It all started last Monday morning. Around 40 students, supervisors and guests from countries across the globe descended on the Baptist House in Amsterdam for 10 days of discussions, presentations, seminars, meetings, library time, shared lunches, laughter, endless coffee and much more. This is the annual IBTS Centre colloquium, when all the doctoral students come together to talk about their own and each other’s work and to
meet with their supervisors to get guidance for the next year’s work. I looked around during one session and saw people (many of them church planters, mission workers, church or seminary leaders) from Australia, USA, Canada, UK, Netherlands, Norway, Czech Republic, Romania, Nigeria, Lebanon, Ghana, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine, Philippines and Colombia. Quite a gathering! Our roles during the Colloquium are mainly practical – shopping, preparing and serving food, setting up rooms, meeting guests at Schiphol Airport etc. – but we also have the chance to join in sessions, hear speakers and chat with the other students.
It’s not all work: on Saturday night we held a Burns Night celebration (the IBTS Centre rector is a bagpipe-playing Scot). The menu included real haggis (piped in by the rector), with neeps and tatties, followed by traditional Scottish poetry and other party pieces from around the world, including a rendering by David of The Diagonal Steamtrap! Much interpretation was needed at every level but lots of fun was had by all. Today it was back to the classroom – two more days and it will all be over.