On June 21, 2021, the graduation ceremony of the Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary took place, where 10 students from class 2021 graduated
Lõpuaktus-jumalateenistusel osalesid lõpetajatega koos nende lähedased, Seminari vilistlased, õppejõud ja töötajad. Video vahendusel eestseisuse liikmed Eestist, Norrast, Taanist, Lõuna-Koreast ja USAst.
The graduation worship service was attended by graduates relatives, Seminar alumni, faculty and staff. Members of Board of Trustees from Estonia, Norway, Denmark, South Korea and the USA via video.
The service was opened by the Rector of the Seminary, Dr. Külli Tõniste. "There is a reason to celebrate and be together," the rector said. "Class 2021, you've been great. It's been a special time you've come through. You're now a lot more persistent, committed, stronger, more flexible. More resourceful than you might ever think."
On behalf of the presidency of the seminar, the graduates were greeted by Christian Alsted, Bishop of the Nordic and Baltic countries of the UMC: “For the second year in a row, it is not possible to be with you at the closing ceremony of the Seminary. But make sure that we are with you in prayers and thoughts. Hard work has brought you to this day, writing homework papers in late hours, taking exams, interacting with faculty, and writing papers again. Everything you have learned has influenced who you are as a person. We all have one call, to be Jesus' disciples. However, there are also special callings, either for a task for a shorter period of time or callings that are a lifelong commitment. Maybe a pastor, deacon, teacher, missionary, or to other ministries in the Church. Where God leads you is in your own discernment in prayer and conversations with those you trust and gives you spiritual insight. In Hebrews 3 is written, " Fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest." Think of Jesus, keep your eyes on him. You will leave the Seminary with the acquired knowledge and skills and you have been changed through it. I pray that your eyes will rest firmly on Jesus Christ and walk in His grace and guidance of the Holy Ghost to find your way and to find your calling. May God bless, equip and make you strong in your life and ministry!”
The Dean of Seminary also sent graduates with a message, reminding us of the importance of sacrifice in our lives and ministry, keeping our eyes before the greatest sacrifice — the life given by Christ for all of us.
10 graduates received their diplomas, two of them with cum laude. In addition, first-year students obtained a certificate in the basic course in theology. 3 graduates received the special school award and the accompanying scholarship. Joy and Wes Griffin's Academic Success award to Esa-Pekka Mattila, the Georg Lanberg Preaching Award to Lemme Aulis and the Christian Leadership Award to Pavlo Duchenko.
On behalf of the graduates, Mai Liivrand greeted the classmates, reminding them how important during the studies were all the classmates and their support. Through this support and through homework has God's grace has shaped us in His likeness. "We are grateful for the staff and faculty of the Seminary. We are grateful for the families who have supported us in the opportunity to let God shape our hearts here in the Seminary", said Mai Liivrand.
Greetings were given by Evelin Toodo, the graduate representative from the class 2001. The Alumni association members Vitali Baranov and Kaire Lotamõis announced the Seminary 2021's outstanding alumni, Allan Kroll. Allan graduated from the Domata Bible School, the EMK Theological Seminary and the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Institute of Theology with a master's degree. He has worked in several Christian organizations, in congregations, in the Christian media, and is currently serving as a prison chaplain. Allan Kroll, an alumnus of the Class 2003 teaches in Seminary hermeneutics and Church history.
As a tradition Seminary Leadership has chosen the lecturer of the year. The rector of the seminary Külli Tõniste announced the lectured of the year 2021 - Anne Saluraid. She has worked as a Dean from 2010 to 2014 and a Lecturer of Bible studies. In addition to teaching, she has contributed a lot to supervising students' diploma papers, leading Bible classes in the Church, and as an author and a member of the Editorial Council in the Estonian Methodist magazine Koduteel. The Rector thanked Anne Saluraid for her great contribution to the school and the graduates, believing that God still has a great plans in for Anne in life and Ministry.
With prayer for each individual graduate and words of blessing, the graduates are sent. According to Dean Mark Nelson, "Today is not primarily an end, but a new beginning in the kingdom of God."
Fotos: Marina Kisseljova
Video produktsioon: Mart Järvekülg