Dear Friends of EuNC,
The past weeks we have remembered the journey that Jesus took during his last day on earth: the entry in Jerusalem, the cross, the resurrection. We have celebrated that Jesus conquered sin and death and therefore his disciples and followers will have new life. It is encouraging to see that this new life is not just something that happened two thousand years ago in the early church but is actually true today. Several Learning Centres could celebrate the Graduations of many students these past weeks and show that Jesus is alive in the hearts and lives of people today. They have experienced spiritual (trans)formation and are therefore able to be a blessing to others around them. As EuNC we are glad to be a part of those journeys.
Graduations in Russia
Russia held its two District Assemblies in March 2019 which gave the opportunity to celebrate the graduation of several EuNC students. There were two graduates at Russia South District Assembly. One student graduated with the Diploma in Christian Ministry (DCM). He has been in our education program for a long time. Nevertheless, he has found strength and commitment to complete the program. He is currently serving as a pastor of a local church in Volgograd. Another student received his Certificate in Spiritual Formation (CSF). He used to be part of a Nazarene church in Volgograd, but recently moved to a small town and goes to a different church now. Nevertheless he is currently continuing his studies towards DCM. There were three CSF graduates at Russia North District Assembly. All three graduates are active leaders in their churches and help with various ministries while they are continuing their studies towards DCM.
Article by the CIS Learning Centres Coordinator
Graduation in Kazakhstan
The Central Asia district of the Church of the Nazarene met on 16 March 2019 in Astana, Kazakhstan for their annual District Assembly. One of the highlights of the gathering was the graduation of three students with the Certificate in Spiritual Formation. Rev. Zhannetta Yugai, LC Administrator for the Central Asia Learning Centre writes: “Thanks to the online delivery system of EuNC in Russian it was possible for these wonderful students, who are all involved in ministry, to complete the certificate.” Two of the graduates are pastoring and one is leading prayer services and small groups in her local church.
By Zhannetta Yugai (Kazakhstan Learning Centre Administrator)
Graduation in Armenia
On 23 March 2019 Armenia held its District Assembly, during which the graduation of four EuNC students took place (Certificates in Spiritual Formation). Everyone who attended the assembly was excited to witness the results of the long and hard studies of the graduates. It was a special privilege that the EuNC rector, Dr. Klaus Arnold was able to be present, delivering the message to the assembly, handing out the certificates and praying for each person.
During the years of education, the students have experienced several important changes in their lives. For example, one student had started her studies in order to improve her theological knowledge, but during the studies she experienced a clear call to pastoral ministry. Two other students are excited about what they have been learning that they decided to continue their studies toward the Diploma in Christian Ministry.
Pastor Seyran Verdanyan, Armenia LC administrator, is sure that the knowledge, skills and transformation those students have gained will help them in their lives and ministry as they share it with the people they are witnesses for Jesus Christ. He writes: “We are convinced that the educational programmes of EuNC are a great blessing to the church in Armenia. We are continuing to recruit students to help the church develop and to make a difference in our country and beyond.”
By Seyran Vardanyan (Armenia Learning Centre Administrator)
Seminar on Spiritual Formation
In order to bring EuNC closer to the local churches, as part of a “Spiritual Formation” course, the German Learning Centre offered a weekend seminar on the topic of “Spirit-filled Life.” These days were also open for those that did not join the course itself and were led by Pastor Gideon de Jong from Berlin.
On the first day, Calvin’s theology of total depravity was compared with Wesley’s sermon on Christian perfection and the Nazarene article of faith on holiness. The second day included sections on lectio divina, the Lord‘s Prayer, worship and fasting. One participant wrote, “I am grateful for the weekend that has given my striving direction again. What went straight to my heart was James 1:22-25. How many times have I been like this person that looks at himself in the mirror, but later forgets what he has seen? Now worship is right at the top of my agenda. Later I would like to explore fasting more.” Another one said, “The seminar helped me a lot, the exchange was also very good. Who was not there, missed something.”
By Pastor Gideon de Jong
Germany Learning Centre Event at District Assembly
The German Nazarenes gathered for District Assembly on 5-6 April 2019. The event gave students, teachers, prospective students and friends the opportunity to meet for a luncheon hosted by the Learning Centre. LC coordinator Wolfgang Köhler announced that the new course of study, Advanced Diploma in Applied Theology, will be offered by the Germany Learning Centre, starting with the school year 2018/19. An information brochure was distributed among the 20 participants. Also, a newsletter will be started which all who are interested can sign up for to be kept up to date about the ministry of the Learning Centre. During District Assembly everyone attending the event had the opportunity to use EuNC’s online learning platform to facilitate a discussion on the Assembly’s topic: transformation of individuals. One of the outcomes of the discussion was that there is a need to study and listen to scripture in order to be transformed. In the closing service Wolfgang Köhler reminded the assembly how theological education contributes to this, and an offering was collected to support the ministry of the Learning Centre.
By Wolfgang Köhler (Germany Learning Centre Coordinator)
Theological Conversations Day in Portugal
The Theological Conversations Day on 1 May in the Portugal District has become a good tradition. The event has the purpose to gather people from all local Nazarene congregations to reflect together on a topic that is relevant for our lives as citizens and ambassadors of God’s kingdom. The first three events in the past years were inspired by what was presented at the Nazarene Global Theology Conference of 2014 and therefore focused on topics related to ecclesiology.
Since the Conference in 2018 focused on Christology and knowing Christ, the sponsoring entities of the Theological Conversations – EuNC, Portugal Learning Centre and the District Ministerial Studies Board – decided to follow the lead. The participants of the event had the great privilege of not only reading a paper written on “’Take up the cross and follow Me’, becoming more faithful to Jesus Christ”, but also enjoying the presence and ministry of its author, Dr. Deirdre Brower-Latz, principal of NTC Manchester.
It was an enriching and challenging day as the ones present were led to think and discuss the meaning and praxis of being followers of Jesus – cruciform disciples – whose lives are shaped by the cross and lived out in their specific contexts. Those hours were not enough for such a matter of life or death, but it is the hope and prayer of the sponsors that the seed planted will bring up fruit for eternal life starting in the here and now, through the ministry of individual and local church initiatives.
By Raquel Pereira (EuNC Registrar)
A Word from the Rector
It has been a great privilege for me to visit the learning centres and districts in Armenia, Russia and Ukraine in the month of March. Besides the graduations we had the chance to meet with the leadership of the field and each district to discuss the future of the church in their respective countries and how EuNC can support the church in the upcoming developments. There are quite some challenges ahead of us, including migration of people to other countries, the growth of the big cities and the diminishing of the population in the rural areas, as well as social, political, and economic changes. It is important to be aware of these developments – but it is also important to meet them in the awareness that God has called us to participate in His mission of proclaiming the gospel and reaching out with love and grace in order to make Christlike disciples in the nations. This is a message of hope. I am thankful for our leaders, teach-ers, students and graduates – that they follow the call of God and are voices of hope. Please stay in touch and join me in praying for them in these days!
Klaus Arnold, Rector