Waldensians and Methodists are Christians who belong to the family of the evangelical or protestant churches.
There have been Waldensians in Italy since the Middle-Ages; suppressed by civil and religious powers until the mid-nineteenth century, only from then on were they able to express their faith and to reach out to the rest of Italy.
Caught up in the emigration phenomenon, they founded colonies (communities) in the region of Rio de la Plata (Uruguay and Argentina), and in North Caroline (USA).
Methodists have been in Italy since the 19th century.
After the Second World, the long-existing collaboration between these two churches was intensified.
In the year 1979 a Covenant of Federation was put into effect, uniting them into a single organization.
They share a common administration (known by ancient tradition as the Tavola Valdese), a Faculty of Theology, the college of pastors or ministers and a decision making assembly, the Synod.
The Waldensian and Methodist churches are members of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy (FCEI). The Waldensian and Methodist churches in Italy are expressed in three spheres, the same which are to be found in the statutory aims of the Waldensian Board: worship, teaching, social aid.
Like all Christian churches, the Waldensians take part in so called religious activities: ceremonies, services, assemblies.
The Sunday service, with the preaching of the Gospel as its focal point, remains at the centre of the life of the communities; the preaching is often followed by Holy Communion - often called The Lord's Supper.
The preaching is usually entrusted to ministers who have studied theology, but there are also lay preachers among the church members who undertake the task of Bible meditation.
An important part of the service is the singing of hymns by the congregation. It is a known fact that protestantism has developed musical expression and song more than any other religion.
Besides the Sunday services, there are many other meetings: Bible study,teaching, debates - often held according to the interests or the age of those present.