As we take tentative steps out of lockdown towards some sort of new-normality, we’re confronted with the reality that old routines will not quickly be restored. Rhythms of work, study, recreation, vacations, family gatherings, festivals, conferences and church will all be affected.
Our Schuman Centre summer plans have been impacted in different ways. In spite of the corona-crisis, the Continental Heritage Tour begins next Sunday, June 28, in search of faithful minorities who shaped Europe through their faith. Yet because of the pandemic, we are not cramming into minibuses physically to visit the forty or so historic locations.
Instead we go online daily for the following two weeks, until July 12, to travel through five nations without leaving our homes. Now, for 90 minutes each day, you can still join us as we take google tours through the streets of destinations cities, stopping to tell stories about people, places and events.
On the other hand, we will go ahead with the Summer School of Europe Studies in Amsterdam, starting Monday morning August 3, ending Friday evening, August 7. See below for further information.
Since our first Heritage Tour in 2005, many from all around the world have travelled with Romkje and me in combinations of buses, vans and cars. Many others have said how much they wanted to do the tour. If you were one, now is your chance to join from anywhere in the world.
Our original plan was to travel next Sunday to the city of Utrecht in the centre of the Netherlands, the best place I know to explain how Europe got her soul. Now, online, we will still start in the Domplein, staring up at the Domtower and the Domkerk, to discover evidence of the conversion of the Romans and the Copts, the Irish Celts and the Scots, the Angles and the Saxons, the Franks and the Frisians, the Germanic tribes and even the Vikings!
After a virtual visit of Amsterdam the next day– a fascinating city I like to call ‘the mid-wife of the modern world’–we will head to Dokkum in Friesland to the pilgrim’s centre near the spot where Boniface was murdered, after a lifetime of mission during which he is said to have had more influence on Germany’s history than any other person.
Usually when we visit Dokkum, we watch a short film about Boniface, his origins in England and ministry across Germany. You will have the link to watch this and other films of people and places we visit at your own convenience.
With a timeline and a daily travelogue and background notes before you, you will be able to ‘connect the dots’ to fill out the rich and colourful story of Europe’s spiritual heritage. You will build up a valuable file of information, perspectives, biographies and maps. Short videos will take us ‘inside’ to visit key locations – like Luther’s Wartburg Castle (see photo above) where he went underground after being declared an outlaw, and translated the Bible into German.
After stops in The Netherlands (Utrecht, Amsterdam, Friesland, Zwolle & Deventer) and Germany (Aachen, Koln, Fulda, Point Alpha, Wartburg Castle, Erfurt, Leipzig, Wittenberg, Hall, Dresden, Herrnhut), we cross to the Czech Republic for a detour into the mountains to explore a rock labyrinth, a secret gathering place where persecuted Hussites came to pray and worship, before moving on to Prague.
Then we cross back into Germany (Regensburg, the Dachau concentration camp, Augsburg and Hurlach, the YWAM castle which was base of operations for the first Olympic Games outreach in 1972), and to Switzerland (St Gallen, Zurich, Thunnerzee, St Maurice, Caux, Lausanne, Geneva and Basel), before heading back up through France to Strasbourg and Scy-Chazelles (Robert Schuman’s home town).
We will create a learning community together, getting to know our fellow travellers online, perhaps building long-term relationships. This tour would have cost €1900, including food, travel and accommodation. Now you can get much of the same input for €75 (a mere €5 p.d.!), including reference materials. (Tip: you could gather a small group around the one monitor for the same price and do the tour together!)
Interested? Contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further details.
Professor Evert Van de Poll and I will team up again to teach the Summer School of European Studies here in Amsterdam, using Evert’s new book, Christian faith and the making of Europe, which each student will receive. Through talks, a canal boat tour, videos and discussions, we will learn how the story of Jesus has been the greatest influence in shaping Europe’s past; and we will ask: why cannot this same story be the greatest influence in shaping Europe’s future? We will finish with a special session on ‘post-corona Europe: what is God up to?’
Course fee is €250, with accommodation €100 extra (5 nights). Contact me directly to apply (see my address above).
Evert, by the way, will be our next ‘Schuman Talks’ guest on July 9, at 6pm, on youtube.com (go to ‘Schuman Talks’).
Till next week,