Introducing… Stuart and Susanne Blythe. Stuart is our boss here – the Rector of IBTSC Amsterdam. He moved here in 2014 from his previous job as acting Principal of the Scottish Baptist College. Stuart and Susanne have a long history with IBTS, having studied at the first IBTS location in Rüschlikon (Switzerland) during the late 1980s. Stuart then had ministries in Scottish Baptist Churches at Springburn and Kirkintilloch, before moving to teach at the Scottish Baptist College in Paisley. He has a PhD in Homiletics and has a passion for the art and practice of preaching. Stuart and Susanne both come from Glasgow, so they have a sense of humour and a range of vocabulary similar to our Norn Iron repertoire, though they have taught us some new words and interesting expressions we had never heard before! The Blythes have two grown-up children, Stephen and Kim-Michal, who both live back in Scotland. They also have a Big Dog called Japie who keeps them as busy as a horde of children. Susanne had a demanding career in nursing before taking early retirement and she now volunteers in the IBTSC library and in a charity shop where she gets lots of opportunities to use her impressive bank of Dutch language. She has also recently joined her husband playing the bagpipes, and Stuart is a member of a high quality Dutch pipe band. (Yes, there are several pipe bands here and they love all things Scottish).
What do the Blythes like best about Amsterdam?:
Susanne – cycling everywhere (no hills), learning to play the bagpipes, having more time for the important things in life!
Stuart – cycling, canals, and the Dutch sandwich (a single sandwich in a plastic bag carried everywhere)
What do they miss most from Scotland?
Stuart – our children, square sausage, the weather (…snigger!)
Susanne – family and friends, Irn Bru, being understood when I speak Scottish
What are their hopes for the future of IBTSC?
Susanne – That it will have the same impact on the lives of the students and staff as Rüschlikon had on us over 30 years ago – strong bonds of friendship created among the students and the staff. I am thankful for the time I spent in Rüschlikon, being taught to think and consider issues in a way that was different to anything I had ever experienced before.
Stuart – To provide good research that helps the Church and to be a sustainable positive environment for learning. My hope is that the tough thinking, research interests, and the students of IBTSC will be able to support our churches as they seek courageously to bear faithful witness to Jesus Christ in their various contexts.
Find out more about IBTSC at http://www.ibts.eu