Pope Francis has sent a message to the Methodist and Waldensian (Valdese) churches on occasion of their 24-29 August Synod in Torre Pellice, Turin, Italy.
The telegram, signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on behalf of the Holy Father, offers the Pope’s “fraternal” welcome and assures participants of his spiritual closeness as they undertake their discussions, Vatican Radio reports.
The message says the Holy Father “prays that the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, grant to all Christians progress on the path towards full communion, to witness to the Lord Jesus Christ and to offer the light and strength of His Gospel to the men and women of our time.”
The Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches is an Italian united church, founded in 1975 upon the union of the Waldensian Evangelical Church (a reformed church with pre-Lutheran roots) and the Italian Methodist Church.
It has around 50,000 members including some 15,000 in Argentina and Uruguay.
The synod of the Methodist and Waldensian churches takes place annually during the last days of August in the Waldensian valleys in Torre Pellice in northern Italy. The meeting is composed of 180 members plus a number of advisers.