Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church
Who we are
The Lutheran Church is still the largest church in Estonia, around 10-15 percent of the Estonian population are members. The church’s Institute of Theology is an educational centre for the entire church: for preparing clergy, other church workers, lay people, church musicians, etc., for various types of work within congregations. The institute also trains teachers of religious education in public schools, as well as military, prison and hospital chaplains and people who are going to work in the mass media.
The church is actively involved in diaconia and social work as a bridge between congregations and local communities. The congregations have to develop into capable partners for both the state and local municipalities. In cooperation new structures and new value are created. This does not mean that church cannot have specific clerical goals. It may and should have them, but both the church and the state are just tools for serving others. This means serving our brothers and sisters in the broadest sense of these words.
Why we are involved in SEMPRE
SEMPRE addresses issues relevant for the church and the work of congregations. It enables empowering people in congregations in remote areas of the country and strengthening of cooperation between various stakeholders. An international arena would assist in fulfilling the local goals better and draw more attention to the activities. SEMPRE enables addressing target groups that have not been addressed by other international projects so far such as families at risk, ex-offenders, NEET (not in education, employment or training) youth, etc. The project enables empowering of risk groups on local level and assists them in improvement of their own lives by providing training to create jobs. The project increases social entrepreneurship on the local level. These are all values that the Evangelical Lutheran Church also shares.
What will be the most important result of SEMPRE?
Local risk groups will be empowered and will have possibilities for establishing own social enterprises thanks to the micro projects carried out on the local level.
Whom we are working with
The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church will, together with the Foundation for Social Action, create Local Empowerment Networks in the counties Võru and Põlva. The focus will be on families at risk, i.e. families located in remote regions of the country, families having many children, families in poverty where parents are unemployed, families having NEET youth at home. In the two Local Empowerment Networks we will cooperate with NGOs such as Hingetugi (providing pastoral counselling) or the Estonian Association of Large Families, as well as with congregations, the local municipalities of Haanja, Rõuge, Sõmerpalu, Meremäe and the county governments. We will also cooperate with Tallinn University and the Estonian University of Life Sciences as scientific partners.