All are welcome to take a full and active part in our worship and Church services throughout the Chaplaincy, even if you are not a member of the Church of England or an Anglican Church elsewhere in the world. The spiritual path that has led you here is one that we value. If you feel it is the right thing to do, then you are most welcome to receive Holy Communion in any of our Eucharistic services too. St Mark’s offers a number of additional services to mark the important moments in our lives.
We are not baptised as ‘Church of England’, ‘Roman Catholic’, ‘Methodist’ etc. We are baptised as Christians, (this is why it is often referred to by English-speakers as being ‘christened’). The Rite of Baptism affords a spiritual opportunity and a means of God’s Grace that incorporates us into the living Body of Christ, his Church, and also into its mission throughout the world.
Normally, in the Anglican tradition, people are baptised as infants, but the Sacrament can be received at any age. If an adult is being baptised, it is usual for this to be done at the same time as being ‘confirmed’ by the Bishop. This is because the individual is mature enough in faith to make the commitments personally that would have been made on their behalf by their godparents as an infant.
At St Mark’s Florence, baptisms are arranged in line with requests as far as possible. They usually take place during the main Sunday Sung High Mass, when the Christian community welcomes a new member into Christ’s family.
An Italian Distinctive Deacon can provide assistance for a Baptism celebrated in Italian or in both English/Italian languages.
For more detail of the service and baptism itself, please see the Church of England website, www.churchofengland.org/baptism
Confirmation is a big personal step in life. In the Anglican tradition – as in all other Churches – there comes a point in life when we are mature enough in faith and understanding, to be able to make a commitment to Christ on our own behalf. No one is born a Christian, at least in an earthly sense, but individuals choose to commit their lives to Christ and to follow Him. That grace is celebrated through the service of confirmation and is conducted by a Bishop of the Church.
Those who come from other churches and who wish to be regular members of the Anglican church, can also be ‘received’ by the Bishop into the Anglican church’s fellowship during the confirmation service. This is because the commitment already made to Christ is honoured and it is recognised that this is simply a new chapter in their ongoing life in Christ. Such people are also welcome to be confirmed if that is their wish.
All candidates are expected to attend a one-day course (to help those who live at distance from our churches) that is designed to give a full and clear understanding of the faith to which we are called. Attendance at this day-course does not constitute an obligation to be confirmed and it is open to all those who are enquiring about the Christian faith generally.
Please speak to the Chaplain or Administrator if you, or your children, are interested in Confirmation – the dates of courses and services of confirmation are set each year according to the Bishop’s availability and demand. There are no age limits (young or old; the issue is maturity and the ability to make a decision for oneself) and if you are not baptised, (or are unsure), that can be made a part of the confirmation service as well.
Preparation for the Confirmation can be done in English and in Italian too, thanks to an Italian Deacon.
Funerals and Memorial Services
‘In the midst of life, we are in death, O Lord’ as the Psalmist sings. Funerals and memorial services provide the opportunity for us to grieve for those we have loved, but most of all to give thanks and praise to God for those whom we no longer see.
Our Chaplaincy is here primarily to support and help you if you are in this situation. The chaplain will provide pastoral support and will help you to arrange a funeral or memorial service. Please do not hesitate to get in touch.
An expression of our being loved by God in Christ is that we share that love with all others and this is the ‘driving force’ behind the Church’s mission in the world.
The Chaplaincy encourages a caring and nurturing community in which all can feel supported and, knowing that each one of us is loved by God, can grow in grace. Pastoral care is therefore not simply about ‘being in need’. It is about our on-going commitment to God, expressed in our love for others.
Jesus said, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Mark 12:31). This means, too, that we ourselves should be open to being cared for, in recognition of our own needs as well as those of others. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the Chaplaincy team if you – or someone you know – is in difficulty or needs spiritual guidance. We also offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) by arrangement.
The British Relief Fund can also provide practical help for British nationals who find themselves in difficult circumstances. The Chaplain can assess and recommend financial assistance. All, and any such enquiries, will be treated in strictest confidence.
DEACONAL AND MISSIONARY ACTIVITIES
St. Mark is an open and inclusive Church community where everybody is welcome, offering services and pastoral care for English and Italian speaking people. If you are far from every Church, if you feel far from God, if you experience suffering, depression you can find a healthy and healing community that can support you and share empathy. We can walk together forever or for a while, but in any case we want that here you feel at home. We don’t care if you are English or Italian or stranger, we don’t care if you are young or old, we don’t care if you are streight, homosexual, bisexual or transexual, nately, we don’t care if you are white or black, we don’t care if you are orthodox or erethic, we don’t care how many times you infranged the 10 Commandments: here is your home.
Ministering of Social activities:
- Collection of food for poor people/families (in collaboration with S. Egidio association). Every Sunday food is collected during the Eucharisty.
- Support activities for prisoner (Sollicciano). Used clothes are collected for poor prisoners.
- Spiritual counseling (in Italian, on demand, by mail, zoom or in presence) for spiritual assistance/counseling, spiritual direction or for sick people assistance (visits at home or in the hospital).
- Discernment on Anglican Old Catholicism (in Italian/English, on demand): it is addressed to all people who are interested in a better understanding of what Anglicanism or Old Catholicism are. It is done through mails, handouts, meetings in presence or via zoom.
Ministering of the Sacraments:
- Baptism: (for Italian and English people, with English, Italian or English/Italian liturgy,
- Eucharist: every 2nd Sunday the Eucharist is presided by the priest with the assistance of the deacon for a particular diaconal perspective (attention to poor, needy, oppressed people…). The deacon usually preaches or prepares particular intercessions, proclaims the Gospel, announces the peace, prepares the altar and does the purification after communion, and gives the consecrated bread for the Communion.
- Weddings: under Bishop’s authorisation the Deacon can celebrate a marriage wherever is desired.
Ministering of the Word:
- Bible study: 1st Saturday at 3pm (in presence / in Italian). Each month a new group discussion on a topical issue analyzed in the light of the Bible.
- Spirituality and theology Workshops: 3rd Sunday from 3:00 – 5:30 pm (on line / in Italian). Every year a new theme is chosen. A monthly appointment open to Anglican members as well as to all Christians and non Christians who want to better understand Christian theology and spirituality. The workshop is composed of a first part where the topic is introduced and a second part with an open discussion.
- Course in preparation for marriage or engagements (on demand, in Italian): 8 meetings (in presence or on line) to explore love, couple and relational dynamics. Resources: Bible, christian spirituality, rogers counseling, other religion resources The course is open to etherosexual or homosexual couples.
- Kerigma (on demand, in Italian and English): course for spiritual rebirth and exploration of the foundations of the Gospel message. Handouts based on biblical and spiritual studies to explore the original and profound message of Jesus.
- Catechism for adult or Sunday school (on demand, in Italian and English).
Ecumenism is fundamental in Anglicanism, it is part of beign Christians.
- Ecumenical relationships with the CCCF (Christian Church Council of Florence). The Deacon Giampaolo and his wife Gabriella are appointed to represent St. Mark for the CCCF. Included activities:
- 2-3 organisational activities during the year,
- some common bible studies
- ecumenical worships in Pentecost + for the Creation (in October)
- Ecumenical relationships with other Churches not belonging to CCCF (occasional)
- Ecumenical relationships with the Catholic Church in Siena, Grosseto and other parts of Tuscany (when required).
- Collaboration with theological institutions like the “Istituto Teologico Protestante Martin Lutero” for teaching of theology. At the moment our Deacon, Giampaolo is a teacher for diaconal theology, ethics, spirituality, franciscanism, anglicanism.
- Franciscan ecumenical spiritual meetings (every week on zoom).