EBWU Committee meeting in Rocca di Papa, Italy
21-26 March 2017
Report by Margaret Brown
From 21-26 March 2017, the EBWU Committee had the privilege to spend time in Rocca di Papa, Italy where we were guests of the Movimento Femminile Evangelico Battista (MFEB) staying at the Centro Evangelico Battista. During the five days we were there we enjoyed wonderful hospitality, good food, lovely sunshine and surroundings and made a number of new friends. Most of our time was spent in seeing to our annual business, but we did manage to go to an open-air market in a nearby town and to visit the old medieval town of Nimo, famous for fruit and flowers, and for the Lake La Osa Mayor where the Roman emperor Caligula came to sail his boat. We also visited Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence dating back many centuries.
One day was given over to meeting around twenty of the Italian Baptist women, some of whom had travelled some distance to attend. It was a time of praise and worship, of prayer, of teaching, and of sharing information. Hopefully the Italians were able to know more of the work of EBWU and we were able to know more of what the Italian women are doing. There are about 4,000 Baptists in Italy with around 129 Baptist Churches in Italy and only roughly 32 pastors (9 of whom are from another country) to cover them. Over half of the pastors are female.
Worship was led by Alex Anderson, assisted by Conchetta, an opera singer. Patchwork pieces were used by those in attendance to introduce themselves and where they had come from and their hope for the day.
Ioana Ghilvaciu, pastor of two churches in Sicily, spoke from the book of Ruth about Naomi and Ruth, women of courage and perseverance, also of God’s amazing compassion and provision. Difficulties can be removed; all are welcome to enter and integrate into the great company of saints and become brothers and sisters, bound together by faithfulness, communion and unity. Conchetta sang ‘You raise me up’ and then followed a time of open prayer in response to what Ioana shared from Scripture.
Lucia Tubito, President of the Italian Baptist women, then addressed the meeting sharing some of the history of the Baptist women of Italy. Lydia (I do not have her surname), a pastor from Florence, spoke of the role of women in society and in the church as pioneers, not feminists.
Margaret Brown brought greetings on behalf of EBWU – one for all, all for one. Aniko Ujvari shared some further thoughts from the story of Ruth. We can all have bitterness and struggles in our lives, but the turning point comes when we are in the presence of God and choose His way. She encouraged us to live in the love of God, to trust Him because He has promised us provision, protection, care, peace and love.
Wies Dijkstra spoke of Europe and of the News and Views magazine. Fabienne Seguin’s topic was the finances, where they come from and what they are used for, emphasising the annual Day of Prayer. Synnove Angen gave a brief history of the EBWU and the importance of communication. Didi Oprenova spoke of her role as a vice-president of the Baptist World Alliance. Our time together finished with the singing of ‘Bind us Together’
We had a wonderful day together and certainly knew God’s blessing and presence among us. We as the EBWU Committee had a great time too in Italy and will not forget the kindness and generosity shown to us by our Italian sisters.