Coffee in the Piazza
In Italy, many cities, towns and villages have a church as part of the chain of public buildings which surround the treasured public space known as the piazza. As people wander through these open spaces it is hard not to notice the haunting presence of church buildings. For many tourists the church building is little more than another place to visit, the site of yet another smiling selfie for the endless social media feeds which inhabit cyberspace.
Can these church buildings on the margins of the piazza be contemporary “sites of evangelisation”? Does their profound architectural harmony and beauty touch the heart and soul of the visitors? This evangelical possibility increases when the sounds of the divine liturgy float through the church’s open doors towards the ever-moving mosaic of people outside.
This scene is especially potent on a Sunday when the congregation emerges from worship to inhabit, or ‘reclaim’ the piazza for conversation and coffee. Politics, the weather, what is for lunch: all of these are topics of elegant conversation.
To build community there is no need for master plans or glossy presentations. A piazza, a coffee and a kind word is a good start!