Archive for the ‘Rovereto’ Category

Baptisms

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

It was a wonderful afternoon at the baptismal service at Rovereto today, the first in that church. Firstly to hear the testimonies of the two people who were baptised, the elder’s teenage daughter (that Pinuccia and I saw a lot over the years in the Sunday School, the Youth Group, and the camps), and a man converted in the last 18 months in which he has been attending the church at Rovereto. Two very different people, with different stories, but the same witness to God’s free gift to them, not based on what they had done. It was also a great time together for the two churches at Trento and Rovereto, in their diversity. There was the Pakistan group with the Africans, the teenagers with the young adults, even a Russian family who had come to visit their son who is studying at Trento. For many, it was the first time we had seen each other for a few months or even a year, as each church continues their ministry in their own town. But despite the separation, there has always been the commitment to each other and to the gospel in the whole province of Trento, which made the picking up of the relationships easy.

Camp and baptisms

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

The seventh church children’s camp finished today. I went to the camp today and the first day to help with the transport and the preparation and finishing, but also all day on Wednesday to organise some activities. One was dong the filming to create a video of the participants dancing to the song “Happy”, as is the fashion these days. Another was an evening of Extreme Sports, of which my personal favourite was Extreme Ironing (which really does exist, it is on Wikipedia!) – the children were very imaginative in finding extreme ways to iron my shirt. I have not had much of a chance to speak with the leaders about how it went, although I could sense a great feeling amongst the participants whilst I was there, and heard the Bible being explained and discussed well.

This week’s main event is the first ever baptisms at the Rovereto church, which will be taking place next Sunday afternoon. It will be great to be able to rejoice with the church for how God has been building his kingdom through the ministry of the congregation.

Anniversary week

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

I had three anniversaries in the last few days, of which the last was the least noticed by others, but maybe the most significant for me.

The first was on Wednesday with the anniversary of my birth, which I celebrated by sending Stefania to the first day of school and getting some freedom. I then used up that freedom with my first meeting for ECM work of the new academic year (via Skype), and then the first Bible study for the church of the new year. On Saturday there was a special thanksgiving meeting for the first anniversary of the Rovereto church: a wonderful opportunity for being thankful for God’s work in that city. And today is the 20th anniversary of my arrival in Italy, for which I give thanks to God for how he has helped and used me in all this time. If you want to read a brief summary of what has happened in the past 20 years of my life, you can read the newsletter that I sent out this morning at http://www.laparola.net/richard/news.htm

How many fingers?

How many fingers?

Reflections on small church, the world church, and World Championships

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Today there was a special church lunch, as many of those from Trento drove to Rovereto after the service to share the lunch with them. The Rovereto church actually rents its own place, so we all squeezed into that space to eat, have fellowship, and catch up with friends we have not seen in the last couple of months. Although I have been to the building once before, it is the first time I have been there on a Sunday, and seen the church (in the sense of people) there. It was great to see people there who I did not know, as a few have joined the church in the time since the separate services were started. And I could sense a different atmosphere there to what we experience at Trento, as I could feel the commitment and closeness of relationships between everybody, which comes from being a small church. It gave me a bit of nostalgia for the first few years after I arrived in Italy, when the Trento church was similar to how Rovereto is now. Ah, the joys of a small church! In the same way, it gave me a lot of hope for the future at Rovereto, that it too can become like Trento is now.

Another reflection during the week was on the changing state of the church, around the world and in Europe. On Wednesday night we heard from a Pakistani pastor, who had had to flee the country due to persecution, and ended up at Trento where we recently met him. And at Rovereto there is an evangelist who left Ghana, escaped from Libya (where his son was killed when their house was bombed), and is now in Italy as a refugee. As a church we do pray and help practically the persecuted church, but it is another thing to meet real people who are paying the cost for their faith – and yet consider it a small price to pay. It is a challenge to us Westerners.

And for those who missed the news, maybe because they were distracted by some other world cup, yesterday the Trento volleyball team won the club world volleyball championship for the third year in a row.

Two almost empty nests, and a dream

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

When I wrote last week, Pinuccia had a job, but for after-school care, which she wanted to avoid in order to be with our children. On Tuesday night so got an offer from another school for a job during the day, so she gave up the first and took that one. Then on Wednesday night came an offer from our local school at Lavis, so she gave up the second job to take up that one. The job is not perfect, in that it is full-time and we prefer part-time. But that means that its other imperfection – only for a month and not a year – is actually an advantage. At the beginning of October she should be offered another job at Lavis, which we hope will be part-time. So on Thursday Daniele and Pinuccia went to pre-school together for their first day, and I had an almost empty nest at home. “Almost”, because infants’ school does not start until the 12th, so I look after Stefania (and try to do a bit of work) whilst the others are at school for another week.

Today there was the first morning service of the church at Rovereto. Having 15 out of about 70 adults leave the church should have left quite a few holes in the hall at Trento for our service, and maybe a feeling of emptiness. But quite a few new people have started coming in the meantime, so although the numbers were a bit down on the average, they were not much lower. So there was not much of an empty nest feeling at all.

Another highlight of the week was participating this afternoon in the anniversary celebrations of the federation of the bands in the province of Trento. Not all the bands could come, but in any case being a part of a parade of 60 bands dressed in various colourful uniforms was fun. And then the final concert all together of well over 1000 people in the main square of Trento was spectacular. It made me dream of a future event, when all the 60 churches that will have been planted in all the small towns spread out in the province, will come together at Trento one Sunday for a celebration together and to worship as one.

This week about half of the church groups will be restarting, including for us the Wednesday night group and the Sunday School. Pinuccia is also running a Sunday School teachers’ meeting tomorrow night, and I will have a meeting for the Youth Group leaders later on. So pray for this restart of activities as well.

Transition time

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

This week was a bit of a mix. It is the end of the school holidays, so there were trips to the lake, swimming pool, and park with the family. But it is also preparation time for me, so I was able to work on some Bible studies and do some computer work. And there was also some summer church activities, with a prayer meeting instead of a Bible study group that some of the church members have been running during the summer.

The next few days will be continuing the transition, with a bit more holidays until Daniele and Pinuccia return to pre school on Thursday. There will also be a couple of preparation and planning meetings to go to, before the church activities begin. And then the following week the groups I lead will be starting up.

Pinuccia was offered and accepted one job doing the week, at a school that is fairly close, although in the afternoon which we want to avoid if possible. Then at Lavis, where we live and where she hopes to work, the teacher before her on the list took the last available job. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it means that Pinuccia will be first on the list for the second wave of offers, after some who have already accepted a job get offered something better and change their mind. This is what happened last year. There are also a few other schools which will be offering jobs this week, so we are still unsure where exactly she will be working this year. But we should know by this time next week. So keep praying for the perfect job!

Next week will be another historical moment for the church, as the Rovereto church will be beginning weekly services in the morning. We will suddenly find ourselves at Trento with twenty less people, including the children. I’m sure it will be a bit of a shock to everybody, even me, even though we have been preparing ourselves for it for months. The exciting news at Rovereto is that they have found a room that they are able to rent for all their meetings. Having a permanent place where they can be easily found should be a great help in getting themselves known and for their witness. It would be great to have our own place at Trento as well, although a lot harder since we need a larger (and so much more expensive) place.

Back

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

We are back, after a good trip in a relatively short 36 hours from door to door. The sleeping patterns are still not quite right, as we all wake up early. But we go to sleep at the usual times, so it just means we sleep less without getting tired. Maybe the extra light and heat of the summer is a shock to the system after two consecutive winters.

It was fun to see the children get more and more excited as we got closer and closer to home, to the point of seeming to go mad from joy as we walked down the last stretch of road from the local train station to our house, greeting neighbours and friends from school as we went. Of course, the big highlight for them was returning to all their toys: it was like 5 Christmas and 5 birthdays all rolled into one. It seemed that within ten minutes that had pulled every single one of their games and toys out onto the floor.

Today is was of course back to work. With many away at the moment, I had to preach: the first time I have done that at Trento for a long time. Despite the jeg lag, I did survive. It did help that it was a sermon I had already done 4 times in Australia. So I just had to translate it and think of some different examples, which I had been able to do before we left. And at least I had not lost too much Italian, since I spoke Italian with Pinuccia whilst we were away. Only once did an English word almost get out. It was good to hear what had been going on in our absence, and finding out about changes in friends’ lives. I was encouraged to hear of a growth spurt in the Val di Non group, which doubled in size with a lot of new faces after struggling for some time. The church at Rovereto has started renting a room to meet in, and people from both churches have been preparing it. It was great also to see a lot of faces in church that I did not recognise – I will have to find out in the next few months if they were visitors or new people in the church.

This week I will be trying to get some preparation done for the start of the Bible studies in a few weeks’ time, as well as doing some computer ministry. However, with both children at home, and a desire to make the most of this summer time with them, I might not have as much time as I would like. Pinuccia will also be offered some jobs on Friday and Saturday, from which she will have to decide what she will be doing this year. So please pray that she will be offered the perfect job again this year, as she was a year ago.

The big day

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

Commissioning the Rovereto missionaries

What a day! Today there was the commissioning service for the 11 adults and 9 children who will be forming the church at Rovereto. There were quite a few tears shed, a mixture of the joy of a historic moment in the life of both of the churches, and the sadness of sending people to a new ministry. It was a time of remembering God’s faithfulness over the 48 years of ECM work at Trento (for which it was good to have the ECM International Director with us for the weekend), and of putting ourselves in God’s hands for the future knowing that we are not able to plant churches with our abilities. After the service, the festive nature of the day continued with a picnic at the park, the first of the new season. In fact it was 26 degrees today, a great change after the cold of the last 6 months and which changes everybody’s mood. The next step is the inaugural general meeting of the Rovereto church next Sunday, at which it will be legally formed as an association.

The commissioning service was the climax of a weekend dedicated to church planting, with training from the International Director on Friday night and Saturday evening. That kept the church busy, especially Pinuccia and I as we had to look after the logistics and hospitality as well. And a train strike on Friday did not help – I had to make an unexpected trip to pick him up.

Apart from the meeting at Rovereto, the other events of the week in the church (apart from the usual weekly activities) are the third public conference in the town library, on euthanasia, and the monthly meeting of the youth group. But there are other big events as well – next Sunday is our seventh wedding anniversary. To celebrate, Lavis is having a town festival, so that will be lots to do and see about the town in the afternoon, including me playing a concert with the band.

Big events

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Today there was the annual general meeting of the church. These are not always the most exciting of times, but at Trento we tend to have a good spirit in these meetings. In particular, there was today another one of the official steps in the Rovereto church plant, with the church as a body ratifying the birth of the new church. It almost brought a tear to my eye when I wrote, as I took the minutes, that the church unanimously approved the church plant. Everyone without exception agreed with the vision and direction and supports it, which is not a common situation for such a big change in a church. In fact the elder taking the meeting seemed almost disappointed that no one spoke up about the church plant. This of course is the fruit of 17 years of talking about our church planting vision, and especially in the past year talking about the vision and our plans to implement it, getting people’s impressions, and encouraging them to get behind it.

The coming week’s big event (in this period, something big is happening every week) is a dinner for the young adults at our house on Saturday. Of course, it is a while since Pinuccia and I can be counted as young adults, but it will be our way to help this age group. In the last more than a year, the young adults have not been working well as a group, so there is a conscious effort by the church now to relaunch the group. Especially because an active and committed group or young adults is often the “engine room” of the church. With some leaders have already thought about the direction of the group, the dinner will be the first step for the group as a whole. We will be trying to beat our record of last year of fitting 24 adults into our lounge room for dinner – I think we will get almost 30 this time. You could pray especially for Pinuccia, who apart from her usual responsibilities and activities will be doing most of the preparing for the dinner.

More

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

This week was a continuation of what was mentioned in the past couple of messages. In the Wednesday Bible study group, we continued talking about our vision and plans for the Rovereto (and other new) church plants, and in the Saturday group we started this conversation. In the family we kept talking about the choices for Stefania’s schooling next year. We still have not quite reached a final decision, although since the deadline for enrolments is tomorrow morning we will be deciding soon. During the week, Pinuccia also hosted and chaired a planning meeting for the church children’s camp in June. We will actually be in Australia and so not at the camp, but Pinuccia is helping the people who will be running the camp with its organisation.

A couple of things for this week. I will be at Madrid from Tuesday to Thursday with ECM meetings, so life will be a bit harder for Pinuccia as she takes over my roles in the family as well. On Saturday afternoon there will be a missionary meeting in the church. This is part of our emphasis on mission in our church this year, and especially in the next 3 months. Both the world wide mission that we should be involved in, and the local mission of our church, that is the church plant at Rovereto.