News bulletin of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy–September 2014

News bulletin of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy–September 2014

news update from #Italy

Mediterranean Hope: In Sicli a training course for the project operators

The two themes of the training course organized by the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI), were the experiences of hospitality and the organization of the centres receiving the recent months flows of migrants from the Mediterranean sea.

The meeting was held in Scicli (Ragusa) where the opening of a hospitality centre is foreseen shortly within the project Mediterranean Hope financed by the 8 per thousand funds of the Methodist and Waldensian Churches. The operators of the project were also involved in the organization commemorations of the massacre of October 3rd, 2013 when, just a few miles from the island coasts, 366 migrants died. Aim of this initiative – underlined pastor Massimo Aquilante, president of FCEI – is to keep alive the information on the tragedy that takes place daily, and the mobilization of European and International Churches for the adoption of humanitarian measures to ensure lives and rights of migrants and asylum seekers.

Mediterranean Hope: The Lampedusa Festival

Also this year, from 25 to 30 of September, took place the “Lampedusa Festival”  – at its 6th edition – organized by the cooperative Askavusa which has been for years a strong and clear witness over several relevant topics, first of all the theme of migration.

“A small communitarian festival for migration, responsible tourism and tales from sea” this is how the event was described in its official website (

The organization of the Festival went together with the sad reflection over the bodies count of recent weeks in the Mediterranean sea: more than 1400 people. More than 2000 since the beginning of the year. The solidarity that Mediterranean Hope – the FCEI project supported by the 8 per thousand of the Methodist and Waldensian Churches – wants to bring to these brothers and sisters, starts from the principle that solidarity erases fear and from the conviction that these victims died for a precise political choice of which Europe, and its migration policy, is responsible no less than those who forced these people to flee from their land.

School year 2014-15:  Alternative Activities to the Teaching of the Catholic Religion?

School has started and this year its beginning coincided with the opening of the school consultation proposed by the Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, and the Minister of Education, Stefania Giannini: from September 15 to November 15, students, teachers, administrators, parents, experts are invited to get involved in the change of the school. Many are the initiatives of the Government (two reference sites to know more: to bring back the School foreseen by the Italian Constitution to the core of the Country. Hopefully in all this it will be possible to recover the principle of the secularity of the State. In this perspective the “Association 31 Ottobre for a secular and pluralistic school” presented a document which summerizes in 9 points the contribution of the Italian protestants to clarify always the same subjects: the activation of alternative options to the teaching of the Catholic religion (IRC). The hope of the Association is to be involved in at least one of the many events foreseen by the Government in these 60 days, in order to be listened as people paying special attention to the respect of their and others’ freedom of conscience, religion and educational choice.

The Evangelical Youth Federation in Italy (FGEI) and this year Synod of the Methodist and Waldensian fully support the Association 31 Ottobre’s above mentioned document.

Cinema. The Interfilm Prize to the film “Loins des hommes” at the 71th Venice Festival

The film “Loin des Hommes” (France 2014), by David Oelhoffen, in competition at the 71st Venice Film Festival, won the “Award for the promotion of inter-religious dialogue”.  Bestowed by the International Jury appointed by INTERFILM (European umbrella of  protestant film associations) the recognition – now at its fourth edition – wants to draw the attention to films that reinforce mutual understanding, respect and peace among different religious and philosopical traditions. Selected also at the Toronto Film Festival, the work is taken from a story written by Albert Camus: two men share a common belief in mutual dignity even if they come from different cultural and religious backgrounds and a deep friendship that develops through cultural barriers.

The jury was composed of three members: Ralf Meister, lutheran bishop in Hannover (Germany), president, Anita Nipah, from the Methodist church of Bologna (Italy) and Tomas Axelson, professor at the University of Dalama (Swedish).

INTERFILM, in collaboration with its Catholic partner SIGNIS organizes ecumenical juries in the most important film festivals such as Cannes, Montreal, Moscow, Leipzig, Berlin, Locarno (

In Brief

  • As soon as the International Evangelical Hospital (OEI) of Genoa received the authorization by the Liguria Region, the service of heterologous fertilization was organized within the specialized center for medically assisted procreation (PMA). The OEI is an institution founded by Italian and International Protestant comunities of Genoa in 1857. From the 8th of September OEI started the preliminary talks for the inclusion of couples in the waiting lists.  A few weeks will be necessary to define the rules for the donations. Italo Pons, pastor of the local Waldensian church, expressed great satisfaction for this sign of civilization in Italy.
  • The Municipality of Rome decided to name a street to the artist Paolo Antonio Paschetto (Torre Pellice, Turin  february 12, 1885 – March 9, 1963). Son of a Baptist pastor, Paschetto was active in the Waldensian Valleys and became famous for being the author of the emblem of the Italian Republic. Influenced by Art Nouveau and Art Decò, Paschetto painted valuable illustrations for evangelical magazines of the time (“Bilychnis” and “Conscientia”), decorated walls (Baptist Temple of Via del Teatro Valle in Rome) and stained glass windows (Waldensian Church of Piazza Cavour in Rome), phisically made by Cesare Picchiarini. With the same craftsman he also produced some windows in the Owls House of Villa Torlonia, Rome.
  • On September 16 in Florence a structure designed to occomodate relatives of hospitalized people was opened with the name of CasAurora. The house is near the Careggi Hospital and was built with the funds of 8 per thousand of the Italian Union of Adventist Churches (UICCA). Aim of the structure is to communicate peace, closeness, hope to those who are in town for health reasons, and to offer hospitality at lower prices than market rates.
  • A computer that shows no signs of life, a household appliance that doesn’t turn on, a broken bicycle, many of the things by which we are surrounded, are over after only a few years and the solution is often to replace them buying new products and throwing away the old ones. Saturday September 27 last, at the Waldensian Temple of Milan volunteer technicians of various associations organized a ‘Restart Party’ where anyone could bring their own items to be repaired. An opportunity to reflect, to make new acquaintances and to transform oneself from consumers to repairers.