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RCM's History in Italy
RCM's work in Italy began effectively in 1995, but God's providence was at work long before this time. Shortly after he became a Christian in 1974, Geoffrey Donnan became aware of the work of a former Roman Catholic Archpriest, Dr. Franco Maggiotto, who was then living in England. Newsletters about his work were received from The Sowers spearheaded by Rev. Cameron Fraser, a Scottish born minister living in Canada whose brother-in-law was involved in helping Franco return to Italy. Several times, Geoff Donnan wrote to Franco, but his letters were apparently not received or not responded to. After living in Suriname, the letters about Franco from Canada ceased. And with the busy-ness of the work in Suriname, the connection was lost.
During this same time, then communist Giorgio Modolo and his family migrated to Canada to get out of Italy and be with Giorgio's mother who had lived there for some years. Eventually, he was converted to Christ and he and his family were baptized. (See the whole story.) They met up with the Poettckers, who some years later joined RCM. Upon the Modolo's return to Italy, they raised their children in the Reformed faith despite the lack of Reformed churches in the country.
In 1994, Rev. Poettcker joined with RCM and went to Suriname for his tour of service. During this time, the Modolos back in Italy supported the Poettcker's work in Suriname.
In 1995, while on the missions committee of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Rev. Donnan and Missions Pastor Mickey Raia (now retired) mused about the need for Coral Ridge to support the work of some indigenous missionaries. As it turned out, again providentially, Pastor Raia indicated that he had met an Italian missionary who was a former Roman Catholic priest who was serving in Italy. It only took a few moments to realize that they were both thinking about the same person, Dr. Franco Maggiotto. At the same time, Rev. Fraser in Canada was trying to reach Rev. Donnan, whose ministry he had followed for many years, to ask if he would assist in raising funds for Franco in Italy since his Canadian organization neither had charity status in Canada and also had no way of helping him in the United States. As a result of this, it was arranged that on an upcoming trip to Canada, Franco would take a trip down to Florida and speak at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. This took place early in 1995. During this time, arrangements had been discussed with Franco for Reformation Christian Ministries to represent his needs in the U.S. and Canada.
Once this connection was made, Rev. Poettcker began putting Rev. Donnan in contact with Giorgio Modolo about the work of Franco in Italy. But it was not till 2004 that Rev. Donnan and his wife during a ministry trip to Italy, were able to spend a weekend in Vittorio Veneto (north of Venice) with the Modolos. That meeting eventually led to the introduction of Andrea Modolo (Giorgio's son) and Piera, a member of Franco's church in 2004. (Read the whole story).
Visits with them brought contact between the Modolos in the east and Franco Maggiotto in the west of Italy, and eventually led to the marriage of Andrea Modolo (son of Giorgio) and Piera, a member of Franco's church in 2004.
Between 1995 and 2006, many trips were made by Dr. Franco Maggiotto to the U.S. and Canada and by Rev. Donnan and others from RCM to Italy. The work of Dr. Maggiotto was very foundational at paving the way for more and more religious freedom for Protestants in Italy. It also led to the establishing of several churches in Finale Ligure and Alpignano, both of which continue to the present.
Both Andrea and Giorgio have longed to be of service to the Lord in Italy, being native Italians, and so along with Franco Maggiotto, RCM sought to find ways in which it might help all these people who were committed to the Reformtion of Italy, to be used of the Lord to that end. After moving to Turin and later Alpignano, Andrea began studying theology under Franco and began filling in for him in preaching either when he was out of town or ill. In 2005, Franco developed Leukemia, and by December 2006, Franco went home to glory.
At this point in time, Andrea, along with some others from Franco's church, was asked to fill in for preaching there. He then decided to enter into a serious pursuit of the pastoral ministry by studying through RCM's Reformation International Theological Seminary (RITS) under the mentorship of "uncle" Rudy Poettcker, who also is Dean of Studies for RITS.
At the same time, Giorgio decided that if he was ever going to see a Reformed church started in their area of Italy, it would have to start before he got too old. So, they began what is now called Christ the King Reformed Church (Chiesa Riformata di Cristo Re) in Vittorio Venetto, with a small group of two to three families.
After the death of Franco Maggiotto, the Lord brought to the front plans that had been developing along side of the assistance that we sought to provide for Franco's ministry. That has now developed into an extensive translation and website ministry which intends to be launched sometime by the end of 2009 or before. This website will include the Good News Bible Study in Italian, along with the Westminster Confessional standards and the Three Forms of Unity. Its purpose will be to introduce the Reformed faith and the concept of Reformation (and important concern for many Italians) based upon a Christian foundation to Italians in their own language. We have Bible courses that can be taken on-line and intend to have quite a few articles and resources available to them. We intend to work as much as possible with any church that holds to the true Gospel (as defined by the historic Reformed confessions).
For more information, visit the left side of this window for more options. Also check out our Italy Reports.