Guest / Limited Access /

In deporting thousands of Roma, or Gypsies, to Romania and Bulgaria this summer, France polarized the European Union and focused continent-wide attention on the ethnic minority known for its centuries-old story of discrimination. Fewer know how far the gospel is spreading among them.

"Most people still hate Gypsies, especially in France," said John Boyd, a Roma pastor who works with Light and Life, an international Assemblies of God ministry by and for Roma. "[Yet] revival hasn't stopped. God is calling Gypsies all around the world."

Pentecostalism has spread throughout the worldwide Roma community since the early 1950s. France, the source and center of the main movement, has over 200,000 Pentecostals among perhaps 500,000 Roma, according to Thomas Acton, a professor of Romani studies at the University of Greenwich. Missionary efforts among Roma continue to be fruitful.

In the United Kingdom, Boyd and his fellow ministers host tent missions where groups of Roma converge in a field to hear preaching and teaching. "This summer has been exceptional," he said. "In eight weeks we've seen about 300 people come to faith in Christ."

Such gatherings still attract controversy. One of Boyd's meetings near Cambridge this summer made national headlines. Newspapers featured local residents complaining about the Roma presence and making the same accusations of theft and disruption levied at Roma throughout the centuries. The Daily Mail reported that a local pub barred the outsiders.

"Frankly, I'm glad. We're against drinking," said Boyd, who rejected the media's description and said police didn't report any real problems with the villagers.

René ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueSuicide Mission
Subscriber Access Only Suicide Mission
Jamie Tworkowski’s nonprofit shows love to self-destructive teens.
RecommendedThe Real St. Patrick
The Real St. Patrick
A look at the famous saint, and his strategic missions.
TrendingRussia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Russia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Group gives Protestants competition for souls, but also an ally on religious freedom.
Editor's PickFrom Kuyper to Keller: Why Princeton’s Prize Controversy Is So Ironic
From Kuyper to Keller: Why Princeton’s Prize Controversy Is So Ironic
Former winner explains how the seminary honor that once brought the Reformed community together is now splitting it.
Christianity Today
Christianity Thrives among 'Gypsies' Despite Prejudice
hide thisNovember November

In the Magazine

November 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.