Newsletter – June 2005

Newsletter – June 2005

Daniel Trusiewicz - June 01, 2005

Estonia, one of the Baltic countries, is inhabited by 1,4 million and ranking one of the smallest in the world. One third of its population lives in the capital city of Tallinn. Estonians speak a language similar to Finnish.

The Lutheran Church is a leading denomination in Estonia, the second comes the Orthodox and then the Baptist Union. There are also Roman Catholics and Pentecostals, as well as other religious minority groups.

Since Estonia regained independence in 1991, after the 50-year long Soviet occupation, people have been taking their opportunities for discovering new freedoms. It applies to sharing the gospel and church growth as well. Estonia has been the part of the European Union since 2004.

The Baptist Union

The beginning of the Union of Free Evangelical and Baptist Churches of Estonia goes back to the West Estonian revival in 1876, when two Swedish schoolmasters, Thorén and Österblom, started preaching on the island of Vormsi and the peninsula of Noarootsi (West Estonia). The revival spread mainly among the farmers.

In 1884 the first Estonian Baptist church was started in Haapsalu, West Estonia. Since then Baptist churches have spread across the whole country. In 1900 Baptist churches in Estonia were officially recognized as an independent union. The Baptist Theological Seminary opened in Keila in 1922. In 1937 Pentecostal churches joined the Evangelical Christian Union. The period of the Soviet occupation 1940 – 1990 hampered the growth of Baptist churches. Baptist activities were allowed only in church buildings and leaders were regularly interrogated by the state.

When Estonia declared independence in 1990 the Union was re-established with 80 churches and 5793 church members, including 12 Russian-speaking congregations. The following mission statement has been formulated: “the Union of Free Evangelical and Baptist Churches of Estonia is a fellowship called by God to proclaim the good news about Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit”.

The Estonian Baptist Seminary is presently located in Tartu (the main national university center). The Baptist training and recreation centre is at Nuutsaku, near Viljandi, where the union would also like to start a new church. For more information about the Estonian Baptist Union visit the website: - the English version under "Welcome".

Church planting – Tallinn Lasnamae

There are several church-planting projects under the supervision of the Estonian BU. One of them is in Tallinn Lasnamae.

The indigenous church planter Argo (41) is a member of the Tallinn Kalju Baptist Church where he was pastor until recently. Prior to that he had been a Sunday school teacher and led a teenage boys’ group.

In 1993-1997 Argo studied in the Tartu Theological Seminary. Later he continued studies at the TCM International Institute in Austria with a special interest in church growth and church planting.

Argo’s vision is to create an opportunity for the Lasnamae’s Estonian community to hear the Gospel in a modern cultural setting.

There is a great spiritual need in Tallinn, particularly in Lasnamae, a section of the capital city inhabited by over 100,000 people. In Lasnamae there is not even one Estonian Christian congregation. Argo plans to reach out to young adults and young families who live in this large settlement. He desires to communicate God's eternal truths in a contemporary and friendly manner. Therefore Argo organizes evangelical concerts, Jesus-film project (sharing video-cassettes), family and youth seminars, Alpha and Beta courses.

The two existing Estonian Baptist churches of Tallinn: Kalju and Viimsi support Argo and his team with a lot of prayer, enthusiastic young people and some finances.

Prayer requests

  1. That the Lord Himself would call and send out workers to the mission field in Lasnamae.
  2. To find needed resources for planting a church in Lasnamae.
  3. For homes open to visitors to start small groups for seekers.
  4. To discover effective ways to reach out to people in this large area.