The Rev Richard Easterling (second from the left above) had been in Florence for less than a month when he attended a noteworthy televised event. On the chilly evening of January 17th in the Florence Baptistery the signing ceremony for the Council of Christian Churches of Florence occurred. Two representatives from each of 10 Florentine churches were present. The signatory churches were as follows: Roman Catholic, Apostolic, Baptist, Church of England, Episcopal, Lutheran, Greek Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox, Swiss Reformed and Waldensian/Methodist.
For this ceremony, in Covid times, the signatories were seated. Well- spaced out, on a front row, with their fellow-representatves behind them.
A table was placed centrally at the front and signatories were called up, one at a time, by Marco Bontempi, Secretary of Ecumenismo di Firenze, to sign on behalf of their church. Then, in turn, each church gave a short reading, either biblical or literary, in Italian. Those whose language was not primarily Italian read in 2 languages. As this event took place a day before the start of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which this year has the theme from John 15 of God's love to us and our love for others, I read George Herbert 's "Love Bade me Welcome "in both English and an Italian translation.
The video of this event will be shown during the last meeting of the Week of Prayer at the La Pira Centre. Because of the pandemic however, it was decided to show videos of meetings on-line during the week. Our contribution will be shown on Thursday 21st. (Contributed by Maria Makepeace)
This article is from the January 26, 2021 newsletter of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe. The whole issue of the newsletter was focused on ecumenical events around Europe. Read the whole issue >