Estonian Baptists Move into New Headquarters
T a l l i n n (EPBS) – On 17 January the Baptist Union of Estonia moved into its new headquarters in the capital city of Tallinn. The house also contains a children’s home run by the church’s „Söbra Käsi“ (Hand of a Friend) Foundation. The 13 children living there are treated by a Baptist theologian as her own family. The structure belonged to the Foundation, which is involved in social work on behalf of the Baptist Union. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, humanitarian aid donated by Baptists from churches in Finland, Norway and Sweden was stored there. A soup kitchen also called the house its home. Most recently the house was modernised and modified with help from the partner unions of Sweden and Germany. The children arrived in 2004. When all construction work is done, street children are also to be cared for in this centre. Rooms were recently completed on the 2nd floor of the building, which the Union will be using for its central office (address: Koskla St. 2/9, 10615 Tallinn).
In May 2004 because of its poor condition Baptists sold the old centre they had been using since 1983. Since then they have been utilising two rented rooms in an office building in the city centre without parking space or conference rooms. At the moment additional rooms can be rented in the new building as the need arises.
The European Baptist Federation (EBF) President Helari Puu from Estonia, Construction Foreman Koit Lääts, the Baptist Union’s President Joosep Tammo and Vice-President Ermo Jürma, who is also a teacher at the Union’s Seminary in Tartu, officiated at the dedication ceremonies. This dedication also featured a reception organised by the Union’s leadership for retired Baptist pastors. This event took place for the second time and was made possible by the Estonian Baptist Church in Toronto (Canada). It is not only important that older pastors meet each other, it was stated. It is equally vital that those who are now at the helm explain present projects and give an ear to experienced, elderly pastors.
Eighty-four congregations with roughly 6.000 members belong to the Baptist Union of Estonia. Fifty students attend its Theological Seminary.