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UK-Ukraine Baptists celebrate the life and work of Sergii V. Sannikov

A collaboration between British and Ukrainian Baptists results in an international conference and an important new book on Baptist history and mission

Conference pic

An International theological online conference took place on the theme of "Eschatological Community: Faith, Ministry, and Prophetic Witness in a Changing World" on 5 October 2020.  The conference was organised by the European Baptist Federation, the East European Institute of Theology, the Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians, Odesa Theological Seminary, Spurgeon's College, and the Anabaptist Mennonite Network (UK). More than 100 people from around the world attended. 

During the conference issues were discussed concerning the Church's self-understanding as an eschatological community, the prophetic witness of the Church in the midst of the technocratic crisis of civilisation, and the eschatological presence of Christ in liturgical practices. Also examined were the challenges facing theological education in the context of a rapidly-changing world.

Among the presenters were distinguished international and national Baptist theologians and denominational leaders, including Tony Peck, Keith Jones, Ian Randall, and Anthony Cross.

It is no coincidence that the conference took place on 5 October. That day was the 70th birthday of the well-known Ukrainian Baptist theologian, historian, and educator, Dr Sergii V. Sannikov. Therefore, one of the main purposes of the conference was to celebrate the life journey and creative accomplishments of the honoree.

Encountering the MysteryAcknowledging the significant contribution of Sergii Sannikov to the development of Baptist and Evangelical theology as a whole, the presenters entered into dialogue with his views on the nature of the church, the purpose of mission, and the interpretation of the East European Evangelical tradition. The papers that were presented are part of a book which was presented during the conference, entitled, Encountering the Mystery: Essays in Honor of the 70th Birthday of S. V. Sannikov. The editors are Oleksandr Geichenko, Taras Dyatlik, Mary Raber, Joshua Searle, and Roman Soloviy. To order a copy of the book, please follow this link: https://bit.ly/SVSannikovBook2020

Around one third of the book is in English, including the important biographical chapter, which would be of particular interest to UK Baptists.

The conference organisers hope that this event and the appearance of the book will not only stimulate theological thought, but will also serve as a reminder that it is essential to cultivate active gratitude, memory, and recognition. No one is forgotten by God; therefore, we also must not forget the people who have contributed to our spiritual, intellectual, and professional formation.

For the Church is not only a community of faith, ministry, and prophetic witness, but also a fellowship of memory that for centuries has carefully preserved the memory of her saints, martyrs, and teachers. By remembering our predecessors with gratitude, we acknowledge ourselves to be not only members of local congregations or confessional groups, but also part of the great tradition of faith. Within the framework of this tradition, we find solid ground from which to discern the contemporary world prophetically and to look to the future with hope.

Joshua Searle, Oleksander Geichenko, Taras Dyatlik, Mary Raber, Roman Soloviy, and Olga Dyatlik 

Baptist Times, 19/10/2020
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