by: Edgars Šneiders, Urs Schweizer

Sep 28 2017

When the congregations gather to celebrate, their pastors become very visible as leaders of the worship services and as preachers of the Gospel. But being a pastor means much more than just preaching on Sundays. And the Methodist pastors all over Europe impact many people far beyond their congregants – as a variety of examples from Latvia underline.

Kuldīga UMC has started a shower and laundry project for nearby residents, through which the local community, especially poor people, may receive support and hear the Gospel.

At the Liepa Russian UMC's After School Program, the love of Christ and the Gospel are shared with many children and their parents. Pastor Vera does not only take care for the spiritual side but also makes sure that the kids are fed and receive care. This includes assisting them in doing their homework for school.

Pastor Kristine of Cēsis UMC spends a lot of time and energy in teaching the young mothers at Hope Center in Liepa, so that these young girls would become stronger in faith and that it would help them in their lives with their babies.

Pastor Astra and Riga First UMC have actively pursued the completion of a diaconal/social outreach room, which will help in reaching out to the people and lighten their burdens.

Liepāja UMC and its pastors Edgars and Gunta have participated in several evangelization events outside their church walls. After the special night for the homeless on December 24, attended by 37 people, the congregation plans to prepare and lead an Alpha course for them, as well.

Premises for a social center are remodeled next to Tashi UMC. This will become a good platform to reach out to people of the village. A number of elderly people are visited at least twice a year. The congregation prays for them and strengthens them with God's Word. This year almost 30 people were blessed by this ministry.

2. Edgars Šneiders in Tashi UMC.jpg
Edgars Šneiders in Tashi UMC



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Paplaka UMC is a church with a strong Sunday school, where evangelization and discipleship takes place. The parents have experienced God's touch through their children, who are regular attendees of the worship services.

In summer, the pastors, together with lay leaders, are actively involved in various children's camps. Through these camps, many children and youth have got to know Christ.

The local churches of the UMC in Latvia are becoming more are more self-sufficient, and they are gradually, step by step, increasing their payments to the salary fund. Unfortunately, due to the economic situation, local giving is not sufficient, therefore the help of the Baltic Pastors Salary Fund, which has been supported by the Fund for Mission in Europe for many years already, is crucial for the pastors, for their families, but also for witness and service of the whole church.

Edgars Šneiders, Superintendent UMC Latvia
Urs Schweizer, Fund for Mission in Europe
Photos by Latvian UMC