Italy: Being church in times of coronavirus
Worship songs are heard in balconies, online communities are organised, and a Day of National Prayer has been called for next Sunday.
VICENZA · 16 MARCH 2020 · 12:45 CET
Music and lyrical singing from the balconies of Napoli, murals thanking the medical staff for their work, a distributor of flowers who sends thousands of roses to a hospital in Milan, banners with a rainbow and the motto: “Tutto andrà bene”… These are some of the intiatives of the Italian population to encourage each other during these times of quarantine.
Meanwhile, faced with the impossibility of meeting, the churches are using technology, seeking to maintain a sense of community. Not all communities are able to stream online the preaching, but most churches do use WhatsApp groups to share the message of pastors and prayer requests.
Communities such as the Elim Association of Churches have created a prayer platform where people can register at a time of their choice, generating a chain that covers 24 hours.
In Modugno (province of Bari), the Chinese Evangelical Church donated 4,000 face masks to the Civil Defence authorities and to health services in the city. This Asian faith community asked the pastor of the Pienovangeo Church to deliver the donation to the “Síndaco” (Mayor), Nicola Magrone.
ROOFTOPS AND BALCONIES
On Sunday 15 March, in the city of Positano (Costa Almafitana), a priest went up to the roof of a building to celebrate mass using a loudspeaker. The day before, an evangelical pastor preached from a balcony in Siracusa (Sicily), after singing a praise song. “I told myself: why not telling my neighbours about the Word of God? God is for everyone”, said Carmelo Cancilla.
Worship songs where heard in other balconies of Southern Italy. Often these actions are filmed and posted on social media.
The Italian Evangelical Alliance has joined these individual initiatives calling for a Day of National Prayer on 22 March.