MTÜ Peeteli kiriku


Do for others what you want them to do for you: this is the meaning of the Law and the prophets.

Building the New Day Care Center and Night Shelter

Only those children who were willing to attend school daily were allowed to live in the Children’s Home on the church’s second floor. The street children’s Day Center’s work mainly took place in the corridor in front of the main church door, where the children were given warm food and where a shower room and toilet were built so that the children could wash themselves. Every time the Day Center was open, 10-15 children came to the church, but helping the children in these conditions was very challenging.

Peeteli church has a basement of approximately 400 m², but it was in very poor condition, and since the building lacked drainage, water often collected on the basement floor.

We prayed that we could establish a children’s Day center and Shelter in the basement. Several construction experts visited the site and said that it was not possible to build rooms in the basement to help children. We put all our hope in God. In 1999, with the help of our friends and supporters’ donations, we built a drainage and sewer system around the church, which prevented water from entering, allowing the boys living in the basement to start excavating the floor.

All other church rooms were also in very poor condition. The walls of the church hall and corridors had been painted over with dark green and gray oil paint during the Soviet era, the heating system was out of order, and the entire building was damp. To start renovation work, the old oil paint and loose plaster had to be manually removed. This work was very time-consuming and was done by the boys living in the basement. They used sharpened spackling knives, screwdrivers, and axes as tools.

All these tasks were physically very demanding and exhausting. Nevertheless, they wanted to do it, and it changed much of their worldview. For their work, they could live in the church, receive warm food and clothes. Step by step, they began to understand that it is possible to cope with life without stealing and deceit. As Avo Üprus later said, these boys built the church both as a building and within themselves. They also built a home for the children, but whether it would ever be completed, neither they nor we knew.

From 1998 to 2000, the street boys living in the basement of Peeteli church  opened the church windows, demolished the partition walls built by the film studio, removed about 400 m² of Soviet-era concrete floor, and excavated the basement by 60 cm. Over three years, they removed about 350 m² of old oil paint from the church walls and loaded about 230 m³ of construction waste into dumpsters. The older boys didn’t continue their schooling, but their contribution to the restoration of Peeteli church was significant.

In July 2000, we signed a contract with a construction company to renovate the entire basement. The initial budget for the construction was 1.8 million Estonian kroons. The construction company needed 10 % advance payment, which meant 180 000 Estonian kroons, to sign the contract. When we started counting the money, it turned out that children’s supporters had such an amount, but that was all at that moment.

We prayed and put all our hope in God, signed the contract and told our friends and supporters.  Supporters who had already helped children in the past started sending donations and God’s good angels sent private individuals, organizations and companies that offered us their help. 

Donations came from 12 different countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, USA, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Estonia), and 10 months later, the renovation was completed. The new Day Center’s and Shelter’s rooms were opened on April 1, 2001, and the Bishop Einar Soone of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church blessed the work. God’s blessing and grace was very great.

The renovation of the basement, including the replacement of drainage and sewer systems, cost a total of 3.1 million Estonian kroons, and by the time the new rooms were opened, the entire amount had been paid. 

The basement floor has 3 bedrooms, Day Center rooms, toilets and shower rooms, washing machine, modern kitchen and children’s study kitchen. Children also have a separate small classroom where they do school homework and crafts. 

The NGO Peeteli Kiriku Sotsiaalkeskus was founded on January 1, 2000. The founders were the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Peeteli Church in Tallinn, the NGO Social Rehabilitation Center, the NGO Victim Support Association “Victim Support,” and the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Criminal Justice Center.