Estonian Adventists celebrate their 115th anniversary “in the light of the beginning”
Estonian Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church celebrated its 115th anniversary in the biggest concert hall of southern Estonia on the 27th and 28th of April bringing together Adventists and friends from different parts of Estonia and also brothers and sisters in faith from other countries.
“The spring festival dedicated for the 115th anniversary of the Seventh-day Adventist church in Estonia is behind us and will be remembered as a historical, special event,” said pastor David Nõmmik, president of the Estonian Conference. “Our main theme for the event was “In The Light Of The Beginning” and the sermons and activities were focused on the church growth and mission in the past, and on the hope that we have in Jesus Christ for the future. We needed such an event in order to look back and see the progress of our Adventist church in Estonia and maintain focus on church mission and unity. It was great to have guests from Finland, Scotland, England, Latvia and Lithuania among us, and feel their support and encouragement,” Nõmmik said.
During these 115 years Estonia has experienced many hardships. After the first World War Estonia had its first 20 years of freedom, then followed 50 years of Soviet occupation. But as a long-time church member of the Tartu Adventist church Eduard Vari put it, Soviet time couldn’t ruin the spiritual health of the church. Churches were still growing and despite harsh limitations to mission work, Adventists were active using all means possible.
“Estonia is not occupied politically anymore, but the spiritual occupation — greed, manipulation, selfishness, pride etc, threatens us all,“ said pastor Bertil Wiklander, president of the Trans-European Division, who was the main speaker at this event. But at the same time pastor Wiklander encouraged people to light the candles and share the light, and not focus on cursing the darkness.
Among many guests were also Baltic Union president Valdis Zilgalvis, Viesturs Reķis, president of the Latvian Conference and Bertold Hibner, president of the Lithuanian Mission. “Today is the day of salvation,” said Zilgalvis, “our churches need to concentrate on the present — seek God’s wisdom how to live in present, how to do God’s mission today. Let’s trust our youth to lead our church into the future.”
The whole weekend was organized as an adventist Spring Festival, which is a growing tradition in Estonia, started by conference mission department leader pastor Andres Ploompuu. “It is interesting that although Adventist Church is a church who is looking into the future, our faith in Jesus´ second coming is grounded in the events that have taken place in the past,” Ploompuu told. “What has happened, helps us to understand what is going to happen in the future. We are moving ahead in the light of the beginning, waiting for the return of Jesus Christ.”
Estonian Conference Communication Director