PRAYERCHAIN, May 2019
Miracle! This is the word that the first rector Andrus Norak used to describe the seminary on April 20th, 1995. The birth of the seminary was indeed a miracle. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union when there was no building, almost no faculty, not even a phone, yet our seminary was born. There was a heavenly spark and there were people who were ready to be kindled! The fire keeps burning even today.
On this 25th anniversary we remembered and thanked these individuals for their part in founding the seminary: Wes and Joy Griffin, Olav Pärnamets, Eddie Fox (received by Kimberly Reisman), Asbury Theological Seminary (received by Tom Tumblin), Üllas Tankler, Toomas Pajusoo, and Bishop Hans Växby. They burned themselves and ignited others. They started something that has lasted 25 years!
We also recognized the following for their remarkable leadership to keep seminary burning brightly: Bishop Christian Alsted, Mary Ann Smith, Andrus Norak (posthumously), Lii Lilleoja and Meeli Tankler.
There are many others who deserve our deepest gratitude including all of our former and current employees as well as trustees. Please know we appreciate what you did, are doing, and continue to do for this miracle we call the seminary!
We celebrated on the day that Methodists know as John Wesley’s Aldersgate experience. The day when he felt his heart “strangely warmed”.
The passage which set the theme for our birthday was 2 Tim 1:6. This text is about rekindling the fire, or as in some bible translations about fanning the flame to make it burn brighter. To have fire we need 1) burning material 2) spark 3) air. Any element missing and we have no fire.
The beginning words I used at the celebration were: “Whatever else happens today, the most important thing is that we connect.” Our goal was to connect and rekindle the fire. We tried to connect to our alumni, to our former and current workers and, to our partners. We really made an effort to reach every graduate. We could not reach everyone yet, but we will keep on trying.
Not all material is ready to take fire. Are you the kind of material that is ready? Ready to be used to give warmth, light, energy. Are you ready to be used by God for working miracles? Perhaps you were ready at some time, but you got distracted. I urge you to come and reconnect!
The spark is the Holy Spirit. God’s heavenly fire that lit up the apostles who set the whole world on fire. In order to ignite, we must be next to something that is burning! This is why we must come together! To help each other burn brighter, burn warmer, burn continuously!
Air is something that we need to keep burning. Air moves, we must stir the fire to keep it going. Let the Holy Spirit move and work in and through us. Let it guide us. God is likely to do something new in the next 25 years.
John Wesley said:
“Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.”
My invitation on this day is: would you also catch fire? The future of this school is in our hands. Our faithfulness today is what determines the outcome for the next 25 years. Would you let Christ burn brightly in you giving warmth, light and energy to others?
The students had a chance to worship with our trustees this week. Mai Unt lead worship and Riho Kurg gave a testimony and Randy Frye preached. Thank you for leading and for inspiring us. I am glad that so many attended the birthday celebrations – yes, you need to be told the old stories of signs and wonders. Many of you were not even born in 1994.
Today it is your seminary. We do not just offer old stories, but also something new. We have a new logo and we also have a new song: Curt McKee wrote a song “We Go” especially for our seminary.
FACULTY AND STAFF
Superintendent Robert Tserenkov, who is also a part of BMTS leadership and faculty, celebrated his 40th birthday on May 20th. Happy Birthday! May God bless you for many years to come.
Taavi Hollman became a grandfather for the first time. His grandson Saamuel was born on May 4th. Parents Eliisabet and Mihkel are doing well.
Meeli and Üllas Tankler published a new homiletics handbook “Sõnast sõnumiks” (From the Word into a Message). This was a historic occasion since the last homiletics handbook was published in Estonian Methodist Church by Martin Prikask in 1914.
Thank you, team and friends who helped to make our anniversary special.
There were about 170 guests at BMTS anniversary gathering including about one third of our alumni.
BMTS has 236 graduates. This event brought togehter about a third of our alumni. The alumni formed BMTS alumni organization and elected a leadership committee. Their challenge is to reach every graduate during the birthday year.
We recognized our graduate Külliki Evartov for her faithful long time financial support. We feel that she has set an example for others to follow in investing in the future of the seminary.
On seminary anniversary 15 people made their commitment to support seminary with a monthly donation. THANK YOU!
We are praying that during the birthday year we find 50 supporters who donate monthly. If we wish our seminary to be doing well next 25 years we need to build a strong support base.
We will keep you posted how we are progressing. Please consider supporting us regularly.
Our goal is 50 regular supporters this year!
BMTS partnership with Asbury Theological Seminary goes back to the very beginnings of our school. BMTS founders Wes and Joy Griffin were ATS grads, our first guest faculty came from ATS, and all our rectors are ATS alumni. For this ATS received a special recognition.
We are pleased to announce that at the evening worship service ATS and BMTS signed a new Memorandum of Understanding. We are grateful to president Timothy Tennent and ATS leadership for making this happen on our special birthday and for Tom Tumblin for attending the celebrations. God bless ATS for their missional engagement in this part of the world!
PLEASE SUPPORT US!
Donations to BMTS can be made through the Advance using advance.umcmission.org website
To find us search for Europe, Education, Estonia, Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary Scholarships
Advance # 15021B
Or use this link: https://advance.umcmission.org/p-275-baltic-methodist-theological-seminary-scholarships.aspx