Based on the enthusiasm of students and alumni of Tartu Academy we launched the Pastoral Care Center in the autumn. Estonian people are very much in need of spiritual help but many of them don’t know where to find it. Often, they are hesitant to go to church and that’s why we need places that support people in their spiritual struggles outside of Church buildings. The Pastoral Care Center is able to offer that opportunity and, at the same time, provides a coordination center for Estonia’s wide network of pastoral care givers.
There are already 60 people from across Estonia who have joined with this network and are ready to work in the midst their local communities. They are TAT alumni or participants of our continuing education training courses.
Because of the pandemic and the restrictions limiting indoor meetings, we offer pastoral caregiver walking sessions around the city. That has been quite popular and 56 people have taken advantage of these counseling sessions and have been helped.
Pastor Siimon Haamer shares a story that demonstrates the need for these efforts:
I ordered a taxi. Sitting in the car, I heard praise music. The radio channel playing was broadcasted from the same Christian Radio Station that is part of Home of Hope. I asked, “Do you listen to Family Radio?” He said that this is the only radio station where he can listen to programs that nurture his soul. He confessed that he is not Christian and not baptized. He has had difficulties in his life lately – marriage broken a year ago and mother died two weeks ago – and he is in need of spiritual support. I asked why he is not going to church. Church seemed too formal for him and he didn’t want to belong to any particular Church. Also, he was waiting for a sign, a conviction that now is the right time to go to church or to take some kind of step. At the same time, he confessed that he is believing that so called god excists, and he also prays.
This is a very typical attitude of Estonian people. We want to help them to find the living God.