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Monday, March 06, 2006

UPDATE FOR JANUARY 2006

For the Fowlers, 2005 shines as a good year for moving among the churches with our publications and making new acquaintances among the brethren. In fact, we attended eight conventions in Italy and visited in homes from Velletri to Lecce, from Calabria to Florence, from Prato and Aprilia to Terracina.


Why all this convention-going?
We are building credibility among the brethren. We long to meet our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we want them to know us. Over the years, in fact, unfounded rumors have been spread in Italy about the beliefs and practices of churches of Christ and Christian churches. Such stories have prejudiced the minds of many against us too. Some of the rumors were simply misinformation about the difference between churches of Christ and the Disciples of Christ. To “protect their flocks,” some leaders categorized us as belonging to this latter denomination with all of its problems. We were “damned by association”, when, in reality, we had no association with either their doctrines or practices. Accordingly, they put us and our coworkers in a class that actually maligned us. Some of us have been classed as “charismatics” too. Our point in attending conventions is to help, as many of these dear people as possible, to drop the prejudice and get on with the business of evangelizing Italy together. We long for them to know that we are not “the enemy” they feared.

How are we going about healing the rift?
Books say what we really think about spiritual questions. There may be only limited time for conversations at the conventions, but books continue to speak even later and longer.

So, we request permission to set up a display of our books and booklets at the conventions. Enid not only prints and binds the books, but she is also in charge of the book display. (We make no profit; we request only the replacement cost of the material.)

Our host at one convention commented: “