Latvia is the middle of the three Baltic states just west of Russia. During the last century the people of Latvia suffered greatly: first during the two world wars, and then under Soviet communism. Historically Lutheran following the Reformation, there are but few remnants of the historical Reformed presence in Latvia. The first Reformed church was replanted only in 1990. However, despite the smallness of the Reformed Church in Latvia today, it is a delight to see how, in their own words, this denomination is convinced that “the Word ministry (teaching and preaching of the Bible) is the front line of Christian mission”. Come Over and Help seeks to promote and support the young Latvian Reformed community in several meaningful ways.
Pastor Training – Baltic Reformed Theological Seminary
Baltic Reformed Theological Seminary is located on rented premises on the second floor of an old building in the capital city of Riga. BRTS was founded in 1998 to provide evangelical theological education for students in the Baltic states, inviting qualified instructors from America, Canada and Europe. Alvis Sauka is the President of the seminary, and has been a catalyst for bringing many in Latvia to a Reformed understanding of Scripture and theology. Artis Celmins is the director of the seminary.
A recent exciting development is the establishment of an extension project in Jekabpils in central Latvia. This study group was formed in response to a group of church leaders who had a strong desire to learn more about Reformed theology and lead their church in that direction. We praise God for this development!
Several graduates of BRTS are laboring as pastors in and around Riga. Alvis Sauka and Ungars Gulbis both pastor established congregations. Martins Martinsons, a BRTS graduate, has more recently planted a church in Pardaugava, the university sector of Riga; under God's blessing, the church is thriving and also reaching out to international students from the universities.
The Reformed churches in Latvia are focused on outreach, using 1-to-1 Bible reading as a means of bring God’s Word to others.
One of the pastors supported by COAH, Ungars Gulbis, is engaged in radio ministry. His Sunday sermons are formatted for radio and broadcast each week. There have been expressions of interest from many, and some have visited the Reformed churches. As a result of this ministry, Pastor Gulbis has also been invited to participate in several on-air forums, and to broadcast meditations on the Christian radio station.