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Brethren Assemblies European missionary conference

Over 170 people participated in the European Conference of Brethren Assemblies under the theme Passion for the Kingdom.

FEATURES AUTOR 354/Pedro_Puigvert DÜRRES 21 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2022 16:45 h
The Spanish participants. / Edificación Cristiana.

Under the theme Passion for the Kingdom, the European conference of Brethren Assemblies was held in Dürres (Albania) from 26 to 30 September with the participation of 175 brethren from 27 European countries.

There were nine of us from Spain: seven from Catalonia, one from Madrid and one from Malaga,  although the latter has started to serve the Lord in Rome from the 26th of September.

The conference was originally planned to be held in Bratislava (Slovakia), but due to the proximity of the war-torn Ukraine it was moved to Albania.

The town of Dürres is on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, a well-known tourist site with many hotels and resorts such as the one where all of us conference participants stayed.

The last five to arrive were those of us from Barcelona who were on the same plane that left the airport an hour late.

When we arrived in Tirana it was raining heavily and we took a taxi to the hotel, which took longer than expected because of the bad weather and because the taxi driver did not know where the hotel was.

When we arrived and registered, the dining room was about to close and the first session of the conference by Simon Marshall from the UK had already started.

During the conference, in the mornings, after breakfast, we had a 30 minute devotional time with singing, reading of the Word and prayers.

That was followed by two presentations separated by a coffee break, where small groups spontaneously gathered around a table to exchange views on what we had heard. That led to lunchtime.

After lunch there was free time until 15.30, when the workshops on different topics began, until dinner. After dinner, the evening session was about reports on several churches and their activities.

The morning presentations were based on the book of Acts: Tuesday, chapter 13; Wednesday, chapter 16; and Thursday, chapter 20.

The first was entitled When the Holy Spirit speaks, by Frederic Walraven from the Netherlands; the second, Inspiration: The role of the Holy Spirit in kingdom work, by Allan Mackinon from the UK.

On Wednesday, the first was Seeing and hearing new things by Peter Kozar from Slovakia; the second Envisioning what the Lord shows us today by Andrzej Turkanik from Poland.

The first on Thursday was The value of my life in the light of the work, by Walraven; the second Motivation: Finishing our career well, by Miguel Wickham from Spain.

Regarding the workshops, there were several topics, such as mission; apologetics; leadership; values and ethics; the Bible today; the life of the Church; creation care and the Church and society.

The first report on the churches was about Albania and the Balkans, presented by Miroslav Cizmanski, a Slovak Lord's worker serving in northern Serbia where there is a majority Slovak population. The session was chaired by Samuel Penalva from Spain.

The second session focused on Ukraine and the aid that has been sent from Moldova, Romania, Poland and Italy. The session was chaired by Peter Kozar.

The final session talked about young people in several countries. All presentations were illustrated with a wide range of graphic material and videos.

It is striking that, although in the Balkan countries where the Brethren Assemblies were set up after the collapse of the USSR in the 1990s, there are few churches, in most of them there are many young people.

On the other hand, it has surprised me that while in Spain, when I was converted to the gospel in the 60s of the last century, there was a strong anti-intellectual feeling, and many thought that “the more ignorant the holier”, and the brothers who wanted to prepare biblically and theologically to serve the Lord were frowned upon if they went to a Bible school or a Seminary; at this conference, the majority of those who spoke were doctors, and not exactly doctors of medicine.

The conference closed with a bread breaking service, the last lecture on Acts 28 by Alfred Mustafa from Albania and the conclusion by Walraven.

Overall it was a good meeting for all the topics covered. As a curiosity, we discovered that there are many workers who are serving the Lord as missionaries.

For example, a brother from Brazil is a worker in Bosnia, two brothers from India were there because they were serving in some country in Europe and also from Chile and of course a Spaniard now in Italy.

This article was first published in the Edificación Cristiana (Christian Edification) magazine and re-published with permission.




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