rebuilding estonia through christian education
By Siimon Haamer, Vice Rector of Academic Affairs
All around us in Tartu, buildings are being restored. At TAT we are rebuilding student’s lives, skills and knowledge for the restored Estonia after occupation! TAT prepares leaders from various denominations in order to build working relationships and show respect for one another. In our country, to be interdenominational is the best way to grow cooperation and relationships. Our purpose is to prepare students with a Christian perspective of theoretical knowledge in their field of study and practical skills that they can put to work!
Our descriptive name is Tartu Academy of Theology, or simply TAT. Students here refer to TAT as Akadeemia. Tartu is our city that is known as a center of culture and Education in Estonia because we have several schools of higher education and about 25,000 students in this city of 136,000 people. Academy means a college for students who have completed secondary school. Theology in our school means various areas of study. Students can study for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Behind this formal name, you will find very familiar areas of study.
TAT is the only Christian Liberal Arts college in Estonia that is teaching Christian Counseling, Christian Youth Work, Christian Media and Ethics Education. TAT as well as other institutions of higher education prepare students for Christian Ministry and Religion Teachers.
Our graduates are making a difference in our country as they contribute to the rebuilding of Estonia! Our support comes from people like you who live in the USA, Finland, Denmark and Germany who are interested in Christian higher education. Look for future informative articles about our areas of study!
Pictured above: June 2006 Graduating class
Christian Leadership Goals are Fulfilled at Tartu Academy of Theology (TAT)
By Dr. Elaine Gunderson
We enjoyed a wonderful visit with TAT students, Tauno and Evelin, who are preparing for fulltime ministry. Tauno translated from English to Estonian for Evelin and from Estonian to English for us. He said, “I’m going to be the pastor and she’s going to be the teacher. I will be a Lutheran pastor.”
“What do you hope to do in your church?” I asked.
“We want to work with families and children and help them to faith in God” they said.
Evelin said, “If you ask children ‘what is love?’ they don’t know. I want them to know about God’s love for them and our love.”
Paul asked Tauno, “Why did you want to become a pastor?” “ Because Estonian people have so much sickness in their souls. The answer is in God.” Tauno talked about the change in his own life. I asked him how that change happened. “I’ve always been a Lutheran. Four years ago, I began to read the Bible. It’s strange how it happened. I began to believe. Then I came to TAT to study.”
As we visited and prayed together, I realized that this example of a couple committed to ministry in their own country is an answer to prayer and a strong indicator of the work of preparing Christian leaders that is being accomplished at TAT.
Dr. Elaine and her husband, Dr. Paul Gunderson, are currently professors at Crown College in St. Bonifacious, MN.