Our History

Our history, the history of the church of Acilia, begins in 1984 with the conversion of our sister Narcisa Francisco, known to all by the name of Ming and, two years later, by her husband Angelo Greco. After a period of growth in the church of Ostia, the couple felt the desire to open their home as a point of reference to reach the local people with the good news of the gospel.

For this purpose, they made their hobby room available to hold meetings. The venue could accommodate up to thirty-five people seated.

In agreement with the pastor in charge of Ostia, Therry Hogard, an American missionary who had recently arrived in Rome, was soon involved to collaborate and help in the care of the new believers who were approaching the Lord. In that period the meetings were held in bilingual, Italian-English, also because Hogard did not yet know how to speak Italian well and this fact attracted many foreigners who lived in the neighborhood at that time.

Those meetings took place in an atmosphere of great fervor and God’s blessing descended upon them copiously. Soon, however, the seats in the house were filled quickly and, at times, people would remain outside standing in the doorway listening to the entire time.

From this need was born the desire to find a room that was more spacious.

The first place of worship

There was not yet the idea of ​​forming a church but Angelo, without high expectations, asked the manager of the neighborhood multipurpose center if it would be possible to hold their meetings in that place. To his great amazement of him, he agreed to the request, so that the meetings moved to this shed which, however, for the use for which it was intended, housed various social activities, hobbies, scouts, painting, etc.

It was 1991. Angelo Greco, full of joy, had never stopped taking care of the group, even when Hogard moved to the center of Rome to continue his missionary work among foreigners. The church continued to grow and many were reached by the gospel. The Lord blessed with baptisms of the Holy Spirit, strengthening and consolidating the group. The first water baptisms also took place in that shed.

As time passed, however, new difficulties arose. In fact, sometimes it happened that their meetings overlapped with other activities of the Center such as painting exhibitions or other types of meetings. The difficult coexistence was such that it led the group once again to search for a new place. This time, in via Valeriano Goppe, a place was identified that seemed to be ideal for their needs also because it had a room for Sunday school and accommodated over sixty people. In the meantime, we learned of another available location, in Via Saponara, which was much larger. In fact, it could accommodate up to 120 people, including two small rooms for Sunday school. It seemed like God’s answer for the small group but it was growing rapidly. Those years are remembered as among the most beautiful of the small mission: the Lord consoled, worked, and blessed the faithful in every way. With the presidency of his brother Fragnito, the new place was dedicated to the Lord in 1998.

However, Angelo felt compelled to continue serving the Lord in the Gideon International Ministry and was unable to reconcile the new assignment with the responsibility of a pastorate.

Some brothers, a couple from Ostia, Luca, and Sara Cotroneo collaborated in the work until 2005. However, when the couple decided to move to a new mission in Liguria, the mission was closed as there were no leaders available to take on the task.

A strange phone call

The continuation of the story is told by Angelo Greco himself, when in 2015 he received a strange phone call from the son of the owner of the restaurant in Via Saponara asking him if in case they were interested in doing something with those premises they had once used.

“Without knowing what to think, I replied that I would talk about it to the church council of Ostia and that if necessary I would call him back to give a certain answer. That same evening during the meeting, by chance, his brother Emanuele Venditti was also present. All the councilors were interested in reopening a mission in Acilia but once again the problem of not being able to identify a person to whom to entrust the responsibility was raised.

At a certain point, he almost involuntarily said to the pastor that he had raised the issue: “You have one here in front of you”, referring to his brother Emanuele.

We need a pastor

In reality, I knew that Emanuele had expressed several times in the past his unwillingness to become a pastor when that evening I asked him as a joke: “Would Emanuele be willing to take care of him?” I didn’t expect his response at all, which was: “If it’s the Lord’s will, why not?”

Only later did Emanuele tell me that in all those years God had worked on his heart and that he had developed a willingness for that type of service that he had always refused. That evening, in fact, he realized that the Lord himself had put it before him and that for this reason, he could not refuse again.

The place in via Saponara was dedicated again to the Lord and when the mission opened we returned to see and enjoy everything we had left behind ten years earlier.

In 2018 the growth in children attending Sunday school was exponential and the place began to become very small.

So it was that we had to implement a new change of location, and thus we landed in via dei Balsadella on 28 February of that year, the day of the dedication.

From that day Eben Ezer became the mission of Acilia, Chiesa Hesed, and we are convinced that it is the Lord who carries out this work.

Maybe this church will once again be a starting point for something bigger, I don’t know. We certainly want to continue working, preaching, and putting into practice the gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ which is the bread of salvation for each of us.”

The story continues…