Prayerchain May 2020May 31, 2020
Is God ringing a bell in you? How do you discern a call to study at seminary?
I still remember the feeling of both excitement and anxiety when I first rang the doorbell at Apteegi street 3 where the Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary used to be located. I was young and nervous. I had done a few things in my Pentecostal church and I loved to read the Bible, but I was not a theologian and I did not have a clear plan for the future. I did not even know what the word “Methodist” meant in the name of that new seminary. I only knew that my pastor had said about the Methodist founder John Wesley: “He is our grandfather too”. So I guess they were alright. I had many unanswered questions about the content and origin of my faith and these questions motivated me to ring the bell.
My anxiety dissapeared when secretary greeted me with a friendly smile (I think that in 1990s Estonia only Christians smiled, so that was a good sign). I had some basic questions, but she answered them with kindness. I received an application form and a date for an interview. I do not remember much of the conversation, but I still remember the joy when rector Andrus Norak and Dean Lii Lilleoja shook my hand at the end of the interview and wished me God’s blessings.
I am thankful that I had courage to ring that doorbell. It has been a door into new opportunities, interesting places and lifelong friendships. Behind that door God worked in within me to build confidence, wisdom and character. I did not go to train for a specific job. I primarily went to build a stronger faith foundation. But it just so happened that I ended up also finding my vocation also. I now know that God was actually calling me. I am glad I followed the desire to learn and had courage to ring that doorbell and ask questions.
This year you are more than welcome to ring the bell at Narva mnt 51 and you can also visit us virtually. Our Virtual Open Doors event has been popular and it is still going on. Register below to visit a class at seminary.
Well, sometimes you just have to adapt. During the pandemic we have learned a lot about what is possible through technology. Despite the constantly changing regulations during the pandemic we were able to offer uninterrupted education experience. We have learned from our students that for some this new form of studies works well. One of our students expressed: “What you do with technology is amazing. There is nothing comparable in the Estonian Christian context.” We are trying our best to give quality education even in the virtual environment.
If you are committed and interested to study, but your time is limited due to many commitments or you are living too far to commute monthly, this may be for you.
In 2021-2022 schoolyear we are offering as a pilot project an opportunity to study mostly online. This promise is for one year. We will continue offering virtual learning past 2022 only if the new online-hybrid format proves to be sustainable and educationally valuable. All the rules and policies are being finalized, and we adjust as needed for the following school year.
If virtual learning opens a new door for you to pursue your interest in theology then apply as soon as possible. When we know who is coming then we can already find the best solutions. During the year you will have the opportunity to speak into the process of designing how we continue. Apply here.
WE OFFER OPTIONS:
In one year you can earn Basic Christian Studies Certificate.
In three years you can earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Mission and Theology.
Not interested in certificates or diplomas? No time to do assignments? Pick what interests you and ask to become an auditor.
We are an international school and all our lectures have simultaneous translation into Estonian, Russian, and English. Some classes are taught in those languages separately.
As the Estonian government has lifted some rules and allows more activities, we have also entered into a new phase of openness.
Library access is now carefully provided for students who need a place to read, study, and use the internet. This week’s library is now open on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10:00-16:00. Please follow the safety rules posted in the building.
The Seminary office has also been open more, and there are special guidelines for the use of the entire building. It is good to e-mail Rein Laaneser before you come and see if the matter can be handled from a distance.
Diploma paper defense will take place in person in small groups and using special protections on June 10 and 11. Otherwise, studies continue online.
Faculty and staff members all have their own health needs and risk tolerance levels. We continue to use Teams meetings, e-mail, and phone to take care of the seminary business. Those who need to use the office, please do so responsibly.
We have continued with weekly prayer times to stay connected. Special gratitude to Taavet Taimla, Taavi Hollmann, and Douglas Childress for leading these.
The tuition fee for full time students in the 2021/22 academic year is 2050€. For those who study virtually there is an additional virtual learning fee of 240€ a year or 30€ per study session to cover the technical support.
Residents of the Republic of Estonia may apply for scholarships. Receiving a scholarship depends upon demonstrating financial need, active participation in a local congregation and maintaining good academic standing. Scholarship decisions are announced in October.
Methodist Scholarship 1000€ a year
Ecumenical Scholarship 525€ a year
How have your seminary studies impacted your ministry?
BMTS studies has taught me the skills I need to know how to talk to people in difficult life situations. Before my studies, I noticed that people responded coldly to my advice. They saw me as a person who is promoting Christian values. They looked more wary than inspired. I thought that it is because I am a Christian and they are not. I also tended to view them as people who were “from another camp,” that they were unable to understand things the way I understoodd them.
At seminary I was taught a method of communication where I put aside my own opinions for a while to study the other person’s point of view. It could be a person or also an author. When you immerse yourself in the study of the other person’s point of view, trying to truly understand them, you are then ready to offer them yours.
Recently, I noticed that people began to listen to me even when discussing difficult or controversial things because I have changed the way how I communicate. When I intentionally reflected back what I heard them say, people began to feel that I was truly listening to them.
This has had a positive impact on my ministry. I have had more conversations with people, I have become more patient with them. This softened the hearts and they began to communicate more openly. They also accepted that I view things from my Christian context.
In practical terms, I began to feel more confident and they learned that I was not just programmed to say things, but that I was ready to delve into their context, try to understand their needs, problems and experiences, and advise them as someone whom they can trust without fear.
– Stanislav Kozak, Jõhvi UMC. 2nd year student
TRUSTEES AND FUNDRAISING
BMTS Strategic Development plan 2021-2023 was approved on May 5th Board of Trustees meeting.
Bishop Christian Alsted expressed at the meeting: “The plan is very well done and will be helpful for the Board, faculty, and staff. Grateful for the collaboration of the seminary and the church leadership.”
We are grateful for the many who have contributed to this exciting process to improve the school and shape its future! We are praying that God would provide everything needed to do this and even more than we ask or imagine. Thank you for your prayers and support to the seminary!
Your continued financial support is very important for us. This year we have had to adapt and we made major investments into virtual learning. There are still needs. Due to our 3-language approach we need some equipment that is able to handle three audio streams sending that data into a server. The cost of that “thing” is around 6000 dollars. Please do continue supporting us. Such investments ensuring a more successful fall semester and support our virtual learning pilot project.
We are also graterful for your support of BMTS scholarships which funds activities of teaching and learning. Currently tuition covers less than a third of the expenses. Even as we are always working to find more sources of income we depend on your gifts and prayers. By making a gift now you help us to get ready for the new 2021/22 schoolyear.
STAFF AND FACULTY
We celebrate the following faculty members:
We congratulate Anne Saluraid on her 70th jubilee in April. Anne has been connected to BMTS a big part of her life: as a student and then as a faculty member teaching New Testament and mentoring students in research. Our school has beem so blessed to have her experience and contribution.
On May 20th we wish a very happy birthday to our Superintendent Robert Tserenkov and ask for God’s continued strength and sharp vision as he leads the Methodist church in Estonia.
Thank you both for all you are doing!
Donations to BMTS can be made through the Advance using website:
To find us search for Europe, Education, Estonia, Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary Scholarships
Advance # 15021B
Or use this link: