Italian Evangelical Alliance on Abuse, Refugees and Roman Catholicism, Evangelical Focus
The federal assembly of the Italian Evangelical Alliance (AEI) was held on May 28 at the Christian ministry of the Secondigliano Evangelical Pentecostal Church, in the Italian city of Naples.
The pastor of this church, Christian Parisi, welcomed the participants of the meeting, which was led by Lucia Stelluti, vice-president of the AEI.
Giacomo Ciccone, President of the AEI, presented the annual report with an account of the activities of the Alliance in 2021a year “still marked by the impact of the pandemic», but important dates such as the International Week of Prayer, Mission Sunday, Refugee Sunday, Remembrance Sunday and the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church – IDOP).
Furthermore, “district reports highlighted both the vitality of the Alliance and the critical issues facing the evangelical body”. New initiatives were also presented, such as the Reform march in Napleswhich aims to enhance the memory of the evangelical movement in Naples through a walking tour of the historic center.
At the end of the assembly, pastor Michele Romeo preached from the book of Ezekielrecalling “the challenge of living in times of crisis, while receiving the Word of God and bearing witness, with the certainty of having the hand of the Lord upon us”, reports the AEI.
During the AEI Assembly, President Ciccone spoke about the humanitarian corridor project that the AEI is activating to accommodate around sixty Afghan believers who fled their country following the seizure of power by the Taliban in Italy.
According to the AEI, “this is a project in which the AEI is collaboration with Italian institutions and a number of evangelical NGOs dedicated to helping Christians in need. Dozens of churches and evangelical organizations have also expressed their willingness to cooperate in fundraising.”
Valeria Marzano pointed out that “the responsibility for hospitality should not be driven solely by emotions, but rather take on the royal, prophetic and priestly aspects characteristic of the Christian vocation. The objective is not only to manage an emergency, but to put in place a medium-term approach for the integration of populations”.
AEI also reported that it has been thinking about abuse in churches for some time now.
Giuseppe Rizza, coordinator of the Northeast District, pointed out that the The AEI drafts a document on the basis of the French National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF) to be proposed to Italian Evangelical churches as a platform for reflection and a protocol to adopt to prevent and deal with abuse.
Carine Francq stressed that churches should not be places of silence, under the illusion that they are the safeguard of testimony. She warned that churches still treat this with superficiality and poor preventative measures. “The AEI is committed to being a place where all evangelicals can work on this issue“, she says.
After the lunch break, the AEI Federal Assembly concluded with a round table on the evangelical analysis of Roman Catholicism with Leonardo De Chirico, Giacomo Ciccone and Pastor Michele Passaretti.
For this occasion, De Chirico presented his book, Same words, different worlds. Do Catholics and Evangelicals believe in the same gospel?
Panelists recalled the document’Italian Evangelicals on Roman Catholicism‘ (2014), which ‘marked a unique moment in contemporary evangelical history with the signing by the main Italian evangelical denominations of a common document reaffirming the historic position of evangelicals on Catholicism’”.
“The A Roman Catholic Churchalthough it changes in some of its components, remains grounded in her unbiblical beliefs and practices and is therefore not susceptible to a relationship marked by spiritual unity‘”, says the document.
President Ciccone also recalled another AEI document entitled Covenant and co-belligerence: When is it biblically right to collaborate? (2011), which clearly distinguishes evangelical openness to collaboration with different parties on specific issues of common ethical and social concern from the unity among born-again believers that is expressed through prayer and common mission. One can be co-belligerent with the Roman Catholic Church, but not be united spiritually.
Pastor Passaretti called for a wide distribution of the book Same words, different worldsbecause the subject “is of national and global importance and because the challenges of gospel witness today require gospel clarity so as not to be confused by the complexity of religious matters”.
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– Italian Evangelical Alliance on Abuse, Refugees and Roman Catholicism