Greetings from the President
Estonia as a state celebrated 100 years this past weekend. We participated at festivities (as you can see from the picture) in our home town Pärnu. In spite of the cold winter weather many people had gathered to march in the festive procession from the Independence War Memorial to the place where the Independence Manifesto was first read in public hundred years ago. People were standing in the snowfall, listening speeches and re-reading the original text of the Manifesto.
On Sunday I preached in my local church on Galatians 5:1: „It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then…“ Freedom is a gift from God, bringing us possibilities and choices, also creating zeal for moving forward and opening new doors. Let us pray that we as Christians would take seriously the responsibility that comes with freedom, and understand how to use wisely our religious freedom in free independent Estonia.
In February our faculty finished their study about using the Moodle (e-learning environment) for creating online courses or study objects. All participants were keenly involved and I do hope that our e-learning will make a big step forward from now on. Let us pray that our faculty would use their newly acquired knowledge, and practice in a creative way some new teaching methods.
In February I started to teach a class for pastoral care students in the Lutheran Theological Institute. It is an interesting and enriching experience to teach in another school, and I am grateful to God that we have such good working relationship with our neighboring school.
In March our Bishop Christian Alsted will come and teach a class on UMC structure and Book of Discipline. Let us pray that this class would bless those who are in ministry with useful knowledge.
Seminary worship services in February were led by our last year students as a practical training in the framework of their class “Worship Theology and Practice“. We do involve students in worship and prayer times but this time they carried the whole responsibility, and they did well.
Our student Kaire Lotamõis who is actively involved in the mission committee of Estonian Evangelical Alliance initiated an art exhibition in our building based on artwork that was made for the Mission Calendar 2018. Several artists were present at the opening night, and explained their artwork in details. All pieces of art are on sale, and all the income will support mission.
Our student Triin Tarendi is participating on the study-trip in US, and our prayer is that this experience would bless her personally as well as her church in Jõhvi.
Friends Near and Far
The roundtable of Christian Education initiated by Estonian Council of Churches will gather again in March, and I shall represent UMC in Estonia as well as our seminary there. Let us pray that joint plans of different denominations regarding Christian education would be born there, and we would be visible and positively involved in educational life of Estonia as Christians.
Friends of Estonia meeting in Nashville (April 27-28) will be the next opportunity to meet several long-term friends of the seminary in US. On Sunday before that meeting (22.04) I am invited to visit Asbury UMC in Tulsa OK. This church has been a great supporter for our seminary since its very beginning, and it is a privilege and honor to visit these faithful friends.
We pray that all seminary friends and supporters would be richly blessed – „that in all things at all times, having all that they need, they would abound in every good work“ (2 Co 9:8, paraphrased).
President of the BMTS