Upper New York Missionaries Shares Updates from Estonia
October 8, 2022 / By Tara Barnes, Director of Denominational Relations, United Women in Faith
The Rev. Doug Childress is a member of the Upper New York Conference now serving as pastor and teacher in Estonia. He and his wife Dr. Kulli Toniste are commissioned as missionaries through the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church. The Rev. Childress serves as the chapel coordinator and professor at Baltic Theological Seminary in Tallinn, where Dr. Toniste is the director.
In a video message, the missionaries shared of their work in these interesting years.
“I teach several courses here at the seminary, including Wesley theology, church history, worship, and comparative religions,” the Rev. Childress said.
Dr. Toniste shared that her work involves meetings, plannings, strategic development, and making sure the financial and spiritual needs of the seminary are met. This year, she said, brought new challenges, including the energy and economic crisis and the war in Ukraine.
“The war has brought to mind some of the darkest times of our history,” she said. “This has impacted our country very deeply. Five million Ukrainians are currently displaced. Many of them are coming to Estonia to find shelter. At this time, 30,000 refugees are here, housed in temporary spaces like hotels and even on a cruise ship. I’m happy to see many of our faculty, workers, students, and alumni offering hospitality.”
The Rev. Childress thanked Upper New York United Methodists for their prayers and support and invited annual conference attendees to visit the Global Ministries website and the Advance sites for The Rev. Childress, Dr. Toniste, and the Baltic Theological Seminary.