Waldensian Review No.124 Summer 2014 - Page 7

The invitation to share my thoughts and opinions in classes full of students coming from different colleges (high and low Anglican, Methodist, Reformed, Catholic, Orthodox) has meant a new freedom. Such sharing has exposed my mind to a variety of theological convictions and ways to see reality which has enabled me to focus on the core point: which is not about changing the other’s opinions. It is about listening carefully to each other’s viewpoints and respecting them; even being open to being changed and shaped by them. Joining the Federation worships has been very significant as it has enabled me to see different ways to praise the Lord. It has also been a different place (spiritual) for meeting people such as staff and students, whom I normally meet in the academic environment. Pastoral activities I undertook a placement at Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, from February to June. The minister is a Fresh Expression Pioneer working with a Methodist Church that has been changed into a community coffee house. I was really glad to be attached there because I knew in advance that it meant a different way to be church. As a matter of fact, I have been enthusiastic to see the different ways of working and I have reflected on the place of the church in the community, as a body which reaches out by sincere relationships with all. The opportunity to preach twice at Wesley Church (Cambridge) has been very encouraging and challenging – as it was my first time in English. Conclusion What could the Italian churches learn from my experience? I believe that kindness, love and care for one another might be a good starting point. To this purpose, in my opinion, one needs just a few small things, such as being gathered around a cup of coffee and biscuits before or after Sunday service and other church activities. Appointing a few people, not necessarily the pastor, to pray for those who need prayer at the end of a service can also be an act of love: as is appointing someone to welcome new people to the Sunday service. Saying ‘Welcome!’ and asking ‘What is your name?’ and ‘Where are you from?’ can make people feel at home. That is what I have seen in several churches in Cambridge. A year ago, when I was in Rome trying to conclude the last things in view of my departure for Cambridge, my prayer to God was the following: ‘God, please, make me stronger and more mature and teach me what is love.’ 5