Diary of a Traveling Pastor: EU Reformation

After a great couple of weeks in the UK, I traveled to Bucharest, Romania to visit Mihai Corcea and the Evangelical Reformed Church of Bucharest. Mihai was born in Transylvania, but does not recoil at the sight of a cross. He does, though, react violently to Second Commandment-violating crucifixes. Mihai came to Reformed convictions as a teenager and began to sense a call to ministry after moving to Bucharest upon graduating college. At the time, there was no confessional Reformed church in Bucharest and no confessional Reformed denomination in all of Romania. Mihai contacted Andrea Ferrari, a URCNA missionary in Italy, who encouraged him to attend Westminster Seminary California for his theological training. Following the completion of his MDiv in 2016, Mihai was examined by Classis Southwest of the URCNA and ordained by Christ URC in Santee, CA to serve as a missionary in Romania. Mihai then returned to his homeland and began the work in Bucharest.

Fikret Bocek and I served as the speakers for this year’s annual conference at the Evangelical Reformed Church in Bucharest. Fikret pastors a Reformed congregation in Turkey. Not only is he a fantastic preacher and teacher, he is a lot of fun. Fikret, Mihai, and I had a great time over the weekend in Bucharest. After a fruitful day at the conference on Saturday, I had the privilege to fill the pulpit on Sunday. I preached on Psalm 40 and the promise of the coming Messiah. Because most Romanians speak English well, I had some encouraging conversations with members of the congregation and visitors on Saturday and Sunday.

One man and his wife traveled from Cluj in Transylvania to attend the conference and the church service. He is newly Reformed and leads a Reformed Bible study for his Pentecostal and Baptist friends. Please pray that this will be the beginnings of a future church plant in the second largest city in Romania. Please also pray for God to raise up men to serve as pastors and elders in Romania. Mihai and his elder Claudiu are the among the few confessional Reformed church officers in the entire country. Many more men will be needed if the Reformation is to come to Romania.

From Bucharest, I traveled to Milan to attend Chiesa Riformata Filadelfia, a congregation I know well. I have preached there many times in the past and have grown to love the congregation, despite the language barrier. Since my last visit in 2017, Mike Brown was installed as pastor and the church building has undergone an extensive remodel. On Saturday, Mike and I toured the Duomo (cathedral) in Milan. We climbed to the top for an amazing view of the city. In the basement of the Duomo, an archaeological dig uncovered a church that existed on the site before the current Duomo. They discovered the church’s baptismal pool, in which Augustine was baptized by Ambrose. On Sunday, I preached at Chiesa Riformata Filadelfia. Members of the congregation expressed their gratitude for visits from members of Reformed churches in other countries.

From Milan, I traveled to Perugia, which is the largest city in the region of Umbria, northeast of Rome and southeast of Tuscany. Umbria has amazing natural beauty and a tranquil feeling. Andrea Ferrari planted the church in Perugia in 2018. He and his wife Cristina live in a beautiful villa near Lake Trasimeno. Andrea and I visited Assisi. Despite being submerged in the cult of St Francis in his hometown, I resisted the temptation to become a member of a mendicant order. I like steak too much to go begging for food. On Sunday, I preached at Chiesa Riformata di Perugia in the morning and at the nearby congregation Chiesa Riformata del Trasimeno (in Passignano) in the evening. Both congregations are filled with lovely people who are grateful to be part of a confessional Reformed church. Please pray for the Reformation in Europe. Though the spiritual condition of many is dark, the light of the gospel will never go out.

Photo: Ambrose’s baptismal font


RESOURCES

Heidelberg Reformation Association
1637 E. Valley Parkway #391
Escondido CA 92027
USA
The HRA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization


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