“To me – less than the least of all the saints – this grace was given, to proclaim to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ and to enlighten everyone about God’s secret plan – a secret that has been hidden for ages in God who has created all things.
The purpose of this enlightenment is that through the church the multifaceted wisdom of God should now be disclosed to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly realms. This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Ephesians 3:8-11 (New English Transl.)
Grace be unto you, and peace, from the Eternal God, our Father, and from Lord Jesus Christ.
The Apostle of the Nations, Paul of Tarsus, our elder brother in the faith, in his Epistle to the Ephesians uncovers to his contemporaries (and also to us) a teaching which he calls “a mystery”. He does not mean, however, a phenomenon that cannot be explained or described, but rather the wonderful truth that was never known before. Now, in the age of Good News, it has been revealed through the merit of God’s Son, our Savior – Jesus Christ.
The Biblical teaching of the High Calling is an expression of God’s wisdom and love towards those who seek Him. It is a sign of His grace and unceasing concern to “make both one”, “that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.” (Eph. 2:14-16, 1:10)
The two human worlds that existed before Christ – the Jewish one and the multinational-pagan one – used to function next to each other but not together in the eyes of God’s Law. That which was not a unity before the work of God’s Son, can now, thanks to His sacrifice, become one.
In view of the above, the multiple nationalities and multiple cultures of our international fellowship can also in our case find a glorious reflection in this unity, as we hope that “we have [also] obtained an inheritance.” (Eph. 1:10-11)
Thanks be to the Only God for the unspeakable gift of hope and for His blessings!
These very teachings about our unity in diversity, as well as many other topics will be the subject of our many lessons during the 19th International Convention of Bible Students, to which we wish to cordially invite you, Dear Brethren. We are very hopeful that the words of God’s wonderful promises, as well as participating together in this international fellowship will provide encouragement to bear the difficulties of everyday life and to look at the future with confidence, and with unwavering faith in attaining the grace of collaborating with Jesus Christ in His work of creating unity now and in the millennium.
New Formula of the International Convention
In response to the desire that has been expressed to extend and deepen the fellowship for God’s glory (despite the natural differences in language and culture), this time we wish to invite the Brethren as well as the young people to participate in three forms of international Bible Student fellowship:
- International Choir Workshop – Aug. 3-7, 2018.
- International Seminar – same dates as above.
- International Convention of Bible Students – Aug. 8-12, 2018.
1 – The Choir Workshop
The gathering of the international choir and instrumental group directed by Bro. Tim Krupa from the US is scheduled for Aug. 3-7, 2018. The purpose of this meeting is to glorify the Creator through hymns, as well as through accompaniment performed by multiple instrumentalists. All these activities will prepare the performance and the spirit of praise for three presentations:
- Tuesday evening, before the official opening of the convention;
- Sunday evening, during the closing service;
- Friday evening (Aug.10) – a witnessing effort at the town amphitheater in Wisla.
The international seminar will be taking place concurrently with the choir workshop, so both groups will be able to participate in Bible studies together.
Bro. Tim personally invites us with the words of the hymn below to come together and fervently worship the only Lord and Savior:
A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock…
This hymn will also be a part of the public witness. The details of the invitation and the rules of the choir gathering are presented in a separate attachment.
2 – The Seminar
The International Seminar led by the brethren and young people from Australia will be held at the same time as the international choir and instrumental group, which is Aug. 3-7, 2018. Despite the huge distance that separates us, our hearts are full of mutual love and the resulting need to build the brotherly fellowship. This is why the brethren from the Melbourne, Australia ecclesia took on the preparation and leading of this seminar. The program will be coordinated with the international choir’s rehearsals, which will allow to meet together. We are inviting all who are at least 16 years old and wish to integrate during Bible studies and other activities, as well as excursions and possibly assisting in preparations for the International Convention.
The activities associated with studying God’s Word will be led by Bro. David Rice from the US with assistance from the brethren and young people from the Melbourne ecclesia and also from the brethren from Poland. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the content of the program included as a separate attachment.
PLEASE NOTE: all underage (that is under 18 years of age) participants of both events listed above are required by Polish law to include a parental consent form, which will provided on the website at a later time.
3 – The Convention
International Convention of Bible Students will be held Aug. 8-12, 2018.
The previous convention was attended by 1300 participants from 18 countries and was one of the largest ones ever. We truly hope that we are still thirsting for the fellowship of faith among the brethren from various countries, and that it will translate itself into interest in participating in this upcoming international gathering.
We are expecting brethren from Europe, North America, Australia, India, and also Cameroon in Africa.
The official opening of the convention is planned for Wednesday (Aug. 8), and the closing for Sunday evening (Aug. 12). The activities will take place from 9:00 am through 6:00 pm. Before lunch, there will be three discourses, and in the afternoon – panel discussions, vesper services and testimony meetings.
There will also be time for sightseeing excursions on Friday afternoon.
In the last few decades, we have seen rapid social changes in the outside world. The term “global village” has been gaining a new meaning, as seen in the context of geographical and cultural space of various societies around the globe.
Widespread migration and ease of communication are also impacting the lives of the ones called during the Gospel Age.
In view of the above it seems that one of the elements of our international conventions should be the opportunity to be baptized into the death of Christ. If there are candidates, the baptism will take place on Saturday afternoon.
Just like at the previous convention, since the entire facility is at our disposal, we are planning to arrange for a number of creative meetings in the evenings, after dinner. They will be held simultaneously in several rooms. We are planning the following meetings:
- interviews with brethren from “exotic” countries;
- a special study on the Biblical flood;
- testimony meetings;
- special fellowship conducted by the US brethren devoted to the state of Israel, since 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of its creation;
- special fellowship on our relationships within families and with our young people.
The witness effort in Wisla will also be a part of this optional meetings program.
How to Register
Participants of all three types of convention fellowship from North America and English speaking countries please register online at the following website: http://biblestudentsconventions.com
We invite the participants of the choir, the seminar and the convention to the same facility as in 2016 – ORLE GNIAZDO (EAGLE’S NEST) Conference and Recreation Center in SZCZYRK near Bielsko-Biala.
The Center’s address:
- Wrzosowa 28 A
tel. 48 (33) 81 97 300
The familiar Orle Gniazdo venue has this unique, almost Biblical name because of its location at the top of one of the taller hills above the town, about a mile from its center. This very location – far from the city’s hustle and bustle, from the traffic, billboards and crowds of tourists, proved to be a blessing for those seeking peace, quiet an solitude, as well as the closeness and fellowship around God’s Word. These were the decisive factors in choosing Orle Gniazdo as the site where we wish to experience the uplifting and moving moments that would strengthen our faith. The center has undergone a lot of remodeling within the last year or two, which will improve the quality of our stay there.
Just like last time, Orle Gniazdo opens all its auditoriums which we will wish to use.
In the rooms located next to the main auditorium, participation will be limited to watching the transmission on large screens.
In order to provide meals for the convention’s participants, we are planning to take full advantage of the center’s kitchen. We expect that due to such a large number of brethren, they will be served in several rounds.
The restaurants also guarantee serving vegetarian meals.
This time, we are planning to stay in more hotels than previously. The list of hotels, as well as the details about their standard and pricing, are included in the registration form.
The facilities will also provide rooms for the handicapped; in some of the buildings there are elevators that will facilitate moving around.
Purchasing Rooms and Meals
Accommodations and meals are sold as packages – a package consists of one night and three meals (starting with lunch and dinner, followed by breakfast on the next day).
One exception is the Zagron hotel, where you can purchase accommodations with breakfast, and then add on the other meals at an additional charge. The cost of each package is listed on the registration form.
Please remember to register each participant, including small children.
Because the number of rooms is limited and contracts have to be confirmed with the vendors, please register as soon as possible. The brethren from the Polish Committee will need to make some binding decisions as co-organizers by March 1, 2018 at the latest.
For the brethren that will not have their own cars, we are planning to arrange transportation according to their needs. It will also be possible to arrange separately for transportation to hotels not listed in the registration form.
In order to cover the cost directly associated with organizing the convention, its adult participants will be paying a registration fee of 7.5 zl per day. Children under 18 year of age as well as the brethren from Moldova and Ukraine will not be expected to do so.
For the adult participants of the choir workshop and the seminar this fee will be discounted to 50%.
On Friday afternoon (Aug. 10) we are planning to organize several sightseeing excursions. Later that afternoon, there will be a witnessing concert of the choir in Wisla.
After the convention, the brethren from other countries are invited to take part in a sightseeing tour, which will also include visiting several ecclesias in Poland. If you wish to join this group, please indicate it on the registration form.
Financial Support for Brethren from Other Countries
Participation in studying the wonderful Word of God and praising together our only God and Savior during this international convention is also the desire of many of our brethren who live in countries of lesser economic standard (especially in Moldova and Ukraine), and they are not able to cover the cost of their stay at the convention.
Because of that, we would like to encourage you, Beloved Brethren, to support these desires of our brethren with our acts of compassion. Each donation for this purpose should be marked as “sponsoring international convention participants”.
Participating in an international fellowship of brethren at the top of a high mountain, in “Eagle’s Nest,” far from the urban noise, reminds us how deeply social we are, and how much we need our relationships and each other’s help, smile, acceptance, cordiality and love – “that the members should have the same care one for another… [for] ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” (1 Cor. 12:25, 27) Wishing to experience once again the joy of brotherly fellowship, we invite all those who are seeking hope and assurance in Jesus Christ, to join in this international gathering.
Dear Brethren in Jesus Christ; in the hope for many blessings which we can receive during this fellowship, let us pray today that “God’s eyes may be open by day and by night” at the time and place we have planned for it; so that His name may be praised and our prayers, as of His faithful ones, would be heard – according to 1 Kings 8:29.
On behalf of the brethren from the Polish Committee,
Bro. Stanislaw Slawinski