Welcome to St Mark’s Church, Florence, Italy

St Mark’s ‘English’ Church is an Anglican church in Florence, Italy which serves all English-speakers who find themselves in Tuscany or Emilia Romagna and is a chaplaincy of the Church of England in the Diocese in Europe. We offer a unique venue for worship; weddings; opera; concerts; music and a wide range of artistic, literary and academic events for visitors and locals alike.

St Mark’s receives no financial support from the Church of England, or from local or national Governments.

We rely entirely on the generosity of those who use our premises or benefit from our ministry. Such donations are vital to our continued outreach and ministry here in Florence and beyond. Thank you.

St Mark’s Florence

St Mark’s Church in Florence is one of three worship centres that form a chaplaincy of the Church of England in the Diocese in Europe, known as St Mark’s Florence with St Peter’s Siena.

We have been serving the people of Tuscany, and the many visitors to the area on our current Florence site, for over 132 years. With the Sunday Sung High Mass at the centre of its active liturgical life, St Mark’s also has an extensive music and cultural scene, with its own concert and Mass choirs, St Mark’s Opera, as well as many concerts performed by visiting choirs and musicians. To this is added a wide variety of other cultural events that bring people together in artistic, literary or academic endeavour.

Thank you for visiting our site and we look forward to welcoming you to our chaplaincy.

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The next 'town hall' meeting about UK citizens' rights with the British Ambassador this Thursday 27th September (18.30-20.00) at the British Council in Milan is already over-subscribed, (address: The British Council, Via Alessandro Manzoni 38, Milan ). There will be a second meeting on the same evening, same place, at 20:30hrs to accommodate others.
R.S.V.P. is essential:
BritishEmbassyRome.Events@fco.gov.uk
or 06 4220 2306-2278
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Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity. Wisdom of Solomon 1:16-2:1,12-22; James 3:13-4:3, 7,8a; Mark 9:30-37 from Reader Maria. Please feel free to share or comment on this post. Thank you.

For years, I believed I was one of the last Luddites not in captivity. While I possessed a very basic mobile phone, acquired at some point after 2010, solely for use here in Italy, where I had no landline, I did not have any such device in England. Ever! Some years earlier, workmates would chat to each other about “Bluetooth”, texting, apps and other things informatic-ese that were all Greek to me. They had complicated lives (which generally included someone in the family under the age of ten, who could tutor them in technology. “A little child to lead them” so to speak). I had solitary freedom – although partly, it must be admitted, because of a two-way allergy. Yes, technology tends to be allergic to me.

Now that we are all enslaved to the wretched, intrusive objects, I admit to possessing a mobile phone, but it “has its little ways”. My provider has a shop along my street, and in the absence of anyone helpful, I go along there when the (expletives deleted) object is playing up. I am very, meek, mild, humble and helpless towards the young techno-experts, and this produces results.

You see, I’ve noticed that other people of a similar age-group to me, tend to go in there, furious with their offending lump of technology, and transferring that fury to those behind the counter in the shop. This is counter-productive (no counter-pun intended here). Better to cultivate the “I am meek and helpless and need to learn approach” for friendly results. Show the experts respect, and if you don’t understand, don’t push your luck.

In this morning’s Gospel, we encountered a bunch of disciples who are being a bit too big for their boots. They are “experts” in Jesus’ teachings. They have been chosen, selected. But there’s a bit of rivalry going on, too, and no doubt a few smug grins. Despite the fact that they have totally misunderstood what Jesus has just told them, regarding a ministry of suffering, none of them wants to admit his ignorance to his boss, so they turn the subject to their own specific interest. Themselves.

Basically, they haven’t yet understood that servant ministry is about serving and self-sacrifice; not about arrogance and self-importance. So Jesus calls them all together and tells them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” They are to be like the little child he sets before them as an example.

Puzzling. What use is a little child? If they are thinking of Jesus as the promised Messiah, then, in their minds, Jesus will be needing big, strong menfolk with some sort of skill in martial arts. A little child? What the heck is he talking about?However, what attributes do most little children possess that the disciples didn’t? What attributes did they have that the disciples needed? How could a chosen, selected disciple learn from a child?

A child is still growing. His or her life is never static.

There is always something new to learn, to quest and question: “Why are there rainbows in street puddles?”, “Why do tadpoles turn into frogs and not fish?”, “How do caterpillars automatically fly, without any lessons when they emerge from a chrysalis?” And so it goes on. A child understands his or her need to know the world better in order to live in it better. Some adults, too, continue the joy of learning new things, too. But others tend to think, “I’m a mature adult, so I know what I need to know, and I know it better than anyone else does.” They have become static, believing themselves to be finished objects, when really they’re stuck in a rut - turning everything to their own interest or advantage, regardless of others. They look neither out nor in.

Children want to belong, to have a place of belonging. For many adults, though, things and places are merely part of their belongings. Life is about acquisition and ownership – not fellowship.

Children copy adults. They learn better and more quickly if they have a good teacher or someone who sets them a good example. Someone who makes them feel loved and cared for. If their teacher or parent is a good example for them to follow, they will have respect, which is necessary for learning. Often adults think they no longer need an exemplar or guide.

Now Jesus’ disciples had the best example and guide that anyone could wish for, but they still tried to change the script to suit themselves and their daydreams; ignoring the horror and reality that Jesus had been telling them about.

It was beyond their understanding. In their eyes Jesus was their promised Messiah and they were his chosen and favoured followers. So they were important adults, destined to be ever yet more important.

No.

Jesus would suffer a shameful death. He would be arrested, tortured and crucified. The disciples would flee for their lives.

Yet on the third day he would rise again. Not just for a special, chosen few, male adults, but for everyone who believes in him. The first witnesses to his resurrection were women, after all. The disciples would learn that the littlest child is just as important as they were. We are all God’s children with the potential for learning, belonging and being loved by him. And our hearts are restless until they find their rest in him.
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The uncertainty about the deal (or no deal) between the EU and the UK continues to demand great patience from ex-pats living in Italy (and elsewhere). The next 'town hall' meeting about UK citizens' rights with the British Ambassador is Thursday 27th September (18.30-20.00) at the British Council in Milan (address: The British Council, Via Alessandro Manzoni 38, Milan ). R.S.V.P. with your contact details by 21 September:
BritishEmbassyRome.Events@fco.gov.uk
or 06 4220 2306-2278
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St Mark’s does not receive funding from the Church of England, the Diocese or the Italian Government. We rely solely on the kind giving of our members and donations from those who use our premises.

A suggested weekly offering of €10 is needed to maintain our provision. You may give online by visiting our donate page, in our weekly collection on Sunday, or via paypal.





Thank you for your support.

St Mark’s Blog

Events Calendar

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Fri 28

Chaplain Consultation time

September 28 @ 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Fri 28

BCP Mass

September 28 @ 6:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Sun 30

Sung High Mass

September 30 @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am

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William Lister

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