Italy: Feeling at Home Because of the Gospel

By: Hyland Justice

In March 2018, a group of my fellow Atlantans and I had the opportunity to meet René Breuel, a City to City (CTC) church planter from Rome, Italy, when he visited Atlanta. One couldn’t help but get excited about his church, the baptism of new believers he’s seeing, and two new sister churches that have been started through his church. His story touched all those who heard it in Atlanta and truly makes CTC’s mission come to life.

My husband, Hal, and I traveled to Rome this October and had the opportunity to worship at René’s church, Hopera. After pulling up to a small theatre, Theatro Delle Muse, the Hopera sign in the front confirmed we were in the right place. More telling than the sign, the warm greeting we received told us that we were amongst fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

We walked into the building lobby where we found René and his wife Sarah. René was incredibly hospitable and emailed us a PDF file of the morning’s sermon in English, which he would be preaching in Italian.

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We then made our way into the theatre, sat down and were kindly greeted again by another church leader. The service started, and the contemporary band started to play. The worship song leader smiled from ear to ear as he sang in Italian and clapped to the beat. We felt right at home!

Announcements were made, and we were even introduced to the congregation! When the sermon started, we learned the message was from Revelation, and the PDF we had been emailed earlier allowed us to follow along despite the fact Hal and I don’t understand more than a few words of Italian!

Throughout the message, René used the visual of a large chair, which sat onstage with him. The chair represented a throne, and René laid material items on it as a challenge to congregants to consider the items we selfishly cling to and place on our “thrones” every day.

Before the sermon ended, there was a time of prayer, and everyone in the church huddled together in groups of two and three individuals. It was a beautiful, real image of the body of Christ in action.

As the service concluded and Hal and I headed into the city for a day of sightseeing, we felt a great sense of encouragement for our faith journey. It was such a gift to see God’s work in the larger and broader context of the worldwide Christian family!


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Hyland Justice is a Development Associate for City to City and lives in Atlanta - which she’s called home for 38 years. She and her husband, Hal, attend Peachtree Presbyterian Church, have three adult children and enjoy having friends and family over for dinner while Hal cooks!