2011

2011 Conferences, Lectures, Workshops

May 31 to June 1, 2011 – International Jonathan Edwards Conference: EST hosted an international conference that included leading Jonathan Edwards’ scholars from eight countries, four continents and six international Edwards’ centers. The conference title was, “Christianity in Today’s World: the Legacy of Jonathan Edwards”.

In the keynote address, Professor Gerald McDermott of Roanoke College, Virginia suggested that Edwards, America’s great 17th century theologian whose work was characterized by its profound Trinitarian insights, provides a unique basis for dialogue between Catholics and Protestants, between Eastern and Western Christianity, between charismatics and non-charismatics, as well as between liberals and conservatives. Rather than speaking of Jonathan Edwards as “America’s theologian”, Prof. McDermott concluded, “it may be appropriate […] to begin thinking of him as a global theologian for twenty-first-century Christianity.

 

During the next two days scholars and pastors, who came from eight countries and four continents to attend the conference, discussed many aspects of Edwards’ thought, including religious experience (true spirituality), and the present state of global Christianity and its future prospects. There was also a contingent of Polish scholars from EST and several Polish universities who also presented papers and joined in the lively discussions. EST plans to publish the conference proceedings in its journal, Theologica Wratislaviensia in spring 2012. As a follow-up to the conference, EST is in discussion with Polish pastors and church leaders about a seminar course on Edwards focusing on spiritual experience and revivalism. The conference also generated much interest among Polish scholars, who teach sessions on Edwards as part of their courses in American literature and American studies. Both groups will be well served by the publication of the conference papers, as well as the translation undertaken by EST of the Jonathan Edwards Reader, also expected to appear in print in Polish by spring 2012. (Written by Dr. Joel Burnell, Director of the Jonathan Edwards Center – Poland at EST)

 

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June 2011 – The Church in the Modern World: EST organized an event for pastors and leaders of churches from different parts of Poland. Pastors and other leaders had a chance to listen to interesting speakers and share their experiences about the subject.  We have seen how God deeply touched these leaders and EST plans to offer more conferences such as this one in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

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July 2011 – Mission Possible, Youth Study Tour: This was a unique project that included a group of young people and three adults from White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. The participants learned about Polish history and culture through lectures and several practical activities. The objective of the project was to show the development of ministry and reconciliation in Wroclaw and its relation to the present mission of EST. There were tours to the White Stork Synagogue in Wroclaw as well as Auschwitz and Krakow.

The group also took part in workshops on history and ministry of EST, missions, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and intercultural communication as well as practical training and service. Together with Polish volunteers and EST staff, the group cleaned a section of a Jewish cemetery in Wroclaw. Also, in cooperation with members of Second Baptist Church in Wroclaw, the group provided activities for children. The group also visited the Center for Psychiatry and Speech Disorders of Children and Youth. On Sunday, the tour members were divided into groups and attended three churches in Wroclaw (Baptist, Lutheran and Pentecostal). Through conversations with church members the groups learned about the social and missionary activities of these churches.

 

There was also time to relax and have fun (sightseeing and rope climbing), which helped to develop good relations between the group, Polish volunteers and EST staff. All of these activities made a big impression on the group members as they were moved by what they saw and this contributed to reflection and discussions between the participants and volunteers. Several young people said they wanted to come back but stay longer next time.

 

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October 2011 – Days of Reformation:

The Days of Reformation event included a concert presented by the choir Cithara Sanctorum and also the opportunity to hear interesting talks (about different viewpoints of the Reformation and its impact). This was a special meeting where EST invited a Catholic priest/professor and a Protestant speaker to talk about the Protestant Reformation from different viewpoints. Following the lectures there was a concert, during which an EST graduate (with his family) played and sang Luther’s songs. The whole event was well received and attended by both Catholics and Protestants and many stayed long after the concert to talk in a comfortable and friendly atmosphere.

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