As theological debates on sexuality and marriage become more and more central, many Christian denominations are being asked to clarify their views.
Ministries and churches attended a special summit five days after the tragedy. 40 organisations aggree to “coordinate the efforts in order to bring together into a single stream the various initiatives.”
Five days after the dramatic earthquake that destroyed several villages and killed 294 people in Central Italy, 70 people representing 40 national and international evangelical organisations gathered together in Borbona, nearby Amatrice, the most devastated village by the earthquake of August 24th.
“When the media attention will decrease, and the emotional wave will fade, only a commitment before God will be able to produce perseverance in the action for the glory of God”, the group representing a big proportion of the Italian evangelical world said in a statement after meeting on Monday 29th August.
The urgent summit had been convened by the Italian Evangelical Alliance (AEI), the Federation of Pentecostal Churches in Italy (FCP) and Coevema (an evangelical relief agency), “in a spirit of Christian fellowship and passion to act together.”
A DESIRE TO UNITE ALL EVANGELICAL EFFORTS
During the meeting, AEI President Giacomo Ciccone reported on the evangelical witness in the region affected by the earthquake, and Coevema representatives (President Pietro Evangelista, operations manager Alberto Di Stefano, and adviser Sergio D'Ascenzo) illustrated the successful experience of this platform created in the aftermath of the 2009 earthquake, and which has continued its activity since.
The assembly aimed to offer solutions after the earthquake. “The participants agreed that it is not useful to act in randomly or in disjointed order, with the consequent marginalization of the interventions.”
“It is rather convenient to coordinate the efforts in order to bring together into a single stream the various initiatives, to be more incisive in the aid and bringing the comforting Word of God and show the Way of salvation”, the assembly agreed.
“PERSEVERANCE IN THE ACTION”
Concrete actions planned include “psychological support, training, support and outreach aimed at the children, as well as at the elderly people, in camps, schools and in the mid-term accommodation.”
There was also a commitment to “gradually engage in development and reconstruction.”
“When the media attention will decrease, and the emotional wave will fade, only a commitment before God will be able to produce perseverance in the action for the glory of God”, the representatives believe.
A PUBLIC COMMITMENT
After the moving testimony of Lucio Toppi, a man who survived the earthquake, Pastor Agostino Masdea expressed appreciation on behalf of the FCP for the initiative of fraternal cooperation, while Matthew Swenson offered the full support of Samaritan's Purse.
The meeting ended with the subscription of a joint statement, the ‘Borbona Commitment’, quoted below.
The Borbona Commitment
We, servants of our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ, called by our Heavenly Father to perform various Christian services within the evangelical ministries and organizations that we represent, gathered together, today, at Borbona, Italy, in the area that has been terribly hit by the earthquake of August 24, 2016, being led by the Holy Spirit to commit ourselves in favor of the population of these valleys.
As Italian God’s people we repent in front of the throne of the Most High as we realize we have not put significant efforts toward the expansion of His Kingdom in various areas of our Country, including this land that connects the Lazio and Marche regions.
We are aware that sometimes we have not been as effective as we should have, due to the fact that we operated on our own, isolated from our brethren.
Nevertheless, today, being touched in our deepest inner heart by the need of help, rebirth and salvation of this land, in conformity with the biblical principles expressed in the Lausanne Covenant of 1974, we wish to commit ourselves, according to our own callings and possibilities, to contribute to the realization of the projects and actions that Coevema Onlus will put together and coordinate in this area for the population, to the glory of Christ.
Borbona (RI), Italy, 29th August 2016.
The following national and international churches and missions signed the Commitment: Samaritan's Purse, USA; Operation Mobilisation, OM Italia; ReachGlobal, USA; International Mission Board, IM Osterreich, Austria; World Concerne, USA; Chiesa Apostolica in Italia; Esercito della Salvezza; Congregazioni Pentecostali in Italia; Chiesa pentecostale Rumena in Italia; Chiesa della Riconciliazione; Cristo è la Risposta; Remar Italia; ACP Italia, Torino; ACS Italia, Catania; Youth for Christ Italia, Bologna; Associazione di Volontariato Tabita, Castelvolturno (NA); Missione “Tabita”, Roma; Associazione Kyrios, Roma; Mani per donare, Roma; Centro Cristiano Il Buon Samaritano, Città S.Angelo (PE); Associazione culturale Controcorrente, Pescara; Chiesa “Lieto Messaggio”, Pescara; Chiesa Evangelica Galed, Vasto (CH); Chiesa Evangelica Soli Deo Gloria, Spoltore (PE); Chiesa Evangelica, Isola del Gran Sasso (TE); Chiesa Evangelica CERBI, Chieti Scalo (CH); Chiesa Battista di Trastevere, Roma; Chiesa Evangelica Alfa & Omega, Roma; Chiesa Evangelica, Ostia (RM); Chiesa Evangelica della Vera Vite, Montefiascone (VT); Chiesa Evangelica Pentecostale, Torre Angela (RM); Chiesa Cristiana Missionaria Internazionale, Rieti; Chiesa Evangelica Italiana, Castelvolturno (NA); Chiesa Evangelica Il Faro I.B.C., Castelvolturno (NA); Chiesa Alleanza Cristiana Missionaria, Roma; Impatto Italia, Bologna; Italian Ministries, Budrio (BO); REM Rete Evangelica in Missione, Milano; Emergenza & Amore Associazione Onlus, Genova.