While Europe has become the most secular continent in the world, many millions of people remained committed to or strongly influenced by Roman Catholicism. In half of the countries where EMF works, Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion, and often forms a part of national identity - but there are major variations across these countries. Evangelicals and Roman Catholics may well agree on many moral and ethical issues, for example, on abortion or the role of the family. But do evangelicals share the same gospel with Roman Catholics, and if not, how do evangelicals go about sharing the gospel?
In the UK we are used to having a rich spectrum of good Christian literature at our fingertips or at the click of a mouse. Many great writers from centuries of evangelical learning, insight and experience, made accessible to us at low cost in our own language. And such literature not only has transformed the history of the UK, but continues to do so. But what about mainland Europe? In many countries, freedom for evangelical Christians is a relatively recent thing and there is no history of Bible-centred authors. What resources are there to help churches? Come and find out from two men who have devoted their lives to publishing.
In Thessaloniki, Antonis & Viki Topaloglou would normally reach out to people with the gospel through the Kypseli community centre. But this has not been possible since March. Antonis has found other ways to share the gospel, for example, through a new podcast and YouTube streaming session.
Similarly, in Portugal, Rogério Ramos has been turning to streaming of services and other events, both to minister to his congregation in Sines, and to reach out - and has seen many more people coming under the sound of God's word through this. This session is intended for Antonis and Rogério to share their experiences, and also to have a wider discussion about the lessons which can be learnt through this time of confinement.
Europe is often overlooked as a mission field, with so much outward semblance of Christianity. But in reality, Europe is perhaps the neediest continent on earth with respect to the gospel, with many countries like Poland having no evangelical witness at all in the majority of towns and cities. We'll be joined by two missionaries from mainland Europe, Volodymyr Kostyshyn (Ternopil, Ukraine) and Andrew Birch (Palma, Majorca). We hope to make this an interactive and informative session.
In these days, which have become weeks and will perhaps become months, we have been absorbed and sometimes overwhelmed by the tide of information and emotions related to the coronavirus. From an initial phase in which it seemed a far-off problem and a matter of prayer for China and the east, to a second phase in which it became an Italian problem but limited to just a few people and certain geographical areas, to today where it is something that has upset our lives on a national and European scale. People are scared and there is fear and suspicion of your neighbour. You have to stay isolated, but at the same time there is a great need for comfort and support from one another. As a church, how can we live the gospel in practice in these days? Stefano and Jennifer Mariotti are missionaries with the European Mission Fellowship in Budrio, Italy.