Waldensian Review No 132 Summer 2018 - Page 11

News from Parma During an earthquake in 1983, the roof of the Methodist church collapsed, destroying most of its furniture. Last year, as a gift for Noemi Falla’s ordination, our Committee decided to help the church in restoring the pews that another church had donated. Meanwhile we had gladly learnt that the writer and friend Tobias Jones (The Dark Heart of Italy and many more) and his family were going to live in Parma. This is what Noemi writes: The Jones family have proved a joyous addition to our community. From the moment they arrived they immediately began getting in contact with many members and sympathisers of the community, inviting them to dine with them at home, getting to know them and making friends. Together with a young woman of the Protestant community the Jones’ have organised monthly activities with the youngsters of the Parma Church [Italians] and also those of my other parish of Mezzani [Ghanaians] getting them to get to know each other thus encouraging reciprocal integration, while also helping them learn a bit of English, given that the Ghanaian children speak in Italian and also in Twi [a Ghanaian dialect]. The Jones’ also teach Bible stories through arts and craft, games, movies, music and sport. The Jones’ also participate in a Prayer Group [in Parma] held bi- monthly followed by a supper, and on occasions Tobias has also led the group. Tobias has also organised a table soccer tournament between young Ghanaians from Mezzani and Casalmaggiore [ the other church of which I am the Pastor] and some from Parma, always with the aim of encouraging integration and mutual understanding. We hope that there will be other matches in the future. Tobias’ wife Francesca, a native of Parma, is now employed as a social worker in the Humanitarian Corridor Project of the FCEI [the Italian Evan- gelical Churches Federation], the Waldensian and Methodist Church and the Catholic community of St Egidio. In practice it is a legal entity to enable the most vulnerable refugees to arrive in Italy. [Nowadays this means mostly Syrians coming from Lebanon]. In fact on Tuesday 26 June a Syrian family arrived who now live in the old Manse above the Waldensian Church in Mezzani. Francesca’s job to aid the integration of the family in the Mezzani- 9