The second European Huddle was held at Guessens in Welwyn, headquarters of the European Missionary Fellowship (EMF), from 10-12 July. It was hosted by this year’s students, as the final part of their training at the School of Biblical Studies. Yet again, the Lord was gracious in giving the sun so that the beautiful gardens could be taken full advantage of. This year saw an increase in bookings, with over 60 attending and 19 nationalities taking part.
Not only did the delegates enjoy the meetings themselves, but they were also streamed live over the internet, with an encouraging number of people tuning in from Spain, Hungary, Romania and the UK, amongst others.
The main speaker was Dr Jan Hábl, pastor of Církev Bratrská Free Evangelical Church in Ústí nad Labem, and senior lecturer in pedagogy at J. E. Purkyne University in the Czech Republic. He kick-started the meetings on Friday with the main topic of the weekend, ‘Neither angel, nor demon, who am I?’
Jan examined nine different dimensions of humanity, giving a detailed and stimulating analysis of who we are as humans and the capability we have for both good and bad. He developed this theme through the weekend, looking at human capacity and potential, ontologically and morally.
Phil Dunn, EMF’s Northern Ireland Representative, started Saturday morning with a devotional talk from Luke 10:38-42. This was followed by a second session with Jan, after which the delegates attended one of three seminars. Nicola led an interactive seminar on engaging Muslims with the gospel; Steve Smith, UK Director of Serving in Mission (SIM), looked at embracing Christ’s mission in multi-cultural Britain; Emanuel Ralevic, pastor of a church in Niš, Serbia, and Director of the Balkan Theological Seminary (BTS), led a brainstorming session considering how BTS could mobilise support.
The afternoon gave time to relax with volleyball, table tennis, badminton and fellowship in the garden.
Ian Parry, from the Bay Church, Cardiff, and a trustee of EMF, then spoke on ‘Hammering grace into the heart of mission’, in which he reiterated the importance of the grace of God in mission, as without it we soon slip into legalism or unholy living. Saturday evening saw the ‘Unceremonious celebration’, the momentous moment for the students as they graduated! The marquee was overflowing, as around 150 people attended. The students shared about their time at the School and future hopes, before singing the song that had become their anthem, Siyahamba (‘We are marching in the light of God’), for the final time as a group.
Martin Leech (EMF Director) ended the weekend with a challenging and encouraging word from 2 Corinthians 5, entitled ‘Authentic, therefore relevant’. It was a powerful and uplifting message, which gave zeal to those who heard it and a great reminder of who we are in Christ.
The European Huddle provides a warm environment for young people to engage with other like-minded believers from a wide variety of countries. It is the hope of EMF that the younger generation will be enthused and equipped to share their faith better, and that a network of vibrant, Spirit-filled believers will continue to support and pray for one another.