At the Salerno Nuova Vietri church

On Sunday we went to the only evangelical church I could discover online in the whole city of Salerno of 135,000 people. If Hutchinson with 15,000 people has need of a dozen, imagine the need in Salerno! Salerno is an important port city south of Naples, and paart of the Allied invasion of Italy took place here. Today, our impression of Salerno as a city is clean, orderly, ‘European’ in the best sense of the word in architecture and presentation. It is a pleasant surprise, equal perhaps to Vancouver. Like Vancouver, there are a variety of activities to pursue. You can swim, sail, dine, fish, and climb on the same day. The rugged mountain skyline is balanced by the lively azure sea.

This restaurant bench is close to being above the church sanctuary

The New Life church was planted about 5 years old by an American, Justin Valiquette who used to serve with Campus Crusade. He has a family with 4 young children and the vision is to reaching italians with the gospel. “New Life exists to see God transform lives and renew the city of Salerno through the good news of Jesus Christ.” Unlike the Brindisi church which seems to be considering outreach to internationals, Justin seems to stay focused on reaching Italians. May the Lord lead the way.

The church logo

Located just off a main downtown boulevard at the end of an alley, we found the church to be a couple of bathrooms upstairs and a stairwell down to the tastefully presented underground sanctuary. The advertised church time is 10:45 and we got there about 10:20.  The coffee bar in the back of the sanctuary was open and the worship team, Justin and a keyboardist, were warming up.

Coffee bar

The place slowly filled up to capacity, with many arriving well after 10:45. Church didn’t actually start until 11:20! They have a sense that people want to come relaxed and with time for fellowship. Whatever cost to the start time seems to be balanced by encouraging engaging conversations. I spent the time talking with a visiting Southern Baptist pastor from Corpus Cristi who is looking for 2-way partnership opportunities with a church like this one in Southern Europe. We also met a Dutch woman who helps with children’s ministry, a Brazilian evangelist who has moved to Salerno, a young American family, and a restaurant owner and his children who are regulars.

Worship team: Pastor Justin and a woman on keyboard

Church service began with maybe 6 familiar worship songs and then the evangelist read the scripture, Isaiah 65. The entire service was in Italian. I probably only was able to catch 15% of his words but here is my attempt at summarizing the message. The Lord has made himself known (1 & 2) and available among the people He is calling to Himself. There are two responses to His Person: one group (2 – 5) was afraid of Him, was idolatrous, defied Him, sinning in His presence. The crescendo of their choice is their destruction (11-15). The other group, the result of His mercy and will, chose to serve and honor Him. Their crescendo is to be honored and blessed in His presence. The gap between the two responses is infinitely wide. But until the day the Lord brings His judgment, the gap is potentially bridged by the power of the cross: anyone can be saved today by grace alone through faith alone in Christ (he used Ephesians 2:8-9). On the day of the Lord’s judgment, the gap is permanently, infinitely wide.

Closing song

The gospel is being preached and Jesus lifted up in Salerno.

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3 thoughts on “At the Salerno Nuova Vietri church

  1. I noticed that the restaurant bench you were sitting on is conveniently in front of a sailboat. With an Icthus on it, no less.

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    • Absolutely. You’d also be interested to know above our bed here is a full rigged ship under full sail, and on the adjacent wall is the Lord’s Supper. God always goes ahead of us.

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  2. Sorry to hear you are still having problems, Kim called to make sure someone was praying even as you were leaving for the hospital, Spark and I were in prayer even as you were heading for doctor. We live in quite a world when we can get information right as things are happening. We were glad to hear your pastor was able to reach you and able to translate for additional help. We keep you in our prayers.
    Guess who just showed up at our door for Halloween? Kind of a rainy damp night but here was Harley Mom and Nurse.
    He was dressed as a black cat, with a mask his grandparents had gotten in Italy for him. We were able to tell him about how sick you were and asked him if he would pray for you. He has come here every year except the year he was in the hospital for Halloween. In fact, he would not be in Sunday school if it had not been for his showing up at our house so we could tell him about our Sunday school class.
    Hope things settle down for you. We are praying!
    Donna and Spark

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