From Külli Tõniste BMTS Rector
In October I spent some time in Tyndale House, Cambridge, writing my Revelation commentary. Have you ever wondered whether the things you write can actually impact lives in the real world? There are assignments, there is research, projects, etc that are part of academic life. What impact do they have? While in Cambridge somebody pointed out to me a curious statue at St. John’s College facade. I was surprised why there was a graduate depicted with chains?
This was Thomas Clarckson, a son of a minister and a theology student. In 1785 Clarkson took part in an essay competition. His professor Peter Peckard had proposed a topic: “Is it lawful to enslave the unconsenting?”. In those days they wrote in Latin.
Clarkson researched his subject thoroughly, looking for evidence for both sides of the argument, he interviewed people involved in the slave trade and he questioned slaves. He won the essay competition. The winning essay was read out in Cambridge. After winning the prize, Clarkson had what he called a spiritual revelation from God as he traveled by horseback between Cambridge and London. He wrote: “Here a thought came into my mind, that if the contents of the essay were true, it was time some person should see these calamities to their end.”
This experience and sense of calling ultimately led him to devote his life to abolishing the slave trade.
Having translated the essay into English so that it could gain a wider audience, Clarkson published it in pamphlet-form in 1786. Clarkson collected various items used by slave traders: chains, branding irons, etc. He used these as visual aids to educate people about this cruel practice.
A college paper of a 25-year-old theology student became an important link in the chain of events that lead to the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which ended British trade in slaves. But the first person that paper impacted was the author Thomas Clarkson himself.
We cannot predict the impact of a task done well. Our students today are shaped and changed by the questions their professors ask and by the papers they write, by the books they have to read. The potential that our students have to change the world is unlimited and only known to God.
On March 5-8 an international Church Planting Conference will be held here at BMTS in Tallinn.
https://www.emkts.ee/index.php/et/mtse-conference-sheduleTopic: Developing and Multiplying Disciples.
Teaching: Phil Meadows from Asbury Theological Seminary, Trevor Hutton from Manchester, Hindrek Taavet Taimla, Douglas Childress and Mark Nelson from BMTS.Students from European Methodist schools are invited to join us. We also welcome Church developers and leaders in the Baltic/Nordic area. I believe that God wants to use this conference to bring us together, shape our thinking as well as empower and lift up our churches and communities.
Students who wish to receive academic credit need to submit a paper on one of these topics:
Submit abstracts (1 page) by January 1st, 2020 e-mail. Submit papers (8-10 pages, double spaced) by February 4th, 2020. Meeli.firstname.lastname@example.org
Who knows, this may be the paper that changes your life and future of your church, your community?
Some special people celebrated their birthdays in October. Happy birthday to BMTS super sound technician Marti Hollman and our church history teacher, and my husband Douglas Childress.
Are available for you. Please see the selection and send us an e-mail if you wish to attend. All lectures are translated into Estonian, English and Russian simultaneously. https://www.emkts.ee/index.php/et/taiendkoolitus
We rejoice over the visit of Ken ja Marilyn Collins. Dr. Kenneth Collins has taught at the Theological Seminary of the Estonian Methodist Church since 1999. He has traveled to Estonia 20 times. He has taught all 21 classes that have graduated from the school during our 25-year history. He has shaped the theological thinking of our students and pastors. I believe that Collins had played a role in the fact that today the Methodist Church in Estonia is not just evangelical in general, but also specifically holiness church.
We are working on upgrading our WIFI. Please do pray for the work on this to be completed quickly. This important step makes some other improvements possible later. Seminary is operating on faith, a strong sense of mission and because of supporters like you who value theological education in churches. BMTS supplies an important need in eastern Europe.
We thank all our regular supporters who partner with us in mission! You are in our prayers always. If you have not yet made your annual gift this year, there is still time. If you are able to make a donation in November through Advance or World Evangelism (information is at the end), it would reach us on time to end this year really well.
Thanks to GBHEM for sending Scott Gilpin to train us on development and strategic planning. Here is our BMTS team learning from his 38 years of experience. Being in ministry together is exciting.
In September we received Rev. Soonjung Kwon from South Korea with a team from Kwang Limi methodist church. Even though it was a very brief visit it lifted our spirits to renew our contact across the geographic divide. We share a common sense of mission. It was a special opportunity to pray together. It was also a joy to meet with Andrew Harper from Cliff College. Andrew is their Global partnership director. We have many common interests and we welcome a group of Cliff students this spring. I also had a wonderful opportunity to meet the director of Wesley House Cambridge, Jane Leach, and her team.
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