NEV – December 2014 from the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI)
* Mediterranean Hope. The ‘House of Cultures’ becomes operative
* Prisons/1. Italian protestants celebrated the Sunday of “broken chains”
* Prisons/2. Opened in Florence ‘Casa Giunia’, a flat to welcome former women prisoners
* Migrants. The campaign ‘I’m Italy too’ relaunches the debate about citizenship rights
* Rights. ACAT Italia’s prize against torture and capital punishment
Mediterranean Hope. The ‘House of Cultures’ becomes operative
Rome (NEV), December 31, 2014 – With the meeting ‘Europe and the Mediterranean region: religions, cultures, dialogue’ which took place in Scicli (Sicily) last December 12, the Mediterranean Hope (MH) project of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI) entered a new stage which foresees two different levels of intervention: the Observatory on the Mediterranean migration in Lampedusa and the House of Cultures opened in the town of Scicli (South Sicily). This is what pastor Massimo Aquilante, FCEI’s president, affirmed while explaining the project, financed mainly by the Methodist and Waldensian churches’ 8 per thousand funds. Other funds come from foreign protestant churches, first the German churches of Westfalia.
Pastor Aquilante also underlined the importance of the European churches’ participation as a testimony – beyond European Governments – of the solidarity of another Europe which understands that migration is not a problem to be left only to Italy.
Among the participants to the meeting, in addition to several experts on migration themes, pastors Ulrich Moeller and Samuel Amedro, respectively, from the German and Moroccan protestant churches. The activity of the ‘House of Cultures’ will be integrated with the reception of ‘vulnerable’ individuals sent by the Ragusa Prefect’s Office and by the Municipality of Pozzallo, where in this period the major number of arrivals is registered. At present there are almost twenty people hosted in the house, mostly unaccompanied children.
Prisons/1. Italian protestants celebrated the Sunday of “broken chains”
Rome (NEV), December 31, 2014 – For the second Advent Sunday (this year December 7), with the title ‘broken chains’, a special liturgy was proposed by the Working group on prisons of the Federation of Protestants Churches in Italy (FCEI), to the member churches. Target of the initiative – explained pastor Francesco Sciotto, coordinator of the FCEI’s Working group – is to reflect and pray on the issue of prisons: on those living in prisons, on those employed there, on volunteers, pastors, ministers serving and preaching in this field, on those who are in jail because of persecution or to repair a fault. An occasion to speak about prison and its relationship with society and churches.
On the same date Italian Waldensian and Methodist Churches observed the Sunday of Diakonia, this year dedicated to the support of the ‘House of Pomegranate’ in Florence, a reception center for male prisoners after release and for former prisoners.
Prisons/2. Opened in Florence ‘Casa Giunia’, a flat to welcome former women prisoners
Rome (NEV), December 31, 2014 – On december 4 last, ‘Casa Giunia’ was opened to welcome up to 6 women prisoners after release. The flat has been organized to meet the needs of guests, in a building belonging to the Baptist Church of Borgo Ognissanti in Florence. ‘Casa Giunia’ is part of a larger project promoted by the Intercultural Association of native and migrant women ‘Starting point’. The name ‘Casa Giunia’ comes from a quote of the Apostle Paul in Roman 16:7: ‘Greet Junias, who has been in prison with me’. The project, financed with the 8 per thousand funds of the Methodist and Waldensian Churches, foresees individual programs for the inmates to help them getting out of marginalization and redesigning their life.
Among the guests present to the inauguration, pastor Eugenio Barnardini, moderator of the Waldensian Board; pastor Raffaele Volpe, president of the Christian Evangelical Baptist Union of
Italy (UCEBI) and the guarantor for the Rights of Prisoners of the City of Florence, Eros Croccolini.
Migrants. The campaign ‘I’m Italy too’ relaunches the debate about citizenship rights
Rome (NEV), December 31, 2014 – On occasion of the UN International day for the rights of migrant workers and their families, the campaign ‘I’m Italy too’ promoted, on December 18th last, a meeting with the title: ‘Is a different Country possible?’. The meeting took place at the Chamber of Deputies and started with the greetings of the president Laura Boldrini, followed by the intervention of other institutional representatives.
Three years ago the platform which promoted the campaign for the citizenship rights – including the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI) – deposited in the Italian Parliament two bills, having collected more than 200,000 signatures to support them. The first text introduces the right to vote in administrative elections for foreigners, resident in the Country for more than 5 years. The second proposes a reformation of the citizenship law. There are many young people who are de facto Italians, but they are not entitled to be so: this is just an example of the gap existing between the law which regulates the issue (a law dated 1992) and the real situation. ‘A good law on citizenship should take into account the process of positive transformation of the Italian society in recent years and it is crucial to outline the framework in which to shape the future of our Country’ declared Franca di Lecce, director of the Refugees and Migrants Service (SRM) of FCEI, to the Press Agency NEV.
Rights. ACAT Italia’s prize against torture and capital punishment
Rome (NEV), December 31, 2014 – On December 10, to coincide with the International day for human rights, took place the ceremony to assign the Degree Prize against torture and death penalty proposed by ACAT (Christians Action for the Abolition of Torture) Italia: an event strongly backed by the association to sensitize young people on these issues.
A round table preceded the ceremony with a discussion entirely dedicated to the African Continent entitled “Africa and human rights – The Christians’ engagement’. In line with the ecumenical character of the association, there were many witnesses of people (Catholics and Protestants) committed, in Africa and elsewhere, in the promotion and defense of the inalienable human rights with the aim to reflect and discuss together over what can be done by all Christians in their daily life.
The initiative, at its fifth anniversary, is financed by the 8 per thousand funds of the Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches.
** On Saturday December 3 last, during the yearly assembly of the Association ‘Articolo 21’, the journalistic award ‘Paolo Giuntella’ was assigned, among others, to Gian Mario Gillio, director of the monthly ecumenical magazine ‘Confronti’. “A reward for what done as editor of the magazine in recent years, a position which is coming to an end – said Gian Mario Gillio to the Press agency NEV – but above all an important recognition to the valuable work of all the colleagues and the staff of Confronti-Com Nuovi Tempi, whose activity was able to give voice to the minorities present in our Country”.
** On December 1st, 1979, in Florence, Radio Voce della Speranza (The voice of hope radio – RVS) started its first air broadcasts. An experience born within the Adventist Christian Church. The employees of RVS for this 35th anniversary decided to help to combat Ebola together with the Associations Emergency and ADRA: in fact on December 6th, they organized a feast day to collect funds. Born in a small room, RVS grew over the time increasing the number of listeners and adding new issuers in many Italian towns. Thanks to new technologies today it is possible to listen to the radio all over the world connecting to the website: www.radiovocedellasperanza.it; or to the mobile application: radiovocedellasperanza.it/app-rvs-italy
** In recent days, in Turin, pastor Eugenio Bernardini, moderator of the Waldensian Board, and Stefano Benedetto, manager of the Archives, Museums and Cultural Heritage Service, signed an agreement for the integration between the project ‘Museo Torino’ and the ‘Digital archive of the Waldensian and Methodist heritage and cultural activities (Abacvm)’, a platform studied to assess, classify and promote the cultural heritage of the Waldensian and Methodist churches. ‘Museo Torino’, opened to the public in 2011, is an innovative online project for a virtual and, at the same time, real museum, created to collect, preserve and communicate the knowledge of the town. The convention signed will allow Abacvm to integrate its specific reality into the larger project, through the creation of a web portal which will enable users to dialogue with the various catalogue data.