WHAT IT IS
Helping the local church to re-imagine the domestic church as a center for community and mission
Marriage is a beautiful thing. It’s a window into the eternal, a signpost pointing to a complete picture of humanity in a wonderfully mysterious union with God. The Scriptures encapsulate this story of self-giving love. Genesis begins with a wedding. Revelation ends with a wedding. It’s no mistake that Jesus, who calls Himself the Bridegroom of the Church, performs his first miracle at a wedding.
If marriage is so significant a sign of God’s love for His people, how might we spark a theological imagination so that the union between husband and wife becomes a carrier of Good News? How can we equip marriages to form not only healthy families, but spiritual communities for all?
These were among the questions asked by Fr. Renzo Bonetti, founder and president of the Famiglia Dono Grande Foundation in Italy. After serving for many years as the Director of the Family Pastoral office for the Italian Episcopal Conference and as consultant for the Pontifical Council for the Family, he went on to develop a ministry to married couples in his parish—the “domestic churches” that make up the local church—and commissioned them to serve as his partners in the re-evangelization of their city through home-based ministry in their neighborhoods. These “Community Families for Evangelization,” led by married couples under the leadership of their local pastor, have since sprung up all over Italy and have become a powerful embodiment of the gospel in a post-Christian society.
The Amore Project seeks to bring this ministry to the United States, a country with its own need for re-evangelization. Ecumenical from the outset, Fr. Bonetti has worked closely with the Rev. Dr. Tory Baucum of Truro Anglican Church to bring this theological teaching and ministry training to married couples in Northern Virginia. The result has been a hopeful vision for Christian marriage that winsomely and lovingly engages the world through hospitality and transparency, even in one of the most polemical cities in America.
In March of 2017, this “hopeful vision” will be shared more broadly at the official launch of The Amore Project in the United States, featuring Christian leaders from Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, and Methodist traditions, to name a few.