An extra chapter in Europe
Retirement has been delayed for a Northern Irish couple as they head out to serve the European Church in Amsterdam with BMS World Mission
2016 was supposed to be the year they put their feet up, but next month (January 2016) David and Dorothy McMillan will be heading to the Netherlands in their camper van for four years of mission.
David, former minister at Windsor Baptist Church in Belfast, and Dorothy, a senior lecturer and examiner specialising in early childhood studies, will be joining the staff at the International Baptist Theological Study Centre (IBTSC) in Amsterdam, serving there as BMS mission workers.
Dorothy, who retired from university lecturing last summer, had not been expecting a move overseas at all when, in 2014, BMS first approached them to consider going to IBTSC.
“For me personally, it has added an extra chapter to my life,” she says. “I thought at this stage I was going to retire and do my knitting. But there is going to be at least another four year period in between. That’s been quite exciting for us. It means a lot of change at our stage in life, but we’re looking forward to that.”
Dorothy is going to be getting involved with teaching, hospitality and helping with conferences, as well as the publications and journals the study centre produces.
She believes the work they will be doing for BMS in partnership with IBTSC will benefit students there who have come from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
“We will be helping people in training and leadership. That is an important part of what our skills and experience have been in and so is a way we feel we can serve God,” she says.
David is no stranger to IBTSC, having been involved with the centre on and off since 2002. He was a research student when the centre was in Prague, and was responsible for its move to Amsterdam in 2012. He is passionate about what IBTSC is doing and excited about how he and Dorothy can get involved.
“I think that IBTSC is a very strategic gift to the European Baptist Federation, its ministry and outreach,” he says. “Our role there is to develop its capacity, using the gifts and the skills that we have in terms of teaching and helping with the research work.”
One area that David will be concentrating on whilst at IBTSC is the centre’s commitment to just peacemaking, a Christian approach to preventing war developed by Glen Stassen. David and Dororthy will be researching, teaching both in terms of research and teaching and exploring practical ways just peacemaking ideas can help in areas of ethnic conflict, Christian-Muslim relationships and responding to refugees.
“The centre may be able to help as a place where people can reflect on these challenges and also bring to bear some very sound principles of just peacemaking which will enable Christians and churches across the greater Europe scene,” says David.
David believes that he and Dorothy will be able to bring their experience to this process.
“Our own background in Northern Ireland meant we were quite involved in areas of reconciliation and addressing, particularly to our own Christian communities, the challenges of just peacemaking and how to live with kingdom values in the midst of conflict,” he says. “I think that there is something out of that experience we can contribute to others. I trust and pray it will be of help in other contexts.”
Pray for David and Dorothy
“Pray for accommodation and a clearer definition of our roles, that we will do the right things and do them well for the glory of God,” says Dorothy.
“Pray that we may be effective,” says David. “We will have to make a cultural shift – it may not seem that much, but it is a different culture, it is a different place and we’re working in an international context with people from many different backgrounds. Pray we can be sensitive to that and know when there is something that we can contribute and when is the time to listen, to be silent and reflect.”
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission