Wednesday May 8, 2013
By Gianni Geraci of ‘Il Guado’ Gay Christian group in Milan (Italy). Translated by Peter Luntz
This year, Milan’s Gay Christian groups have organized a new type of ecumenical prayer vigil for victims of homophobia. One event will unfold in various locations: a Baptist church, one of the Milan’s top nightlife areas and one of the city’s most beautiful Catholic churches.
The idea is to recapture the ecumenical impulse that had initially characterized the city’s prayer vigils for victims of homophobia but has abated in recent years. In order to pull this off, we had to deal with a number of issues such as matching calendars of different Christian communities and handling the practical and bureaucratic issues of organizing an outdoor event.
In the end, things came together and this year Milan’s prayer vigil will feature some interesting new developments. It will start the evening of May 13th at the Baptist church in Via Pinamonte da Vimercate 10 (Metro stop: Moscova), a very nice church that had already hosted the vigil in 2008.
After an initial moment of prayer in the church, we will begin a candlelight procession through the Corso Garibaldi area (one of the city’s top café and nightlife districts) and end up at the Renaissance era Santa Maria Incoronata parish church. Through candlelight and prayer, we aim to bring together Christian churches of all denominations in a common commitment of love against all forms of homophobia and transphobia. Our guiding light will be the Bible verse reminding us that “There is no fear in love” (1 John 4:18).
Throughout the vigil, we will be reciting psalms. We will remember the episode recounted in the Gospel of Mark about the encounter between Jesus and Timothy’s blind son at the doors of Jericho (Mark 10:46-51). This story will be told at the beginning of the vigil and will be at the center of the Sunday morning Worship service at the Waldensian Church of Milan on May 12th, which will be entirely dedicated to the issue of welcoming gay people in the church.
We are especially grateful to the Christian communities who have decided to participate in this ecumenical vigil and who have freely offered their hospitality. And, lastly, we wish to offer the city of Milan a moment of reflection on the correlation between a vocation to love one another, which God calls us to by loving us first (1 John 4:19), and a firm refusal of any sort of hatred, violence or discrimination (1 John 4:20).
A single embrace will unite one moment of prayer stretching from the Sunday morning Worship Service at the Waldensian Church of Milan to the prayer vigil at the Baptist church in via Pinamonte da Vimercate, the candlelight procession in the city and the conclusion at Santa Maria Incoronata Catholic church. This long embrace will give us a chance to answer the question often posed about what purpose homosexual people serve.
“To help people, churches and institutions build dialog and discover the great value of diversity which makes creation more beautiful, more useful and much more stimulating.” This will be our answer.
Sunday May 12 – Milan (Italy), Sunday Worship Service against Homophobia
Waldensian Church of Milan, Via Francesco Sforza 12/Â at 10:45am www.milanovaldese.it
Organized by the VARCO-REFO group and the Waldensian community of Milan.
Monday May 13 – Milan (Italy), Ecumenical Prayer Vigil for Victims of Homophobia
The vigil will begin at the Baptist Church in Via Pinamonte da Vimercate 10, continue with a candlelight procession along Corso Garibaldi and conclude at the Incoronata Catholic Church – Starting time: 9:00pm
Organized by Il Guado, La Fonte and VARCO-REFO group of Milan.
For more information log onto the Gianata Blog.
With thanks from the IDAHO Committee team for writing, sharing and translating.
Wednesday May 8, 2013