Torre Pellice (Turin), August 31, 2018- “This Synod began with two actions of prayer and solidarity: towards migrants and towards the victims and displaced persons of Genoa. No priority on the basis of nationality, ethnicity, identity, but priorities only according to need, priority to the neighbor knocking on our door”, said Pastor Eugenio Bernardini, reconfirmed as moderator of the Waldensian Board for the seventh (and last mandate) consecutive year, by the Synod of the Methodist and Waldensian churches gathered in Torre Pellice from 26 to 31 August. In the speech that closed the proceedings of the synodal assembly, the moderator remarked: “We are a church, we speak like a church, we act like a church. And a church is, by definition, called to freedom (Galatians 5,13)”. Bernardini then cited some clear and unequivocal positions on migration in “extraordinary ecumenical convergence”, such as the message sent to the Synod by Pope Francis and the joint declaration “Europe must return to defend human rights” signed with the President of the German Evangelical Church of Hessen-Nassau region, Volker Jung. Regarding the sociological research within the churches, the moderator used the words of the Methodist pastor Henry Carter (1911): “Numerical evaluations are insufficient when we have to consider spiritual values”. ”This is our Protestant approach – Bernardini continued – : realism on the one hand, willingness to face the situations, but on the other, also hope of being able to reverse the trend of our ‘stable degrowth’. Our words, the words of the church – the moderator concluded – must be and remain an expression of the gospel of grace and liberation of Christ, expression of a culture capable of including, protecting, promoting and integrating above all those who are most exposed, humiliated, trampled. Whoever they are, men or women”.
At the closing of the works, the Synod of the Methodist and Waldensian churches elected, as every year, its administrative bodies. In addition to the moderator, Luca Anziani (vice-moderator); Laura Turchi, Manuela Vinay, Alessandra Trotta, Italo Pons and Greetje van der Veer were elected as members of the Waldensian Board. The Synod reconfirmed the pastor Mirella Manocchio as President of the Methodist Evangelical Churches’ Work in Italy (OPCEMI) and Professor Fulvio Ferrario as Dean of the Waldensian Faculty of Theology.
The Synod closed with the usual Communion worship service at the Temple of Torre Pellice.