News and Thank You from Missionaries Pat and Melenda Edmiston

Dear Friends at Hyde Park,

Thank you for being such faithful partners with us through your generous gifts and many prayers. We remain passionate in our vision to see the last language group receive God’s Word in the language of their heart. Only then will “the earth be filled with an awareness of the Glory of the Lord.” (Hab 2:14)

Because of you, we live out this calling that God has put on our lives.

Gratefully His,

Pat & Melenda
Wycliffe Bible Translators
Papua New Guinea

For news, click here.

News from Missionaries Nick and Renee Shaw

Who’s Gonna Tell Them?
If you had the opportunity to be at our commissioning and send-off service at First Church in Newark, you heard the sermon by Rev. Dr. Tim Bias, from Romans 10:5-15, “Who’s Gonna Tell Them?” – a message that challenged each of us to ponder deeply what our individual call is in sharing the Gospel, a sermon that was powerful and moving. Multiple times since that Sunday afternoon, Renee, myself, and several friends have referenced it. To keep reading, click here.

Cold Weather Shelters Serve 445 Guests

In the winter of 2018-19, Hyde Park resumed our Cold Weather Shelter ministry to provide warm, secure space for those experiencing homelessness. The program is administered by Hillsborough County government, who monitors weather conditions and issues an alert when the weather forecast shows temperatures will drop below 40°F. Once that notice is issued, Cold Weather Shelters, including Hyde Park United Methodist, mobilize to open these shelters.

Don Aiken served as the ministry liaison during this season and provided the following summary of results.

“I think we can safely say we are done until next fall. We provided shelter to 445 individuals and 990 meals this season. This was only possible because of your selflessness and generosity. Thank you for raising your hand to help those in need. See you in 8-9 months.”

Thanks to Don and all the volunteers who stepped forward to provide shelter for those in need.

News From Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary

March 2019

Dear Friends,

It is my joy to announce that Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary (BMTS) has been institutionally accredited for the next three years and our theology and mission curriculum for the next seven years. The international committee found our teaching, learning and curriculum to meet the standards of international higher applied education. The committee wished to see more applied research, publications, and generally more visibility in society. These are the areas we have already committed to work on.

This year I took some violin lessons. This was a new thing for me. I had never held a violin in my hands before. I had only admired how great it sounds when played by professionals. My first efforts on the violin did not sound great. Sometimes it was hard to recognize a decent sound between the scratching sounds. Some days I doubted if I could learn, and I wondered if it was worth trying. The teacher kept telling me what was wrong. The hold, the bow, the position of my fingers. Well, this I already knew. But I did not know how the correct approach looked or felt.

“Please tell me if I do something right and then I will try to do more of that!” I asked. And so she agreed. She spent more time describing the correct way and why it was the correct way. And it worked! By focusing on the right way, I was able to do it more and more. Now I can play a simple tune. But more importantly, I have the joy and desire to practice.

It helps us at the seminary when we hear what we are doing well. We would like to do even more of it. Please do let us know when we hit the right notes. We would like to do it even more. We want to develop in the right direction.

In the coming school year, tuition will increase and there will be fees for some administrative activities. Unfortunately, learning and teaching have associated expenses. We want to continue to make education available for everyone who senses God’s call to ministry. For that reason, we will continue to offer discounts to applicants who are active in their home church during their studies. We want to find a solution that suits every student. The necessary information is on the seminary website. We are also asking congregations to support students with prayers and financial resources during their studies and to offer them opportunities to serve in the congregation. We believe that the best theological education happens in the synergy of classroom learning and practical ministry during the studies. Practice is the only way to truly bring forth potential and talents in each student.

In March Kaja Rüütel celebrated her birthday. Many blessings to Kaja! We really appreciate your talents in English translation and your heart for ministry.

We had a privilege to welcome OMS missionaries Brent and Carol Weaver, as our visiting faculty. They taught about Church Growth and our students were very excited. Carol also preached a deep message in Chapel based on a biblical lament which touched so many hearts. We are grateful to God for our partnership with OMS.

Alur Õunpuu, our 2018 graduate, was ordained bishop of the Estonian Christian Pentecostal Church. As a student, Alur always lifted up and encouraged other students. On the night before his ordination, Alur shared that before God he would prefer to be guilty of being too generous than being too strict. We know Alur to be a humble, friendly person with a servant’s heart. Now he is an even greater blessing to Estonian church. We wish God’s guidance to Alur in this great responsibility.

The Seminary had a very special privilege to host visitors from Fairview UMC, from Maryville, Tennessee. Faithful Men visited Methodists in Latvia and Estonia. The choir performed in Paide UMC, where our student Kristina Lepik and our graduate Eivin Toodo are pastors. They also sang at Tallinn New Prison where seminary graduate Allan Kroll is a chaplain. Pastor Mickey Rainwater and worship leader Wesley Rouse shared their experiences in designing holistic worship services with pastors of Estonian UMC at the “What Would Wesley Preach?” pastor’s continuing education training in Pärnu.

BMTS has a great working relationship with the Estonian Christian Pentecostal Church’s (ECPC) Next Step Bible School program. There are currently nine students in the school. Students will receive a certificate for one year of studies.

Külli Tõniste taught a course in Soteriology at ECPC Next Step Bible School.

We have so much to be grateful for. Faculty and students are excited about good quality English textbooks added to our library collection. Thanks to our trustee J. D. Landis for his initiative with this donation.

BMTS website Estonian site has now added a more convenient PayPal option for regular support using a credit card:

Advance through has recently changed its website layout. To find us search for Europe, Education, Estonia, Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary Scholarships (Advance # 15021B). To donate, please use this link to access their page on the General Board of Global Mnistries website.

The seminary has doubled its development fund in March thanks to staff and faculty donations. Every donation from our own people is “Yes” and “Amen” to the work that we are doing. We want to see the work that God began through the seminary 25 years ago continue to bear good fruit. Thanks be to God.

Seeking Stillness – Recap

Seeking Stillness – Recap

This past weekend more than 100 attendees gathered at The Portico for the Seeking Stillness retreat to learn the practice of Christian meditation. Retreat leader, Carl McColman, helped us discover the history of contemplative practice in the church and how silence brings us closer to God on a deep, personal level. We practiced a variety of meditation methods, including a beautiful sunrise walking meditation along the Downtown Tampa Riverwalk and a powerful Taize session with Shelley Tworoger. Thank you to all who attended and made this retreat such a special experience that has touched our congregation and the community.

Get Involved

The Portico offers ways to get involved with yoga and meditation every week. Click here for more information on how you can continue to seek stillness.

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