for research in European Mission would like to wade in? 🙂

Bible, mission and migration

Nova Research Centre, an initiative located at Redcliffe that researches and publishes on mission in and for Europe, has just published their latest news bulletin. Vista is a quarterly bulletin of research-based information on mission in Europe. The theme this issue is migration.

Here’s a snippet that picks up on a biblical theme:

European churches and mission agencies are in the vanguard of those working with migrants and 2010 has been declared a year of European churches responding to migration. The experience of koinonia outlined in the New Testament will not permit social and ethnic diversity to become divisive and the most powerful testimony to a reconciling Gospel is to live that Gospel out within reconciled communities of the Kingdom. The experience of community should always move us beyond ourselves, however, to the vulnerable, needy and lost who can be found among migrants and refugees. It should also learn how it can best integrate the migrant experiences of vibrant and vital faith with its own experiences.

And, the challenge remains, as to how best address the challenges and questions posed by the nationalist and far-right populist parties. There are precious human rights and freedoms that the church must not allow to be trampled underfoot by such movements. New ways must be found to counter destructive, divisive, and racist policies that ignore the public value of key biblical and theological insights. The diversity of the early church is a powerful reminder and stimulus to better appreciating our own European diversity and framing a more adequate response in mission.

Read the whole issue of Vista

Bible reading in Italy

Interesting story on the nova research centre website about the reading habits of Italians, which came out of a survey done by Eurisko for the Catholic Biblical Federation and raises a number of missiological issues. See, for example, this quote:

despite the fact that the 40 years following Vatican II have seen a steady increase in the number of homes possessing a Bible and the onset of the Internet age and multimedia communication, for many Italians the Bible remains a closed, mysterious book.

nova also mentions the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which was held in October 2008 with the theme, “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church”. Here is a link to a particularly relevant part of the report on the Vatican’s website.

nova is based at Redcliffe and researches mission in Europe in order to innovate mission in Europe. It’s a fantastic resource doing excellent work. If you’ve any interest in thinking about or doing mission in a European context have a look at the nova website.