Bishop's article - Spirit of Italy 2007

October 26, 2007

Spirit of Italy 2007


Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,


Buon giorno!


Inspiring! Awesome! Community Building! Faith Deepening! Glorious!


These are but a few words that open the door to the Italy trip enjoyed by 50 travelers October 2-11 under the auspices of Educational Opportunities.


The art, culture, and creativity took our collective breath away day after day as we traveled through the country. The Sistine Chapel, the 15 foot towering statue of David with his slingshot, Assisi, the beautiful Basilica of St. Francis, the Roman Coliseum and ruins, our gondola ride in Venice, the leaning tower of Pisa, the catacombs of San Calixto, are still vivid memories that speak to my soul.


My heart was strangely warmed yet again to see how deeply the Christian Gospel has inspired such beautiful carvings, sculpture, and architecture. To think that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus would motivate and sustain such immense creative expression over the years is a gift to my own personal faith. I praise God for this opportunity to travel with 50 wonderful people, mostly from our Conference. Pastor Sue Berges and four members from Ely UMC in Nevada get the prize for sending five people. Carson Valley United Methodist Church in Gardnerville, Nevada sent four travelers. One sister duo, one mother-daughter set, and many others from five districts came with a keen interest in some aspect of the arts and history, and enjoyed our days and nights together.


Rev. Bill Marx was the coordinator for our trip with the help of his spouse, Noreen, and Rev. Bob Duncan, Vice-President of Educational Opportunities, joined us with his wife, Dottie.


One of the highlights of our trip was a visit to the Chiesa Evangelica Metodista Church in Milan, where a multicultural congregation is serving immigrants from several countries. To share in scripture, worship, song, and prayer with them was the perfect way to begin our tour.


I hope you will ask those from your church about the trip and beg to see their pictures. I am grateful to Bruce Pettit and Chuck Myer for being our photo journalists along the way.


My hope is that the California-Nevada Conference will travel together again as a conference group and experience the blessing that comes from community bonding as we share our Christian heritage and hope together.


Your Sister and Bishop in Christ,


Beverly J. Shamana


(Editor's Note: Link here for photos and to read more about Spirit of Italy 2007.)