2022. The year of challenges and blessings

At EWST the year 2022 has been challenging and sometimes difficult but also fulfilling with new ministry opportunities and chances for the school to develop.

Support for Ukraine

The year 2022 was marked by the Russian aggression against Ukraine and the help we provided to the victims of the war.

With funds from abroad, assistance was provided both in Poland and in Ukraine through cooperation with foundations and churches in/near Wroclaw and central Poland. Through these churches and foundations, Ukrainians were provided with housing, food, clothing, medicine, workshops, summer camps, and much more. A clothing manufacturer in the US sent two shipments of clothes (30,000 items for spring/summer and 40,000 items for fall/winter) to people in Ukraine.

Two EWST students who are paramedics took an ambulance full of medical supplies into Ukraine and during one trip transported a man to Poland who was paralyzed from a stroke. One of the paramedics decided to suspend her job and served on the front lines in Ukraine for several weeks helping to care for wounded/injured soldiers. Thankfully, she has safely returned to Poland.

At EWST, Polish classes were offered to Ukrainians who wanted to learn the language. Also, a Ukrainian psychologist, who also speaks Russian, is available to meet with refugees (men, women, children, and families in Wroclaw) to help them in adjusting to what has happened as a result of the war and the challenges they face living in Poland.

7In May 2022, the rectors of Evangelical School of Theology in Wroclaw and Tavriski Christian Institute in Kherson signed an agreement on cooperation between the two universities. See the following link on the EWST English website for more details and photos. https://en.ewst.pl/2022/05/est-and-tci-polish-ukrainian-cooperation-between-christian-universities/

Educational development

In the academic year 2021/22, the Polish Accreditation Committee carried out a full academic, didactic, and administrative evaluation of EWST. The visit was very successful and we received accreditation for the next six years. The visiting officials and scientists appreciated the Christian atmosphere at EWST, the commitment and maturity of our students, and the cooperation of the academic staff with churches and Christian communities from many denominations.

EST EC has gone through the full process of transforming from an academic profile into a practical one; over 50% of classes are not strictly lecture-based, but conversational and focused on the current application of knowledge with the support of theologians who have practical experience. This shift in learning has received positive feedback from students and the churches they serve.

In addition to academic classes, the BA program also includes student participation in conferences, Erasmus+ (funded by the European Union) that offers opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to visit other theological schools, universities and research centers. Also, personal counseling is made available to the students.

The BA classes continue to meet online using Zoom and this allows students who live abroad to study at EWST. The new students for 2022/2023 are from Poland, the Netherlands, UK, Italy, and Germany.

We also enrolled a large group of students from Ukraine for the first year. They receive constant support in learning the language, as well as tutoring and all necessary assistance.

Impact on Christian communities

EWST (The Institute of Church Development) participated in the development of the new Christian community (Genesis Nova) in Pabianice.  A group of nine people initiated a desire to start organizing an evangelical community that focused on evangelization in their region, organizing regular church services, educating children, and helping those in need. An EWST student and EWST graduate have been key leaders since the beginning. The cooperation resulted in the official registration of the Genesis Nova in Poland.

At present, 60 people gather in the Genesis Nova Church in Pabianice where services are held regularly, thematic biblical studies are conducted, and there is a Sunday school for children. The ICD activities are an important complement to the academic education of EWST students. The practical aspect of applying biblical knowledge is crucial. link

Seniors: Back to offline meetings and lectures

The motivation for the Academy of Third Age program remains to strengthen seniors’ knowledge and skills and encourage them to adopt a more preventive approach to ageing. Another added value of the academic context is its intergenerational dimension, which gives older participants the opportunity to interact with younger students and participants interested in issues of religion and cultures, teachers and researchers. The lecturers of ATA are academic teachers and specialists of EWST, Wroclaw University and Jagiellonian University (in Krakow).

The participants of the project were very pleased to once again be able to participate in ATA lectures and classes in person. We ended the year with an interesting trip to Herrnhut and Bautzen (Germany). link

Online lectures and interviews – for knowledge, dialogue, and understanding

The School of Dialogue online events still gain a lot of interest. Two pandemic years were hectic for us with more than 100 regular lectures and interviews (each Tuesday we had an online event in the EWST online cycle) and some meetings we did in cooperation with our partners.  link

Some of the meetings are dedicated to the presentation of EWST students and graduates and their work and service.

Praying for 2023

In the midst of all the challenges and difficulties, thinking of the situation of EWST, we pray, give thanks and rejoice in the Lord, in a deep spiritual sense. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18.