We remain committed to the original ODC aims. We aim to take five to fifteen PhD students out of their busy environments every year. We place them in an international, interdenominational learning community of believing and practicing scholars. There they have access to experienced ODC mentors who support and motivate them in their PhD work. The final responsibility in the supervision process remains with their assigned supervisor of the University with which they are affiliated. The program has also proven to be of great benefit to those who are exploring the possibilities of pursuing PhD studies. It assists them to flesh out their research topic.

Programme Leaders Peter F. Penner and Anne-Marie Kool continued to play a vital role in organizing, running and coordinating the ODC. They were aided by Krisztina Olah, our new part-time ODC Coordinator. Peter and Katharina Penner have vast experience in ministering to Christians in Central Asia and the former Soviet Union.

The Winter ODC Program took place in February 2023 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Osijek, Croatia and online. During the Winter Program, a total of 24 students and 11 mentors participated at one of the locations. There were 11 students in Osijek, 11 students in Almaty, and 2 student participants connected online. The students and mentors together represented 11 countries.

Thanks to the advice of mentors, especially Dr. Parush, it seems to me that I finally found my research question, got the focus and purpose of the research. I partly formed the structure of the work and its main parts. That made me very happy and relieved. And also I received very good advice on which department I can choose to write my dissertation research. I am very satisfied with this colloquium.

(Winter 2023 ODC participant in Almaty)

We are glad to share some good news. Of the former ODC participants, several have reached the final stage of publishing their research.

Valeriia Chornobai (ODC 2021) completed her thesis on loneliness in a Christian context and was accepted and published by Langham Publishing. The work appeared under the title Better than One: A Biblical View of Loneliness (and is co-authored). The book approaches the issue of loneliness from a theological perspective and distinguishes between loneliness and singleness. The thesis was defended at the National Pedagogical Dragomanov University, Kyiv, Ukraine.

You can find the book HERE.

Beni Mocan‘s thesis (Pentecostal Theological Imaginary and the Construction of Public Theology within Contemporary Society) investigates the existence of a Pentecostal foundation for a public theology in the Romanian context. He concludes that, although unsystematized, there is a Pentecostal teaching – in church songs and periodical articles – that indicates a concern of Romanian Pentecostals for the life of the city and the common good. The research can be a starting point for a new perspective on the relationship between church and society in Romania and in the region.

Melody Wachsmuth published her PhD dissertation with a prestigious publisher in 2023. She tells the hitherto untold stories of Roma women experiencing trauma in Serbia and Croatia titled Roma Pentecostals Narrating Identity, Trauma, and Renewal in Croatia and Serbia. You can find the book HERE.

“The reason and the goal of applying to the Winter ODC 2023 was the most basic one – I wanted to get the feedback on whether my ideas and topics have merrit to do as a PhD. I also needed help in formulating the research question or finding a proper angle on the broad idea that I had….I received much more than I expected – many tools and resources for further research, idea on which angle to take, it just needs more refining now. I belive this experience was invaluable for me. I am in awe of the encouraging and open atmosphere that the ODC had to offer.”

(Winter 2023 ODC participant in Osijek)