Wednesday, February 17, 2010

No Room for the Roma (2)

 Today we find out how Churches responded to a marginalised community.
No room for the Roma (pt 2)

Parts of the Protestant Churches, worked hard to provide shelter, food, clothing, blankets.  A team from several churches provided basics and challenged the councils of Sesto Fiorentina and Florence to fulfil their obligations.  Coverage provided on local, national and religious channels was sympathetic, but with a toddler, a 5 month old and a baby of just two weeks as part of the company, it was easy to produce good video of tired, cold people, unrolling their bedding on the church floor.  The Mayors of both towns remained adamant – even saying that the church had created the problem by welcoming people in the first place.  The mind-set seemed to be that it would have been quieter to allow a few to die on the cold streets.  Roma are not vote winners, and no-one wanted to spend their budgets. 

Finally, the region saw sense and promised money to house the people for two weeks.  Then it moderated its message – only if the town council co-operated.  Slowly, through the generosity of the national Methodist and Waldesian churches, and then finally the region, families have been placed into hostels (some run by the Protestant churches), convents, and a few remain on church floors.

Come back tomorrow for the final part, which explores culture clashes and the Kingdom of God.

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