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Christian Evangelical Baptist Union of Italy

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XVII-XVIII FCEI Assembly. Baptist pastor Luca Maria Negro elected as new president

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Religious freedom, migrants, 500 years Reformation, violence against women among the subjects

Rome (NEV), December 9, 2015 – The XVIII Assembly of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI), held in Pomezia (RM), according to the new statute approved on December 6 and come into force on December 8, elected the Baptist pastor Luca Maria Negro as new president. He succeeds to pastor Massimo Aquilante, at the end of his second and last mandate.

Luca Maria Negro was born in Turin 62 years ago and is the director of the weekly magazine Riforma. He has been pastor in Albano Laziale (Rome), Geneva (Switzerland) and Turin. He started his journalistic career at the then fortnightly ecumenical magazine “Com Nuovi Tempi” to become afterwards director of the monthly magazine “Confronti”. From 1992 to 2001 he was the director of FCEI’s Press Agency ‘NEV – Evangelical News’. From 1995 to 2001 he was FCEI Executive Secretary. Luca Maria Negro was, for nine years, in Geneva (Switzerland) at the Conference of European Churches (CEC), were he served as secretary for communication.

“Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard” (Malachi 3:16); this is the motto chosen for the XVII FCEI Assembly which opened last December 4 in Pomezia (Rome). More than 100 delegates of Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Waldensian Churches, of the Salvation Army and of some free Churches, came from all over Italy to participate in the event. On December 8 at 10 a.m., thanks to the approval of the new statute, the XVII Assembly was closed to be reconstituted immediately after in the first session of the XVIII Assembly which – composed of 25 members – elected the new president and the other executive positions.

Many the acts approved by the Assembly regarding all areas of commitment of the Federation: ecumenical and interfaith dialogue; reception of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers; religious freedom and laity of the State; safeguard of creation; dignity of labor; fight against violence on women; 500th Anniversary of the Reformation on 2017. Furthermore the Assembly voted for the introduction of a Social Report which will allow FCEI to communicate regularly the results of its whole activity beyond the financial and accounting aspects.

The Assembly also approved a comprehensive document on the experience of the ‘Mediterranean Hope’ project, started more than a year ago. A strong condemnation of violence done in the name of religion all over the world, was expressed with a separate motion which also condemns “the identification of foreigners and migrants as potential terrorists” and affirms “strong opposition to the use of Christian symbols to strengthen the Italian identity against others”.

The opening service was held by Methodist pastor George Ennin on Saturday morning, December 5, at the Hotel Selene of Pomezia (Rome). The Assembly was chaired by Sergio Velluto, member of the Waldensian Church of Turin.