In 2007 the United Methodist Church in Estonia celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding on a small island just off its coastline.
In June, 1907 Vassili Täht, colporteur of the British and Foreign Bible Society who worked in St. Petersburg, and Karl Kuum met on the island of Saaremaa where they started to proclaim the gospel together. This date is considered the beginning of the Methodist Church in Estonia. The Kuressaare Methodist Church was officially established in 1910. The first wooden Methodist church building was consecrated there two years later. The revival spread from the cradle of Estonian Methodism on the island of Saaremaa to the mainland.
Also that year Bishop William Burt who resided in Zurich assigned George Albert Simons, an American of German descent, for missionary work in St. Petersburg. Simons became the first superintendent of Finland and Russia. As the Baltic States-including Estonia– were part of Czarist Russia, they belonged also to his mission area.
The roots of Methodism reach back to 18th century England. John Wesley (1703–1791), who is considered the founder of Methodism.
According to statistics, in 2007 the Methodist family around the world comprised approximately 76 million people in 138 countries.
Russian-speaking Estonian Congregations Celebrate 50th Anniversary
In 2007 the Russian speaking fellowship of Tallinn UMC celebrated its 50th anniversary. Also celebrated was the founding of eight active Russian congregations established in Estonia.
The first impulse for the work with Russian speaking Estonians came from pastor Aleksander Kuum who having returned from exile in Siberia did not feel any bitterness towards the Russian people living in the country, as they were also victims of the same totalitarian regime. Kuum started Russian services in Tallinn in 1957. By the year 1980 there were about 300 Russian-speaking members.