This year has been a significant time of growth for the ministry, with several new apologists joining the team.
In Europe, we have made two key appointments. Andy Wickham, who studied at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics in 2006, has joined the team to head up our work in Spain. Andy and his wife are based in Madrid. And Christian Hofreiter, who joined the team in 2012 and has been based in Oxford, has recently moved to Austria to head up our outreach in Austria, Germany and the German-speaking part of Switzerland.
Vlad Criznic has continued to lead fruitful outreach for RZIM Romania. This has actually been a key year for him with two strategic decisions which will enable him to minister at an even higher level in the future.
Vlad has just relocated to the UK for a one-year period to begin his Ph.D in Theology/Apologetics under the tutelage of Alister McGrath. In July 2014, he will return to his new home in Romania – having moved from Arad in March to Cluj. Cluj is a much more central location, and is the second largest city in Romania boasting the largest state university, so it is the ideal location to take the ministry forward.
When he returns, Vlad will be developing a couple of associates to support him in evangelism and with the launch of apologetics training weekends in Romania.
Of course, the work of these apologists is complemented by our broader team with their numerous trips into Europe, most notably trips by Ravi Zacharias and Amy Orr-Ewing into Russia, Michael Ramsden in the Czech Republic, Denmark and Belgium, and John Lennox in Germany and several Balkan States. Os Guinness spoke in Sweden and at the State of Europe Forum in Dublin, Eire.
Our work in the UK has continued apace, too. Michael Ramsden has spoken in numerous business settings, including an event at KPMG in Canary Wharf, London. John Lennox gave the address at the UK Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast in Westminster Hall, and Alister McGrath has been speaking extensively on both sides of the Atlantic about the life and apologetics of CS Lewis, having published a much-acclaimed book on Lewis to mark the 50th anniversary of his death.
The life and apologetics of CS Lewis was also the focus of the RZIM Oxford Summer School in July. Other events organized by the Oxford team included a training day in January entitled Confidence in the Truth which was filmed and produced as a DVD and distributed to all those at the Westminster prayer breakfast. Amy Orr-Ewing and John Lennox also feature on a Towards Belief DVD, a series of ten 30-minute interviews focusing on issues such as suffering, the Bible, exclusivity of faith, science and God, and the church.
We are also pleased to have held our first Youth Apologetics Day, called Reboot, with Michael, Amy and Vince Vitale speaking to more than 350 twelve-eighteen year olds in London – an event already established in our 2014 calendar, too. As ever, our team spoke at numerous Christian Bible Weeks throughout the summer, most notably at Kewsick, New Wine and Focus, training hundreds of Christians, including many youth, in how to share and defend their faith.
Sharon Dirckx published her first book, Why?, looking at the nature of God, evil and suffering and was subsequently interviewed on BBC Radio 2 by Clare Balding on Palm Sunday. This was one of the many media encounters we have had during the year, as we continue to work with TV, radio and print journalists to give meaningful answers that show Christianity to be a credible worldview that is relevant for our times.
Further afield, we are delighted to have appointed our first apologist in South Africa. Michael Ramsden has been ministering in Cape Town and beyond for the last 12 or more years, and the appointment of Winston Mashua, a graduate of the OCCA this year, will do much to accelerate this ongoing work in South Africa. Winston is currently based in Durban.
Other new team members include Nabeel Qureshi (based with our North American team) and Tracy Trinita (Indonesia) who has joined the RZIM Asia team.
We are, as ever, so encouraged by the way the Lord brings new apologists into our wake and enables us to equip them for an even greater Kingdom impact as they join our team.