News bulletin of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy-Dec. 2013
Pluralism: “Religions for integration” promoted by Minister Kyenge
Rome (NEV), December 31, 2013 – “Diversity is a value and anyone of us must be culturally interested in others”. This is what the Minister for integration Cècile Kyenge declared on December 4, opening the new organism of dialogue between representatives of various religions promoted by the Minister herself. The meeting took place in the Hall of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in Rome and saw the participation, among others, of a delegation of the Federation of Protestant Churches (FCEI), which included Pastor Massimo Aquilante, FCEI’s president, Paolo Naso, Coordinator of the Study Commission of FCEI, and Gianmario Gillio, in charge for FCEI’s external relations. President Massimo Aquilante recalling that FCEI has been engaged for years in various activities in favour of the integration of migrants, expressed his appreciation for Minister Kyenge’s new initiative of dialogue between Institutions and faith communities.
Pentecostals: The 5th Assembly of the Pentecostal Federation in Castel Volturno
Rome (NEV), December 31, 2013 – From December 5 to 7 in Castel Volturno (Caserta) took place the 5th General Assembly of the Federation of Pentecostal Churches (FCP). About 150 pastors, churches’ delegates and guests met to evaluate the work of the FCP’s Council – chaired by Pastor Remo Cristallo – and most of all to define future priorities regarding the issues of the ethnical Pentecostal churches in Italy, the FCP’s role in the evangelical witness in Italy and the recognition of ministries. Particularly large was the presence of representatives of the whole Italian evangelism, both historical and of the awakening. There were in fact: pastor Massimo Aquilante, president of the Federation of Protestant Churches (FCEI), pastor Eugenio Bernardini, moderator of the Waldensian Board, pastor Raffaele Volpe, president of the Christian Evangelical Baptist Union in Italy (UCEBI), pastor Davide Romano of the Italian Union of the 7th Day Adventist Churches (UICCA) and pastor Roberto Mazzeschi of the Italian Evangelical Alliance (AEI). FCP’s president, Remo Cristallo, made – to this respect – the interesting proposal of the constitution of a Forum of the Italian evangelical world.
A qualifying aspect of the assembly was the round table on the theme “The Pentecostal movement in Italy and the FCP role” to which participated Paolo Naso (political expert) and Pino Schirripa (anthropologist) – both teaching at the University “La Sapienza” in Rome – and the sociologist Pino Lucà Trombetta of the University of Bologna. For the first time experts external to the Pentecostal world spoke to an audience of Pentecostal ministries: this made it possible to explore some prejudices on both sides.
Mandela: Italian Protestants mourn and remember
Rome (NEV), December 31, 2013 – “When I heard of his death the first thing which occurred to my mind was what Jesus said regarding the love for the enemies and his invitation to be merciful as God the Father is”, said Baptist pastor Massimo Aprile in the TV Program “Protestantesimo” dedicated to Nelson Mandela who disappeared last December 5. Quoting the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley “I thank whatever God for my untamed soul”, Massimo Aprile stated that “Mandiba” represented just that untamed soul able to resist with perseverance to the apartheid regime and to the poison of hate.
Also the opening article of the weekly “Riforma” dated December 13, is dedicated to Nelson Mandela. Here Febe Cavazzutti Rossi remembers that the Methodist schools attended by young Mandela were “a laboratory of Christian preaching on human rights where he learned political introspection and legal instruments”. “To create a new South Africa – continues Cavazzutti Rossi – he looked for inspiration to church leader Desmond Tutu, his close friend and Anglican bishop, naming him president of the Commission for national reconciliation. Mandela saw in national reconciliation the only possibility for a bloodless future. He remains in history a bright example of hope for many nations”.
“I’m Italy too”: The national Campaign for citizenship rights grows European
Rome (NEV), December 31, 2013 – On the occasion of December 18th, International Migrants Day, the promoters of the national Campaign for citizenship rights “I’m Italy too” – among whom the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI) – launched the European Campaign ‘I’m Europe too’ in view of the next election of the European Parliament. In Rome a meeting was sponsored by the Ministry of Integration with the title “To migrate from emergency to citizenship”, in which Minister Cécile Kyenge took part. “The meeting was also the occasion – said Franca Di Lecce, director of the Migrants and Refugees Service (SRM) of FCEI – to make a serious evaluation over the past year during which many migrants have lost their lives at the European borders, while those who survived are humiliated and offended in detention centres”. Among other participants also the director of the Italian Office of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Luigi Cal, who put at the core of the discussion the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, a Convention from 1990 which has been signed up to now by 47 nations, but by no European country.
Solidarity: In full swing the Salvation Army’s winter relief
Rome (NEV), December 31, 2013 – The Salvation Army distributes every day 270 meals in the city of Rome for a total of 12 thousand during the winter season. This is what sergeant Massimo Cosentino, in charge of the “Winter Relief” project of the Roman section of the Salvation Army, declared to NEV press agency. Every year salvationists and volunteers are engaged in helping needy people in cooperation with other associations. Unfortunately because of the economical crisis the number of needy foreigners and Italians has considerably increased, most of all for the lack of work. The Salvation Army “Winter relief” is carried out also in Turin and Naples.
Last December 16th the first report of the Association “Carta di Roma” was presented with the title “News out of the choir”. The Association, born in 2011, intends to implement the protocol signed by the National Board of Journalists (CNOG) and the National Federation of the Italian Press (FNSI) for a correct information about migration issues. The report pointed out how the theme of migration is slowly moving from single news-items to deeper discussions over rights and the need of social changes. Among the members of the Association “Carta di Roma” also the Federation of Protestant Churches (FCEI) represented by Franca Di Lecce, director of the Migrants and Refugees Service (SRM).
The Christian Evangelical Baptist Union of Italy (UCEBI) prepared a booklet regarding the Baptist churches’ program of friendship and solidarity in favour of the people of Zimbabwe, developed during the past seven years. Among the projects carried out by the program the realization of wells to provide safe drinking water to hundreds of people, the support to a hospital serving thousands of patients, the help to 320 children through distance adoptions and the set of a tailoring for a group of widows. Click here for more.