Estonia Facts

Area: about the size of New Hampshire and Vermont together

Population: 1.6 million

Capital: Tallinn

Languages: Estonian (official)
Latvian, Lithuanian, Russian

Industries: fishing, farming, agricultural machinery, electric motors

Ethnic Groups:
  Estonia (62%)
  Russian (30%)
  Others  (8%)










From Galt to Estonia

First Baptist Galt has enjoyed a relationship with the Baptist Union of Estonia and a number of their member Baptist churches throughout Estonia for almost five years.  Two short-term mission trips have resulted in almost 20 of our members going to Estonia. 

As well, because of the relationships we have developed and nurtured since our visit to Estonia in 2000, First Baptist Galt has been the short-term home of three visitors from Estonia to America, each visiting for several months. 

This past summer it was a real pleasure to host and get to know Moonika and Karina Palmik (front row).

They were a blessing in our worship services and had a great time leading the children during our Vacation Bible School in July.  They spent much of their time visiting different member's homes and concluded their visit with a trip to Los Angeles, the highlight of their visit to the United States.

-- UPDATE --

Friday, November 26, 2004 6:26 AM
Subject: Greetings from Tőrva!


How are you? We are fine. Time has gone so quickly that it is almost Christmas time. We have already so much snow and the weather is really cold. So it is wonderful to remember time what we had in hot California. We have developed many pictures and we really miss our time there. It was the best summer we have ever had. Thank you for that!


Anyways so many things have happened. For example: We took part of International Mission Conference in Sweden last weekend. It was very encouraging experience. We got some new ides and also we had meeting with worship dance group in Sweden. Karina has this year 2 dance groups. 1 is for teenagers and another is more for youth. Now we are starting to learn some Christmas dances. We still have our small singing group and baby singing group.


Sure you can use these pictures and the letter on your website.


We hope that everything is fine with your church and your family. And Jerry, Daniel and Mary are the best children to their parents. God bless you!


Love, Karina & Moonika


Editor's Note: We didn't find any new photos attached but will  upload pics of the girls' trip to Galt (and Hollywood) as we approach the Y2K5.


A Brief History of Estonia

The small, Baltic country of Estonia has been dominated by foreign powers for years. Germany, Sweden, Russia and the former Soviet Union have all occupied this nation. During the most recent Soviet occupation (from 1940 to 1991), Christians in Estonia were severely persecuted. Christian leaders were imprisoned or killed, church property was confiscated, and religious activity drastically limited. As a result, a generation of Estonians has emerged in a great spiritual darkness.

Yet Estonia is experiencing a new beginning. A new government was established in 1992, and the last Soviet troops left two years later. Today there is a new spirit of hope. Buildings are being restored everywhere, many of them centuries old and left to crumble under the Soviets. Estonians are beginning to learn what freedom means, making strides to think independently and truly express themselves. Believers in Estonia have a deep desire for their countrymen to hear about the real freedom that is found only in Jesus Christ.

The Union of Evangelical Christian and Baptist Churches of Estonia (BGC) has three priorities: starting new churches, children and youth, and meeting the needs of pastors.  The BGC has experience and a growing expertise in these areas, so the Union has invited the BGC to partner with them to strengthen their work. Some key pastors in the Union have identified areas for church planting and are committed to advance a church planting movement.

The Baptist Theological Seminary of Tartu is a school to train high school graduates. Although it was started in 1929, it was closed in 1940 by the Soviets, so it's still a "new" school. With a capable, young president and about 100 students, the school is looking to the BGC for help in equipping men and women with solid training for Christian ministry. This will be a vital piece in helping the Union begin a church planting movement.

Ten members of fbcgalt (plus Mom) embarked upon on the first-ever overseas Mission Trip in the Y2K.
Estonia 2000 was a great evangelistic experience.


We sent a team of eight FBC members back to Estonia in November, 2003. Pictured below is Cathy Patterson and Aimee Sayre serving in Torva, Estonia.



News From Estonia


Estonia: Evangelistic
    Cooperation and Alliance

November 1, 2004

According to the recently-published report "Kui kristlik on Eestimaa?" ("How Christian is Estonia?", available in Estonian and English), Estonia, the northernmost Baltic nation, has 1,476,031 inhabitants and only 491 Christian churches. Even the organizers were surprised by the number of participants: 220 people, among which were many denominational leaders and pastors, attended the 2nd Church Growth Conference in Tallinn on 13th March 1997The seminar, at which the DAWN strategy was discussed, was organized by the Estonian Evangelical Alliance (EEA), led by Olav Parnamets, Superintendent of the Estonian Methodist Church and Pastor Indrek Luide from Rapla. Figures presented by Alland Parman and supported by the latest information from Tiit Sepp, 2nd Chairman of the Estonian Ministry of Religion, showed that there are around 990 villages of over 100 inhabitants without an evangelical church.

Over 13% of the population does not attend church simply because they have no transport. Church attendance in the country is stagnant or declining. The result of the seminar was a resolution by the attendees to cooperate in achieving the aim of "every person in Estonia being able to not only hear the gospel but join a church" by opening new churches and preaching rooms.

The Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Estonia also joined in the resolution. Leevi Reinaru, a pastor in the Lutheran church, reported that his church had recently opened 10 new preaching rooms; the Methodist church plans to double its present number of 22 churches by the end of the century; the Union of Baptist and Free Churches plans to expand from 85 to 100 churches in the same period, and Harry Leesment, leader of a Bible school in Suurupi near Tallinn, said that "the Estonian Christian Pentecostal Church will soon set a concrete target".

Source: Wolfgang Simson, DAWN

Union of Evangelical Christian and Baptist Churches of Estonia

The beginning of the Union of Evangelical Christian and Baptist Churches of Estonia (union) goes back to the Estonian national reawakening in the 19th century, when two Swedish schoolmasters, Thorén and Österblom, started preaching in the island of Vormsi and the peninsula of Noarootsi, West Estonia.

The Estonian farmers had a longing for a simple, personal faith. There were more and more farmhouses where people gathered to study the Bible giving rise to the formation of independent Free Churches. The desire to model the religious life of the Church, and individual, on the Bible has not changed to date among the members of the union.

In 1884 the first Estonian Baptist church was started in Haapsalu, West Estonia. In a few decades Baptist churches spread across the whole country. They became known for their good sermons, lively music, and large Sunday schools. Soon publishing became an important aspect of their work, too. Two years later, in 1886, the need for a distinct fellowship was realized, and in 1900 the Baptist churches in Estonia were finally recognized as an independent union.

Ten years later, Evangelical Christians and Pentecostals launched their work, too. None of the movements had an easy start but the hardships provided them soil for later growth.

The main activities of the union are in the church services, teaching, preaching, and mission work. There is plenty of common action as co-operation enables the churches to achieve results that would be impossible for a single church alone. The principle of the union is to be a Biblical missionary movement aiming at holiness and church growth.

Missions as a challenge

The churches in the union have been active preachers of the Gospel as long as they have been around.  When the first Baptist and Free Churches were born the zeal of the born-again believers made a great impact, and churches were growing fast because of their own preaching and testifying. 

In the 1920s a number of missionaries were sent to many different countries.  The Union churches are actively involved in the evangelistic task. To co-ordinate and guide the work, the union has appointed a mission secretary, who leads a mission-minded team of workers known by the name of the Missionary Foundation.

Since 1993 the Union has been encouraging its church members through many different mission-related activities. Once a year, mission conferences are held for the whole Union; regional mission conferences have taken place since 1998.

There is a number of traditions in the churches; for example, evangelistic weeks or weekends in winter, tent meetings or various evangelistic campaigns in summer.

Youth and children's work for changed lives

During the years of the first Estonian Republic (1918-1940), the churches of the union had a number of efficient youth programs.  When the Communists took over, youth work could only proceed underground.  In 1988, when the atmosphere had begun to 'thaw', youth work became public again, large Sunday schools were born, and youth classes, camps and clubs gained a new momentum.

 In 1989 the children's magazine Päikesekiir (Sunbeam) was published.  Things improved dramatically and the church youth workers were able to get training, teaching materials, organized events and information much more easily. The annual Bible Days and the Children's Day are two most awaited events. Most of the children who attend Sunday school are from religion-friendly but not religious homes.

The aim of the youth work is not merely action or participation at various events or knowledge of the history of religion but changed lives. The problems facing our youth and children are complicated and should not be overlooked by the church. This is why the Centre for Youth and Children's Work has a number of options for young people.

Learning is part of being a Christian

For three years the disciples walked with Jesus and listened to his teaching. Yet later they had a need for even greater understanding of Him and His mission. The union's training follows the same Biblical model. No matter how long we have been Christians we have to go on learning what it means to follow Christ.  Bible studies in churches, materials for independent work, and training programs, are all designed for the purpose of helping Christians become more Christ-like.

Where there are students there is a need for teachers.  The Union has started the Higher Theological Seminary, whose motto is: "Hand in hand with the churches, for the benefit of our fellow men and for the growth of Christians!" 

The aim of the Bible School courses is to prepare Christians spiritually as well as motivate them for practical church work and further learning.  The motto of the Bible School, "Now everyone has a chance to study," means a choice between the one-year intensive training ('the School of the Twelve') and regional module-based correspondence courses ('the School of the Seventy'). 

Large events as an expression of mutual fellowship

Large organized events, expressing the unity and the size of the Union, clearly reveal the majesty of God.  In recent years it has become a tradition to come together for the Summer Days: for services, concerts, and workshops. There is place and enough to do for both young and old.

For many decades the Bible Days have offered youth an opportunity to get to know one another and serve God in a wonderful fellowship. It is not common for 500 young Christians to meet together here, but not so uncommon during the Bible Days!

The culmination of the Sunday School year is the annual Children's Day when half a thousand kids from our Union gather to the 'heart of Estonia' in Paide to learn, and serve God together.


Music has always enjoyed an important role in the life of the Union churches. In 1997 a new hymnbook, containing a rich variety of Christian hymns, was published. Besides more traditional songs, many churches use the so-called worship songs in their services.  The music cultivated in the churches is varied.  All the main types of choir music are represented, but different vocal and instrumental ensembles and small groups with a variety of styles may be encountered, too.