A worship service dedicated to thanksgiving was organized on June 27 by the Adventist Church of Cesena, Italy. The mission was to thank God, first of all, and, then, to thank the municipal administration for its commitment in managing the COVID-19 crisis during the difficult period of isolation. The echo of the church’s "thank you" resonates, even in the current phase of the emergency, for the solidarity initiatives still in progress.
"As a church and as citizens, we want to express to you, in light of what we learn from the Word of God, our gratitude and respect for what you have done, for this great responsibility," said Pastor Roberto Iannò.
Iannò addressed the guests in the church after quoting the words of Jesus, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's,” and those of the Apostle Paul who, in 1 Timothy 2:1,2, invites Christians to give thanks and pray for the authorities.
"It is a type of prayer in which we recognize the important role of those who govern," Iannò added.
Six city councillors, along with the president of the Fiorenzuola District, where the Adventist church is located, participated in this special event.
"On behalf of all the colleagues here present," began Carmelina Labruzzo, councillor for Services for People and Families of the Municipality of Cesena, "we offer an important gesture: saying 'thank you.' Gratitude is not only good, but rare, and if done with honesty, is always able to amaze." Labruzzo also brought the greetings of the mayor.
"We have been together in a situation that we did not expect, and we realize the overwhelming importance that these months have had," added the councillor. "The moment of thanksgiving and prayer prepared by you this morning is a sort of pit stop. We know that the game is not over, and this pit stop regenerates our dedication, passion, and the desire to move forward
In addition to the civil authorities, participants also included some representatives of associations, including the leader of Voce all'Autismo, an association which copes with autism, which received the sum collected during Solidarity Day 2019.
"The city has not been immune from COVID-19," said Lidia Evangelisti, a member of the Adventist community of Cesena. "The data speak of about 800 positive people and about a hundred deaths. The municipal administration had to put in place adequate services to cope with the pandemic, teaming up with voluntary associations, Civil Protection, and individuals who made themselves available to contribute and help."
In her intervention, Councillor Labruzzo recalled the solidarity projects implemented in the city during the lockdown. The solidarity was meant "to help the most fragile groups; those who were in quarantine and isolation for health reasons. A network was implemented at the riskiest time, when we were all asked to stay at home,” she said. The network made sure masks were sewn and distributed.
“In the months of IoRestoACasa (I Stay at home), there were moments which, in the silence, many critical issues were faced and, in the silence, many activities were carried out that saw us arm-in-arm, together with all the citizens and towns in general, but in particular with this community," Labruzzo concluded. "Mutual thanks make us remember: we must not forget this time lived. Memory allows us to launch ourselves into new commitments."
Messages from participants
"These are moments that leave special emotions," Evangelisti concluded, "and are reflected in the messages received.”
We report some of them.
Milena Maccherozzi (president of the Fiorenzuola District): “Thank you, it was so inspiring. Your director of the Family Ministries (Pastor Roberto Iannò) made a very deep impact. Thanks.”
Lorenzo Plumari (city councilman): “Thank you very much, Giovanni (Benini), for a beautiful morning, it's these moments that give you the push to continue to work for your city. Ciao.”
Vittorio Valletta (town councillor): “Thank you for a beautiful morning. Some interesting food for thought. The pastor was so profound, and Carmelina (Labruzzo) gave an inspiring speech that represented us all.”
Cristina Mazzoni (town planning assessor): “Thank you, Giovanni (Benini), for this event and the reflections; during this weekend, I thought a lot about the various messages on Saturday morning. Ciao.”