Guest post by the Rev. Dr. Andrea Ferrari.
In writing to you I realize how fast time has passed and how many things have happened in the last few months. We have many reasons to be grateful for we have been greatly encouraged as a church thus far in 2013. We received 8 people as church members and we could be witnesses of the blossoming of a true faith in some of them (others came to us from other evangelical churches)
Another important bit of news is that after having preached and taught for 11 years by myself we could have man sustaining a Licensure Exam to help in the church. On May 16, 2013, Mr. Mark Patterson (an Irishman) was examined for his license to exhort. Mark and Sonia (an Italian) Patterson and their 12-year-old son, Daniel, began attending our church about a year and half ago. Mark graduated in 1998 from the Evangelical Theological College of Wales at Bryntirion in Bridgend, South Wales, UK. Our plan is that Mark will exhort two times per month beginning in September, once in Italian and once in English.
As for me, it was a great privilege to attend the URCNA Pastors’ and Missions’ conferences last June. Besides the excellent teaching we received I was greatly encouraged to spend a few days with like-minded brothers in the ministry. On occasion of my trip I also had the honor to preach in four sister churches : Faith URC (MI), Cornerstone URC (MI), Faith URC (IL) and Lynwood URC (IL). I felt greatly encouraged by the warmth in which all the Pastors and church members of these sister churches welcomed me.
Writing in this regard, I solicit your prayers on our behalf in view of the new season from Sept. 2013 to June 2014. After having attended the URCNA Missions’ conference I came home burdened for the spread of the Gospel in Italy. Because of this, in our Consistory meeting of July we discussed about our missionary mandate and we decided to launch an effort that we called “Evangelistic Quarter.” Through the next four months (Sept/ Dec)—having been inspired by B. B. Warfield’s essay on Jesus’ Mission According to His Own Testimony—I’ll preach a series of sermons based on Jesus’ words in the Synoptic gospels explaining the reasons why our Lord came down to earth. At the same time, our church members will make an effort to bring new people to listen to the Gospel possibly every Lord’s Day morning in the next four months.
We also hope to have some people making a profession of faith and joining the church before the end of the year. There will be probably 5 adults making a profession (one of them, 20 years old, will also be baptized) and four children will receive the sign of God’s covenant.
Finally, we ask you to pray also for the city of Florence. In the last few months we have been in touch with the Marino family from Florence. Mr. Eliseo Marino was converted as a teen-ager when I was the Pastor of his church about 20 years ago. A few years ago Eliseo began reading some books on reformed theology and about a year ago he contacted me to ask some questions and since then we have been regularly in touch. As a result of our correspondence I visited them last May. To make a long story short, the Marinos will be visiting with us on Sunday Sept. 22 to worship with us. If the Lord will continue to open their eyes it seems that – as they will continue to keep in touch with our church – we may start in the future to exchange visits on a regular basis. Who knows that the Lord will enable us to start a church plant in Florence beginning with the Marino family?
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