Conference : Church in Transition

Faculty of Protestant Theology & Religion Studies (FPTR), Brussels


Church in Transition


Welcome at our conference day on the transition of the church! Open for anyone active, academically or practically, with new forms of church presence or interested in them.

It is organised in the context of our Brussels City Chaplaincy project (see below).

Please register at, preferably before November 16, and please indicate the letters of the dialogue tables you would like to attend.

We expect you November 22 from 10.30 a.m. (start program at 11), FPTR, Rue des Bollandistes 40, 1040 Etterbeek Brussels


Looking forward to meeting you,

Dr. Bert Dicou (project leader)

Prof. Dr. Johan Temmerman (dean)



The 21st century is bringing big changes for churches in Belgium, and in fact across north-western Europe. Only migrant churches are still on the rise. Once large and powerful churches have experienced or are experiencing a noticeable decline in interest. Parishes are being merged and churches closed. Smaller denominations are struggling to keep their heads above water. At the same time, society does not lack the search for meaning,. This need might even be stronger than ever. Nor has the need for meaningful communities disappeared.

A new task for churches may arise: learning to listen to society’s needs and trying to respond to them. The inspiration still comes from the Gospel, but it is clear that an attitude of listening and responding will change the way things are done. ‘Church’ may start to look very different. This might discourage some, but isn’t it a beautiful challenge rather than something to be lamented?

At this seminar, we look at what is emerging and discuss what kind of transition process churches may be in presently. Main lectures by Prof Christa Anbeek (Amsterdam, Nijmegen) and Armin Kummer (Leuven, Brussels) and plenty of opportunity for dialogue.



10.30-11.00 Coffee and tea (room 0.2)

11.00 Welcome by Prof. Dr. Leendert-Jan Parlevliet

11.05 Prof. Dr. Christa Anbeek, Embracing vulnerability in Communities-with-a-Heart. How can we contribute to the emerging of meaningful communities in contemporary society

11.50 Prof. Dr. Johan Temmerman, First Response

12.00 Drs. Armin Kummer, Fresh Practices in Tomorrow’s Church

12.45 Drs. Edwin Delen, First Response

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch in the faculty refectory

14.00 Dialogue tables, round 1*

  1. Church in transition: Fresh practices. Dr. Bert Dicou
  2. Sacramental legacy of the churches in times of transition. Dr. Elza Kuijk.
  3. What dialogues are needed for Communities with a heart? Prof. Dr. Christa Anbeek.

15.00 Dialogue tables, round 2*

  1. The unruliness of transition processes. Prof. Dr. Leendert-Jan Parlevliet.
  2. How do migrant churches relate to transition? Prof. Dr. Johan Temmerman.
  3. ‘Chaplaincy’ as a vocation in times of transition. Drs. Edwin Delen.

16.00 Plenary closing with an impression of the outcomes

16.30 Refreshments


* One or two rounds dialogue dependent on number of conference participants. Please indicate first and second choice with your registration

Brussels city chapaincy project

‘Brussels City Chaplaincy’ is a project of the Faculty of Protestant Theology and Religious Studies (FPTR) developed in cooperation with the Protestant Church Brussels Graanmarktkerk (PKB). It has started in 2022. It is intended to constitute a network on the city-oriented presence of churches, Christian organizations and religious professionals in Brussels. It is ecumenical in intention. One of its main goals is to form a learning/working community on the topic of ‘city chaplaincy’ – the cultural, social or spiritual presence of the church in the context of the city. It also hopes to serve as a testing ground for new initiatives in the field of ‘being there for the city’.

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