From the Pews

Childlike Faith

posted Jan 30, 2018, 5:50 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Jan 30, 2018, 6:09 PM ]

Pastor Jim shared a link to a news release from United Methodist Communications about a national advertising campaign last year featuring children sharing their ideas about open hearts, open minds and open doors, which happens to be the theme of the Methodist advertising for many years.  According to the article, the ads are asking "viewers to ponder what life would be like if everyone loved with open hearts, minds and doors as children do".  Click on the link below to watch one of the ads in the campaign. 

More ads can be viewed at

Untitled Post

posted Jan 26, 2018, 7:19 AM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Jan 26, 2018, 7:20 AM ]

04 – Justin Brown

05 – Jane MacPeek

11 – Todd Skare and Lindsey Siekmann

16 – Jean Meyers

23 – Ashely Block

February 28 - Todd and Bonnie Skare - 20 years!

Happy Birthday!

posted Dec 30, 2017, 5:35 PM by Bowmansville UMC

17 – John Ordong

24 – Bob Shaw

25 – Audrey Moore

26 – Pastor Jim

26 - Greg Stoos

31 – Chris Graves

Happy New Year!

posted Dec 29, 2017, 7:40 PM by Bowmansville UMC

Estonia Mission Update

posted Dec 29, 2017, 7:36 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Dec 30, 2017, 5:38 PM ]


Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!

We hope this newsletter finds you healthy and uplifted by the great joy we share in recently celebrating the birth of Jesus. Amid this busy and blessed season, we would like to share with you a few of our goings-on in life in ministry.

Douglas Baptizing infant on Christmas Day.
Kulli preaching in a Lutheran Church, South India, Advent 2017.
Kulli with bride-to-be during bridal preparation ceremony.

The Acts2 English-speaking fellowship has enjoyed solid participation from both new and old members.  Currently the group has about 20 participants who are connected to the group. We have regular participants from every continent except for Australia. It is not the numbers that we count, but we wish to be close to our people, keep them in our prayers, be involved in their lives, and show them our faith. It is meant to be a fellowship.

 One group member who had been with us from the beginning of Acts 2 ministry who was from India, sadly left Estonia permanently for the joyous purpose of getting married to a good Christian man.  Kulli was asked, and accepted, to be the matron of honor in the wedding which took place in December in Southern India. The wedding was an elaborate occasion with a large family and 1600 guests and it included many Indian traditions but was also a solidly Christian service designed to be a witness to the community where only 2% of population are Christians.  It was touching to find out that our reaching out to one person from India had really touched a whole family thousands of miles away so much that dozens of people had been praying for us the entire time!

While in India Kulli was also hosted by a Hindu family whose son is attending school in Estonia and who has attended our Christian fellowship. It provided to be very educational visit and helped her to understand our people so much better. What do they miss about their homes? What is their faith like? What are the deeply held values they are brought up with? It helps us to show the kind of hospitality that is expected and that makes them feel at home here in Estonia. We wish the word of God to reach many different people. God loves all people and we wish them to grow into a relationship with Christ.

Christmas is always a favorite time of the year in our family. Children have kindergarten parties, they learn their songs and verses. Also at Baltic Methodist Seminary we had a little Christmas gathering with faculty, staff and students with games and songs to wrap up a busy semester of studies and exams. There are of course still papers due to grade and classes to prepare for the next year, but for the moment there is a time of celebration and spending some extra time with family and friends.  

 On Christmas morning, Douglas preached before the Estonian speaking congregation in the Tallinn United Methodist Church and baptized a baby of a couple from Nigeria who has also been regular attenders of Acts 2.  We also had visitors in our midst who celebrated Christmas for the first time in their life
Please pray for more baptisms in the new year and for faith commitments to be made in the new year. Pray for God to sustain us and teach us how to best serve. Pray also for our family and especially for our kids to continue to adjust to Estonia. 

As we close out 2017 and look forward to 2018, we thank all of you who have supported us with your gifts and prayers. As you finish out this year and begin the new one, we ask, if you haven’t already, to consider supporting us and what God is doing in Estonia.  We feel it is making an impact for Christ both in Estonia and throughout the world. If God is leading you to support us at this time, you may find how to give down below.

We wish you a Merry Christmas (haid joule) and a Happy New Year (head uut aastat).

May God Bless you all,

Douglas and Kulli

About how to support:
Kulli Toniste Advance # 3022133
Douglas Childress Advance #3022134
Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary Advance #15021B

Bethlehemian Rhapsody

posted Dec 21, 2017, 10:39 AM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Dec 21, 2017, 10:44 AM ]

YouTube Video

Pastor Jim shared this YouTube's a cute one.  Just "click" on the can then "skip" the ad./D

Happy Thanksgiving!

posted Nov 22, 2017, 8:23 PM by Bowmansville UMC

We have much for which we give thanks.  The Thankful Turkey from Amy's Children's Moment is a wonderful expression of thank you declarations from many.

Election Day Spaghetti Dinner - 11/7/17

posted Nov 10, 2017, 6:58 PM by Bowmansville UMC

    I heard the spaghetti was great, good attendance, good fellowship and the chance to welcome some new visitors.  All and all a wonderful event.  (Hmmmm...looks like Pastor is wearing another hat - Spaghetti Jim)

Pumpkins and Christians

posted Oct 26, 2017, 3:47 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Dec 29, 2017, 7:41 PM ]

Kulli and Doug Mission Update from Estonia

posted Sep 25, 2017, 2:07 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Feb 4, 2018, 11:01 AM ]

Greetings everyone!
It has been a while since we sent out a newsletter and there is a lot of exciting news to report.

About school:
 In May, members of Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary met with representatives of Asbury Theological Seminary and began serious discussions to launch a joint Masters in Church Planting degree program which could be completed by students at BMTS.
In June, after 3 plus years of hard work, 14 students graduated from Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary.  The graduating class included students from Estonian, Ukraine, Nigeria, and Latvia.     
BMTS just began a new session of school on August 23, 2017.  All told, there are 22 new students which is a larger class than last year. We have students from Estonia, Ukraine, Finland etc. They are a good group. It is always inspiring to meet people who have answered a call for ministry.
Last spring, we did some creative thinking and prepared a cool new admissions materials and a video to introduce seminary to prospective students. The video is in Estonian, but you are welcome to see it here:
About church:
In summer Kulli participated in the Wesley Summer Seminar and spent a few weeks at Asbury Theological Seminary working on an article related to John Wesley’s Eschatology. Külli is also involved with a committee at UMC in Estonia to translate and publish Wesley-s 52 sermons in Estonian language for the first time.  We hope to print by May 2018.
Every year Estonian Methodists come together for a summer conference. This year Doug presented (and Kulli translated) two sessions there. Our theme was Romans 12:1-2, making our lives a living sacrifice. It was a very good conference. Every night there were prayer teams ready to pray with people. We felt refreshed through that event.
Ferry to to Saaremaa to Evangelical College Students Camp

About summer:
Our best summer days were spent camping with the Evangelical College Students who invited Külli to speak to them. We went as a family and took part of the entire experience. It was held on an island of Saaremaa where nature is particularly pure. We enjoyed seeing a variety of plants and picking wild berries, and went swimming in 18C water of the Baltic Sea. Local people were very social and every interaction takes time. It took 30 minutes to buy a postage stamp at Saaremaa! It is easy to get caught in long conversations at a store over a loaf of bread or varieties of fish! The camp was hosted by an Orthodox church. Youth paid their rent in labor. So as part of the program we chopped and piled up wood.
We came across this humorous book Estonians Inside and Out. Under the title What Estonians love the author writes:
“for some unclear reason, an Estonian likes to chop wood and pile it up.” … “Chopping wood is somewhat difficult for those who live in houses with central heating. First, you do not have a place to chop wood. Second, you do not have a place to pile all that wood you have chopped. Finally, you do not need it, because the room is already warm enough. In this situation most Estonians who live in the city have found the solution in the form of a country cottage.” 
So the city folk go to an island to have fun chopping wood. And a lot of fun it was. Working together, not much speaking, but we all bonded well. We are friends forever for we chopped wood together. Our kids were taught how to chop, pile and drive a tractor. What do Estonians do with all that chopped wood? They heat their homes 9 months out of 12 and sometimes even in July. And they also have sauna. And a nice wood pile makes a very good background for a photo. 
Doug operated the heavy duty wood splitter at the youth camp.
Külli chose the old fashioned axe to split wood.
Karl, Kristofer and Kalev helped to load, transport and pile up wood.
About prayer requests:
  • Please pray for Karl, Kristofer and Kalev. For their new year at school and kindergarten.
  • Please pray for stability in Estonia and upcoming elections. During this summer we saw a lot of NATO planes. It was reassuring to us, but also a reminder that we live in a complex world.
  • Please pray and support those who live in hurricane-ridden areas dealing with so much loss.
  • Please pray for and support the important work done by us and other missionaries. We just sent away one of our seminary’s best workers to mission in Brazil. Our dean commented: “For some reason God likes to work that way: we must give away in order for us to receive.”

Greetings and blessings to all,
Kulli and Douglas

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