Archive for November, 2010

Snow business

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Although it has already snowed a few times in the mountains around Trento, this weekend there were the first snow falls in the town itself. Stefania and Daniele certainly got excited at the sight. However, it does reduce participation a bit. Church this morning had about 1/3 less than its usual number, with people unable or unwilling to get out with the snow. The beginning of the usual mid winter blues, as numbers and keenness drop until Spring starts in a few months.

But there are still lots of activities. In fact next Saturday is the day when people in the church managed to organise three events at the same time (as well as the usual Saturday afternoon Bible study groups). The one that stayed on that date is an evangelistic concert at Trento, with Samuele (my ex-flatmate) and some friends from other churches playing, as well as a presentation of Altrimenti, the social arm of the church, and its project to help a hospital in Cameroon. The other events for Saturday got moved – the Sunday School’s biscuit making to the 11th, the Youth Group to the 18th – so there will be more on those in a future post.

Skate ‘n’ Coordinate

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

One of the advantages of leading a Youth Group is getting to do all the fun activities that you would not otherwise do. So this afternoon I went ice skating for the first social activity of the group that we started a couple of months ago. It is interesting discovering what gets you excited and joyful. For me today it was finding myself skating with a group of 10 youth (between the teenagers of the Youth Group and some of the older Sunday School children), and three adults committed to making sacrifices to help the youth grow in their faith and in their relationships. After years of seeing one or two or three youth go through the church at a time, with few peers to give them support, it was exciting to be with this big group who really look after each other. It is a big indication of the changes that the church is going through.

Another activity of the week was thinking about the coordination of the ministries of the church. With lots going on and no-one knowing everything, due to the growth of the congregation, it is easy for us to run into problems. So for example we managed to organise three different activities for the same time next Saturday week, and quite a few people would have had to go to all three. So I with some others have been working on ways to coordinate better the special events, but also the normal running of the various groups in the church, so that we can serve God together. I will now be the central information point for the organisational aspects of this coordination, although the ministerial aspects will still depend on the elders and the church committee.

A play on words 17 years in the making

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

I had a lot more time with the children this week, as Pinuccia had a meeting after school on Thursday, then on Friday when there was no school so the children were home, she had to go out both in the morning and in the afternoon, and then on Saturday another 5 hours in the afternoon/evening for a church meeting. So it was fun doing things with Stefania and Daniele in these last few days, especially as they regularly get new interests as they come across something different. Last week it was astronomy, this week it was firemen, and tonight they started on fashion shows. And today it was also Sunday School, which was gratifying for us. Stefania had her usual lesson this morning, whilst Daniele, who had a slight fever from a cold and stayed home with Pinuccia, had a personal Sunday School class. At lunch time they asked for another Sunday School class, so in the afternoon we did the lot together: prayer, singing, lesson, craft, prayer. It meant that I was able to repeat the lesson that I had done with my class this morning. Hence I was finally able to teach, not once but twice, on Luke 5, which is a great passage in Italian. Peter says, “I am a sinner (peccatore), leave me”. Jesus replies, “No, I won’t leave you, you instead follow me and I will make you a fisherman (pescatore) of people”. So Jesus changes everything: instead of being sent away he invites us to him, transforming us (as is needed to come to him) from peccatore to pescatore. I first thought of using this word play more than 17 years ago, when I heard someone that was learning Italian mix up the two words. And I have been waiting since then for an opportunity to teach Luke 5 and use it. Finally I’ve done it. Even better, the children understood and appreciated it.

Youth Group

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

We had a successful first study with the Youth Group on Saturday afternoon. It is always a challenge to get all the teenagers at the same place at the same time, and then back home again, as they are spread out in three corners of the province, and most travel about an hour each way to get to the meeting. But they want to make this sacrifice, which is encouraging for us. So keep praying for this group. It will also not be easy to plan future meetings, because Saturday afternoons for the next couple of months will be full with other church activities – including the Bible study group every second week which I lead, which we need to dovetail into the program of the Youth Group. More about the special church activities in the future, as they come up, but next Saturday afternoon at Rovereto there will be the annual national meeting for an organisation that promotes prayer amongst women for their children and their schools (Moms In Touch). This movement is having keep a big effect on our church, helping many to pray regularly with others.