Italy, Europe, South America

Italy - Europe

The Waldensian Church today is composed of approximately 100 communities and as many social programs distributed throughout Italy, from Sicily to the Piedmont. The social work is active in three areas:

  • Culture:  Schools, training institutes, and publishing
  • Hospitality: Meeting centers, guest houses, and immigrant welcome centers
  • Service: Elderly, sick, and immigrants

Click for a list of the centers.

The following site offers a complete list of the Methodist and Waldensian churches with their addresses and telephone numbers:

Chiesa Valdese Directory

Sites for special ministries of the Church:

Agape, international center for meetings and training, high in the Piedmont mountains

Casa Cares Meeting Center, in the hills of Tuscany, that organizes meetings and seminars but also accommodates groups with their own programs

Claudiana Publishing House, specializing in the publication of books on Protestant history and theology

Ecumene Methodist Center, an ideal place for meetings and seminars, situated in the Latium hills, approximately an hour from Rome

La Noce Diaconal Center, of Palermo, carries out an important educational and social program in one of the most problematic cities in Italy

Riesi Christian Service, in Sicily, founded as a social service ministry by Pastor Tullio Vinay in the 1960’s that accommodates, among other things, a international resident community

Waldensian Cultural Center Foundation, of Torre Pellice (an hour by car from Turin) which hosts an important library and historical museum. The Foundation also promotes important academic conventions at the local, national, and international level, as well as offering advice for the organization of tours and travel study seminars in the Waldensian Valleys.

Waldensian Theological Seminary, in Rome, a state recognized academic institute that offers university level pastoral training and distance learning courses

The following report on the Riesi Christian Sevice, known in Italian as Servizio Cristiano, was written by Georgia Betz, one of their staff members.

Servizio Cristiano is a diaconal ministry of the Evangelical Waldensian Church in Italy. Diaconia is a form of commitment to our neighbors. Our aim is to turn love of neighbor - agape - into direct action. We want to help the people of Riesi to develop educational and social ministries with the goal of building a brighter future for all in a region that is geographically and economically disadvantaged.

We believe that if we want to call ourselves Christians, we have to act in the way Jesus showed us. Servizio Cristiano has been working with this spirit in Sicilian society since 1961.

Servizio Cristiano was founded in 1961 by Tullio Vinay and a group of volunteers in the small town of Riesi in the region of Caltanissetta, one of Sicily's poorest areas.

The Servizio Cristiano complex was designed in the style of ‘organic architecture’ by the famous Italian architect Leonardo Ricci. Our buildings have been designated as part of the cultural heritage of Sicily. When they were built, our buildings were laid out in a way that integrated them into an olive grove. Not even one tree in the old olive grove had to be chopped down.

We do educational work in our nursery, kindergarten, and primary school. Altogether more than 25% of Riesi's children attend our schools.

Our work is based on creative didactic methods of learning. In a context that is marked by poverty, it is especially important that children's development is guided by modern pedagogical methods. We must not allow children pay the price for adult inequality of opportunity! We should note that at least 40% of the pupils in our schools are from socially and economically disadvantaged families.

Our social work offers a wide range of services to improve the quality of life of people of all ages: speech therapy, psychological support, family support and mediation, counselling for victims of violence (especially women), support for children with learning difficulties, and psychotherapy for adults. For these services, we ask families to pay only a minimum fee. Our commitment is to work against any forms of exclusion and discrimination. We are committed to support people on their way to independence.

Servizio Cristiano also has a guest house. American Waldensian Society members and friends are welcome to stay in our guest house. See for details.

Servizio Cristiano is also engaged in organic agriculture. On 21 hectares of land (which is the equivalent of 52 acres in the United States) we cultivate mostly olives, but we also grow almonds and vegetables. We serve seasonal vegetables which we grow ourselves for lunch in our school and in our guest house. Respecting and protecting creation is a heart-felt matter for us.

All that we do is based primarily on three principles: Living in solidarity, actively resisting illegality and the Mafia, and enabling sustainable development.

Transparency is very important to us in every facet of our work. We don't pay protection money and we don't tolerate nepotism or corruption.

Since 2018, we have had a new project called the "Blue House", which was created in a building that was confiscated from the Mafia. The former owner of the building was a high-ranking crime boss who is now serving a life sentence for several murders. In 2020 and 2021 we were able to renovate parts of the building with the help of young people from Italy and Europe.

During the COVID pandemic, the ground floor of the Blue House has become a refuge for children in Riesi. (You can see a photograph of the Blue House at the bottom of this email.)

Our work is made possible by a large network of friends and supporters from around the world as well as by international volunteers who come every year to help us in our school, our kindergarten and in our agricultural ministry.

We invite you, if you like, to help us too. At the moment we are struggling with the damage caused by the thunderstorms and rainfalls that have plagued Italy in the last few months. You may have heard about it in the news - climate change is also making itself felt in Sicily and is presenting us with new challenges.

But even after 60 years, we do not think of stopping or resting. We are still motivated by the biblical text: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).

You can watch videos about Servizio Cristiano at and
You can also learn more about Servizio Cristiano at

The American Waldensian Society welcomes the opportunity to present Waldensian-related ministries in Italy, South America, and everywhere else people serve the ‘least of these’ in Jesus’ name.

208 Rodoret Street South  |  PO Box 398  |  Valdese, NC 28690
866-825-3373  |  828-874-3500 local  |  828-874-0880 fax  |