An Episcopalian in Europe

December 3, 2012
Wendy Johnson

I am currently traveling to visit Episcopal Churches in Europe to support trainings on the Ministry of all the Baptized, 5 Marks of Mission and the Charter for Lifelong Christian Formation. This is part of a pilot program for training within the context of a multicultural, multilingual community. This is also a wonderful opportunity to visit faith communities and build relationships with Episcopalians I may never otherwise encounter.

While I am here time is short and Internet connections are not guaranteed. I will continue to blog as I can.

Arriving in Rome, one of my first stops was St. Paul’s Within the Walls, an Episcopal Church located in the center of Rome, just a short walk from the Vatican. The name refers to the fact that the Church was the first non-Catholic church to be built inside the walls of Rome. Services are in English, Italian and Spanish.

During my visit, I had the opportunity to visit the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center. This Center serves 150 to 200 men a day. The ministry was impressive and I am left with so many images and reflections. However, I couldn’t take any pictures to protect the privacy and dignity of the men. I encourage you to have a look at their story through the link above (or visit the site if you are lucky enough to be in Rome).

On Saturday, I trained the leadership of St.Paul’s. While many in the audience were Americans living in Italy, others were native Italian Episcopalians and others, former Roman Catholic Italians who have chosen to become Episcopalian. Sprinkle in some Americans who belong to other denominations who do not have churches in Rome and a small Latino congregation and you have a picture of our training audience.

In the evening I attended the Saint Nicolas Charity Serata and Dinner and Auction to benefit nine Roman Charities one of which is the Refugee program.

Sunday I presented at the Adult Forum on the topic, “What does it mean to be Episcopalian,” and preached at the service.

Later in the week I will be attending services at the Anglican Center in Rome and the Refugee Tent City which helps new refugees get documentation and directs them to local support services like the one run by St. Paul’s.

I look forward the learning opportunities that lie ahead of me as I continue this journey. I will stay in touch as I can.