The United Methodist Church in Albania’s first national church convention provided a time of fellowship for about 140 participants from Elbasan, Durrës, Pogradec and Tirana.
On July 2, the day after the convention, the first United Methodist worship was held in the first United Methodist church in Durrës.
The theme of the convention was “Fellowship,” and the participants took part in various fellowship activities, including hiking, gathering forest fruits, sports and music.
The Rev. Wilfried Nausner, superintendent of Albania and Macedonia, stressed that fellowship can be particularly experienced in love because love expresses itself in sharing.
Rigels Kasmollari from Tirana emphasized the formative nature of the event.
“For many students from Tirana, this day was a good opportunity to get to know themselves, other people and God in a new way — close to nature and as part of a sustaining fellowship,” Kasmollari said.
The July 2 service at Durrës United Methodist Church was attended by about 23 people. The service was held in a three-room apartment that had been rented by the church to house services, fellowship and children’s ministry.
Worshippers were mainly church members who, together with their families, had moved to Durrës some years ago. There also was a small group of worshippers from Tirana United Methodist Church.
“Our church members are so happy that a place could be found where they can encounter God, where they can encourage one another on their respective faith journeys, and where they can share joys and sorrows,” said Gjergji Lushka, a student of theology who is responsible for the new church and particularly for leading the worship services.
A church member described the current and future development of The United Methodist Church in Albania. “Our church is like a strawberry plant: On the one hand, green surfaces are created at dry places by the new offspring. On the other hand, and more important, the plant bears fruit,” said Saip Biba, a 62-year-old taxi driver from Elbasan United Methodist Church.
The leaders of the church in Albania hope that the presence of the church in this country’s second largest city will be a contribution toward the transformation of the local society.
This story was compiled by Rigels Kasmollari, Gjergji Lushka and Urs Schweizer.