June 2008 Newsletter

Posted in Newsletters at 9:48 am

Great pictures of Francesca (if I do say so myself) in the newsletter this month. Hope you like them. Also a few reflections of our friend Massi’s death. And as always, the ever-exciting finance report.

Please get in touch if you need us!

June 2008 Newsletter


A New Picture of Church

Posted in church, ministry at 4:57 am

Yesterday, Jason suckered me into attending a meeting for all pastors and priests in the Marche region. Normally, I’m horrible at these things – meeting people and describing our “denomination” and mingling aren’t my strong points. But the theme of this meeting piqued my interest: the problems of youth.

For most of the meeting we were divided up into four groups discussing various aspects of youth like The relationship between youth and spirituality and Youth and secularization. There were pastors there from all kinds churches: Greek Orthodox, Catholic, The Apostolic Church, Seventh Day Adventist, and little ol’ me. At one point a young priest said that young people need “una nuova immagine di chiesa” – a new picture of church. He talked about how it’s time to stop asking the young people to fit into old models of what our relationship with God looks like. Church needs to be about community, and allowing people to “work out their salvation” and not be perfect before walking in the door.

Did you catch that this was coming from a Catholic priest?

The conversation went on and I described how we have begun to change our view of church as well. Instead of asking people to behave and believe a certain way before they can belong (be a part of the community), we switch the order. They can be a part of the community, which causes them to change their beliefs, which causes them to change their behavior.

And then another lady started criticizing the Catholic church, and the conversation stopped there while the priest dodged the arrows that were being launched at him. It was too bad, because there was a good thing going.

I’m never sure what to do with these ecumenical meetings. On one hand, I think it’s silly to think that any of us, with our various theological backgrounds, would ever be on the same page (though that’s probably not even the goal). On the other, conversations like this where we learn from each other can only benefit the capital “C” Church.


Having a baby in Italy

Posted in health care at 9:52 am

We had already dipped our toes into the waters of the socialized medical system here in Italy. A couple of routine checkups, funny rashes on the kids, that kind of thing. Having baby #4 was a headlong dive in. Health insurance is the US is sky high, if you can even afford it. Those who hear that we pay about $600 per year to buy into the Italian system think that Italy must have found the solution. But I think you get what you pay for.

Overall, we had a great experience. The nurses were more than friendly, and seemed to be more available than I remember the nurses were with our other kids. The doctors were often in a rush when they made their daily rounds, which seemed about how I remember it in the US. But when there’s no bill coming at the end of your stay, there’s less of a rush to cram all of the treatments and all of the tests into a short time frame.

But that’s about where the similarities end. We were given a list of supplies we needed to bring with us to the hospital. I was surprised at what wasn’t included. You bring your own nightgown and robe. You were on your own to bring many of the supplies needed for personal care after the baby was born. You also bring clothes for the baby. Silverware wasn’t included – we found out you’re supposed to bring your own. And the meals were pretty scant. Breakfast was two slices of dry pre-packaged toast, and a hot drink made with barley and milk. And every room but one had at least one other person in it. The larger rooms had three women!

So on one hand, you have the US system. It’s expensive, but looks like a nice hotel compared to what we had just experienced. And you have the Italian system, which is good care but absolutely no frills.

If the US were to ever switch to something like that, I have a feeling that a lot of the frills would have to be cut. People would be more responsible to provide some of their own care. And I’m not sure that everyone is willing to make that sacrifice.

The issue of health care is a big one in the US right now. The system as it is can’t continue, but how do you fix it? When will the most powerful nation in the world start doing what it takes to take care of its citizens? Will people be willing to sacrifice the little amenities (like silverware!) to make things less costly for everyone? If they would update their medical software development that could definitely help take make seeing their patients easier and faster.


Francesca Grace

Posted in family, kids at 1:57 pm

Francesca GraceJune 9, 2008, 22:10.

4.240 kg. 53 cm.

Named after my dad, David Francis.
Wish he could be here to see the pictures.