(A proposal for facilitation of rural evangelization in Estonia – open to comments and suggestions.)
The Nurgakivi Selts is envisioned as a network of free-use chapels with capacity for 12 worshipers maximum. Chapels are intended as a short-term resource for small gatherings of seekers, worshipers and refuge seekers in places too small or remote to plant a church or maintain a full-use building. Chapels address the need for low cost, purpose-built, and easily managed infrastructure to facilitate small worship gatherings. Chapels also anticipate the growing need for temporary shelter for pilgrims, the broken and needy, or those fleeing war or hardship in their home country.
“Nurgakivi” chapels are named after Jesus Christ’s title as “the cornerstone”. With a vision for dispersal over a wide area of Estonia’s rural landscape, the name is also a play on the abundance of pre-Christian pagan “ohvrikivid” (offering stones) scattered around the Estonian countryside.
The Cornerstone Society (“Nurgakivi Selts”) is inspired by the Lutheran Bretheran prayer-house movement in Estonia: an 19th century revivalist movement within but independent of the Lutheran Church. The Bretheran movement arguably had a critically important theological influence on and provided significant membership for many of the evangelical free-churches still functioning in Estonia today.
- A desire to provide minimal infrastructure for small Christian gatherings of different kinds;
- A recovery of the monastic fusion between worship, service, hospitality, and communal life;
- A response to maximal ecclesiology which favors large, professionalized and programmatic organizations over small, voluntary gatherings;
- An intentional focus on placing Christ squarely at the center of Christian worship and spirituality.
- Chapels are constructed, owned, maintained and managed by the Nurgakivi Selts.
- Chapels can be located on private, corporate or public property with a non-destruction lease of 10 years.
- Chapels are extremely simple in their design amounting to a sparsely furnished purpose-built shelter.
- Chapels are intended for worship, fellowship, succor and temporary refuge.
- Chapels are contructed by members of the Nurgakivi Selts and like-minded volunteers.
- Chapels are managed and maintained by a local Host, usually but not always associated with the property owner.
- Chapel usage is managed via a web/app based reservation system. Once reserved, travellers are provided with a time-limited code to lock and unlock the door.
- When unreserved, chapels can be open to the public, but are always monitored by an external security camera.
(inspired by Dr. Watson Lacy’s Chapel of the Holy Ghost located just west of Flagstaff, AZ)
- Chapels are identical in design, quick to construct, easy to maintain, and immediately recognizable.
- Chapel design and equipment is intentionally and unapologetically Christian, ecumenical and primitive.
- Chapels are weatherproof, insulated and ventilated but not intended for long-term use.
- Padded bench seating is provided for up to 12 people. Benches can be converted into half tables and placed together for dining. Benches can also be repositioned to provide sleeping space for four. (See for example: https://wilkerdos.com/product/convertible-picnic-table-plans/)
- low table/altar
- prominently and centrally displayed cross
- kneeling prayer bench for 2 people
- Bibles, prayer-books, and hymnals in various languages
- guestbook and pen
- first-aid kit
- emergency food-stuffs
- secure donation box
Membership and administration
- Nurgakivi Selts is registered as a non-profit organization in Estonia.
- The organization is explicitly Christian, theologically primitive and functionally ecumenical holding to the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds and the authority of Christian scripture.
- Membership is comprised of Patrons (landowners), Hosts (chapel managers) and Sponsors.
- Hosts commit to maintain their home-chapel by visiting at least once a month.
- Members are committed to building, managing, and maintaining all chapels.
- Members commit to use their home-chapel for at least one worship oriented gathering annually.
- Members gather once a year (either physically or virtually) for an annual meeting.
- Members elect a chairman who will provide oversight for the organization for the term of 1 year.
- All chapel building and maintenance is volunteer and donation based.
- Chapels lacking a dedicated host or unused for more than 1 year will be scheduled for relocation.
- Nurgakivi Selts owns only the chapels and the tools and materials required to maintain them.