How Moderator Eugenio Bernardini set the tone for this year’s Waldensian and Methodist Synod
“North and South are now living together in our cities, in our ecclesiastical assemblies and in our ecumenical bodies. We have been experiencing an epoch-defining change. It is a change that requires us to recalibrate our cultural norms and assumptions,” said Eugenio Bernardini, who was just reelected Moderator of the Waldensian Tavola for the sixth consecutive year by the Waldensian and Methodist Synod.
In the concluding speech at Synod, Moderator Bernardini reaffirmed, “We can no longer conceive ourselves as existing outside an ecumenical, international and intercultural context. Protestants ‘invented’ ecumenism at the end of the Nineteenth Century; today we are more aware than ever before that we Christians cannot live our Christian faith without recognizing that we do not have an exclusive claim to being Christians. We need to value the gifts of God that are present in other churches, to promote collaboration between churches, to practice fraternity and to welcome constructive and reciprocal correction.”
In particular, Moderator Bernardini lifted up the example of Pope Francis “who has given an example of how Christians can observe the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation by setting aside schism and division and by examining together our shared journey as Christians.”
In its final day, the Synod elected the other members of its executive board or Tavola. In addition to the Moderator, Eugenio Bernardini, and the Vice-Moderator, Luca Anziani, five others–Jens Hansen, Italo Pons, Laura Turchi, Greetje van der Veer and Manuela Vinay–were also elected to the Tavola.
The Synod also confirmed Mirella Manocchio as president of the Methodist Board and professor Fulvio Ferrario as dean of the Waldensian Faculty of Theology. The Synod ended with a communion service at the Waldensian church in Torre Pellice.
The Synod, which is the most inclusive governing body for the Waldensian and Methodist churches in Italy, held its annual meeting in Torre Pellice, near Turin, August 20-25, 2017.
This article originally was published by the American Waldensian Society, which was represented at the synod by Professor Carol Bechtel of Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan.