It is astonishing to find that we are almost at the close of the year. It is now cold and crisp in Rome, where beautiful Christmas lights invest the plainest streets with excitement and hope.Read more
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) and Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) have endorsed again the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration states that “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” One of the central concerns of churches is the sanctity of life and inviolable dignity of every human being created in the image of God.Read more
Lampedusa: Events of the last few weeks
Leggi in italiano Rome (NEV), 18 October 2019 – After the commemorations of 3 October, Lampedusa has fallen back into its tragic routine. In the last two weeks, 20 people died in the Mediterranean, their bodies were recovered by the coastguard and brought to the island. As for the landings, in the same period 21 fortunate people made it safely. Read more....Read more
by the Rev. Ronald Dauphin
As a retired pastor of the US-based United Church of Christ, it was my good fortune to arrive in Lampedusa, Italy, to begin volunteer work with Mediterranean Hope just prior to October 3, 2019. The date marks the anniversary of an important world event: a shipwreck that occurred off the coast of this small island in 2013. Lampedusa has long been a port for people migrating from the nearby continent of Africa to Europe, and the local culture is accustomed to seeing newcomers walk the streets, but the majority of visitors are tourists who come to soak up the sun on the beautiful Mediterranean beaches and enjoy the fine restaurants and nightlife of the island.Read more
Humanitarian Corridors is the recipient of the 2019 Nansen Prize, awarded each year by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNCHCR) to individuals or organizations which distinguish themselves by the support they provide to the world's refugees. Humanitarian Corridors, which is supported by the Waldensian Methodist Church and the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy along with the Sant'Egidio Community, Caritas and the Italian Catholic Bishops' Conference, has facilitated bringing more than 2,600 people safely and legally to Italy. The following are excerpts from remarks at a press conference at UNHCR's Rome office made by Luca Maria Negro, president of the FCEI, and Alessandra Trotta, moderator of the Waldensian/Methodist Church. The third person in this photograph is Claudio Cottatellucci who represented the Sant'Egidio Community at the press conference.Read more
I have been in Lampedusa for a week. Much of that time has been filled with orienting myself to the community and the work that is to be done here. Within my first 24 hours, there was a “landing” to attend to, meaning that the Italian Coast Guard had picked up migrants in distress on the sea. Fifty young Tunisian men and boys were on board a ship that was in trouble, but all were brought safely to the port. My job, along with Mediterranean Hope staff members, was to carry water, snacks, and blankets to the Coast Guard dock to offer a tangible welcome to those in transit before they were taken to the area reception camp for governmental processing.Read more
Lectionary Selection: Luke 16:1-10
Prayers for Italy:
We live in confusing times when we often crave simplicity and black and white thinking can seem attractive. We can be slow to get informed, slow to think for ourselves and slow to express an alternative view.
Yet we are called to live by kingdom values and not to take the easy way out.
So we pray for ourselves, and for the people of Italy, who are faced with momentous choices about the direction their country should take, to act with integrity. We pray that, notwithstanding the current political crisis, Italian leaders would work to make the best of a difficult situation, and would be careful stewards of the country’s fragile economy. We pray for strong alliances, however uneasy, whose success does not depend on trampling on the rights of the weakest.
We pray for our partner, the Waldensian Church, working in tandem with the Methodist Church and Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy, and its vital work to relieve the situation for migrants traveling to and settling in Italy. We thank you for the example it has set in developing humanitarian corridors through which vulnerable migrants can safely travel. We pray that the corridors might extend across Europe, and that sister churches would feel called to participate by hosting migrants and by lobbying their own governments for change.
We pray that our siblings in Italy might continue to stand up for the rights of the marginalized. We pray for courage and tenacity when criticism is fierce. We pray for constructive dialogue with those who are most hostile. We pray that, through the witness of those working to improve the lot of those on the fringes, others might know the compassion and love of our Lord.
In Jesus’ name
Paolo Naso, who is probably the Waldensian best known among North American Christians, described Tuesday's developments in Italy as "very positive because they put human rights first. As Protestants, we consider the Gospel as more than just a symbol of our identity which is good for expedient speech, but as the light which guides our life choices and behavior beginning with rescuing our persecuted and injured neighbor."
The following report, just written by Fiona Kendall, a mission co-worker of Global Ministries and the Church of Scotland serving in Italy, elaborates on Tuesday's developments. Thanks to the American Waldensian Society for making it available.Read more
Libya, Now The European Humanitarian Corridor
by Paolo Naso, coordinator of Mediterranean Hope, a program for refugees and migrants promoted by the FCEI, and Global Ministries' Board of Directors member. It is important that the Minister of Foreign Affairs declares that "Libya is not a safe haven". The fact that the vice-premier Matteo Salvini also recognizes him - as shown by various agencies on 6 July - is resounding. Read more...Read more