Greetings from the President
Today is Valentine’s Day. In Estonia this day is still quite a new holiday but the younger generation celebrates this day predominantly as a friendship day. So I believe it gives a proper reason to celebrate all Seminary’s friends today, and extend a warm and friendly thank-you to all of you for your prayers and support!
Jesus told his disciples: „You are my friends…“ (Jn 15:14). Through Him and in Him our mutual friendship can grow and develop into a beautiful partnership in ministry and mission.
As friends we also stand by each other in challenging times – and right now I ask for your prayers for March 6 when the accrediting commission will come to visit our seminary. Please pray that each member of this commission would be open and willing to learn all necessary information about our seminary without prejudices, and that our faculty, staff, students and alumni who meet them would have wisdom and grace to answer the questions, and represent our seminary at its best.
Last week we had in our seminary a visiting professor Rich Bennet from US who taught a class in Old Testament Theology. Students’ feedback was predominantly positive although some students had to admit their insufficient knowledge about Old Testament that made it sometimes difficult to follow his line of thought. However, these lectures clearly wakened the interest in deeper knowledge of „the Bible Jesus read“, as Philip Yancey has called it.
Our faculty member Ullas Tankler is teaching International group of students from different European countries at the Methodist e-academy block seminar in Rome, Italy this week (February 15-17). Please keep him in your prayers also.
In March, our new administrative assistant Anna Seifullina who has a Master’s degree from Reutlingen School of Theology in Germany will begin her teaching at the seminary by teaching a class in Estonian Church History. Please pray as she is preparing for this class right now.
We had somewhat critical financial situation in the end of the year due to the fact that the income from The Giving Tuesday in December was very modest. As the online donations were not be matched this time, the motivation to give was unfortunately very low. Thus we are really grateful to those few faithful friends who did donate, and to friends from Asbury and Chapelwood UMC as well as from several Estonian UMC congregations who immediately responded to our financial crisis, and made additional donations around Christmas time. Thanks to you we have been able to pay all bills and salaries and finish the year 2016 with almost balanced budget.
Based on this sad experience however we decreased our budget expectations somewhat for the year 2017, and while being really careful and economical in all our expences we ask for your prayerful support as we approach the new fiscal year with its challenges. Let us pray that the existing financial partnerships would continue, and some new supporters would become engaged.
Friends near and far
On February 17-19 I shall participate at the theological conference in Rome, organized by MTSE (Methodist Related Schools in Europe) titled “Being the Church in 21st Century Europe“. Please pray for this gathering to be fruitful as an opportunity to meet friends from other theological schools, and develop further the Methodist educational network.
In March I shall teach a class at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, and their President will give a lecture at our UMC pastors’ continuous education event on March 31. I am grateful to God for this mutual friendship, and ask for your prayers for its continuation.
Dear friends, we are grateful for your prayers, and we keep you in our prayers.
President of the BMTS