Torre Pellice (Turin), 27 August 2018 (SSSMV / 07) – Bishop Ivan M. Abrahams and Gillian M. Kingston , respectively the secretary general and the vice president of the World Methodist Council (WMC), have presented the prestigious ” World Methodist ” Peace Award “ at The Society for the Evangelical Methodist Churches in Italy (OPCEMI), awarded the recognition for its constant and convinced commitment to and for migrants and refugees, an activity that dates back to 1989, with the following motivation:”This small church showed great courage in the face of the widespread crisis due to the flows of refugees and migrants to Europe. When others said that the problems were insurmountable, the attitude of the OPCEMI was ‘we could not do anything else, we could not sit down and let it happen’“. The motivation emphasizes the commitment to the ” humanitarian corridors ” and to the “House of Cultures” in Scicli, Sicily, where there is a Methodist church. The Casa delle Culture is part of Mediterranean Hope – refugees and migrants program of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy (FCEI).
“It is with joy and honor that on behalf of OPCEMI I receive this prestigious award that men and women of value, inspired by feelings of faith and peace, have received before us. I can not forget, for example, that the former UN secretary general, the Ghanaian Kofi Annan , received him in 1998, “declared OPCEMI president Mirella Manocchio , in receiving the medal.
“Ours is a small church in Italy, but even the disciples and disciples of Jesus Christ were few in the beginning of Christianity and yet the Holy Spirit led them to do great things”, continued Manocchio. Certainly what makes our commitment more visible today and that makes it a sign with European significance is the ‘ Mediterranean Hope ‘ project and in particular the initiative of the humanitarian corridors , realized together with the community of Sant’Egidio and to which they collaborate in various capacities. institutions and our individual local churches “.
“There is still a lot to do. I am thinking of the unresolved issues of the dublinati and of the law on ius soli , the exploitation of many workers, immigrants and others , in the Italian countryside. A form of real slavery that is a scandal for our country “concluded Manocchio.
In bringing greetings from the WMC, Kingston emphasized how remarkable the way in which the respective traditions of the Methodist and Waldensian churches in Italy “have affirmed the role of women and laity in the whole ministry of the church”.
The award was established in Dublin, Ireland, in 1976, during the critical and conflicting years known as Troubles , and its requirements were courage, creativity and consistency from the start.