Spire, The Beacon on the Seine Spire
The Beacon on the Seine

Editor: Alison Benney

In this issue

Thoughts from Reverend Dr. Paul Rock, Senior Pastor

Remembering 9/11 at ACP, then and now, by Rose Marie Burke

With God’s help, by Rev. Don Lee, Visiting Pastor

Atelier concerts

Children’s Ministry: Anticipation, by Rev. Allison Wheeler, Director of Children’s Ministry

Thurber conversations in September

Scoring a dream at 14 Trévise, by Alison Benney

Journée du Patrimoine at ACP

ACP’s audio-visual ministry launches, by Daniel Grout

Rentrée update on the ACP budget, by Pam Bohl and Julián Acosta

A pathway forward: Constructive conversation on homosexuality and the Bible

The Alpha Course: Who will you invite? by MaryClaire King and Lisa Prevett

Wednesday Evening Adult Learning at ACP

The Chosen: Movie & Discussion Night series, by Daphne Elfferich

What's up in Paris, by Karen Albrecht

A capella auditions

ACP announcements

ACP Council


 

Thoughts from Reverend Dr. Paul Rock, Senior Pastor

Bonjour ACP Family!

We are finally here ‒ Stacey and I are in your beautiful city, in ACP's amazing apartment, and thoroughly enjoying this congregation and community up close and personal. This week was a wonderful one for landing at ACP with kids back in the church building for the first time in many months for Vacation Bible School (VBS). Thanks to Allison and all of the creative and gifted folks who have made this week special for the most precious members of our community. And a deep and sincere thank you to all of you who, in various and delicious ways, have welcomed us into our new life.

And, as is the case with new beginnings, there have been one or two challenges. One we've had to navigate is the infamous pass sanitaire. Initially, we were told by a helpful waiter that we could quickly get one by sharing our vaccination cards at the local pharmacy. At the pharmacy we were informed this wasn't possible. So, we endured the blessing of a covid test on the spot and with the negative result, received temporary license.

Two days later we heard the Hotel Dieu was set up to quickly transfer American vaccination cards into passes. We arrived early to take advantage only to learn it was no longer available. Thankfully, the brilliant and resourceful Heather Walter was with us and through Reddit, found the number of a pharmacy in the 11th arrondissement that could make things happen. So, we took two metros and walked a few blocks the magic apothecary and, voila! We've got the health pass.

The other challenge with the pass sanitaire is that, like some other aspects of this pandemic, it has been a source of confusion and division. That's one way to view it. But I think we can also view the pass as a form of liberation. We shall see. But now that there is an agreed-upon way to demonstrate a level of safety, maybe we can begin to find ways to come back together, safely and carefully, to experience the blessing and joy similar to what our VBS kids brought this week. 

I know this for sure ‒ however we begin to re-engage, it will be imperfect. I'm guessing there will be starts and stops, and even retreats, but it is hopeful to think that this fall we can begin to see and be with each other in new and old ways again. Either way, we are so very thankful to be here and if I don't see you this week, in person or online, maybe next week for la rentrée! Be safe, remain grounded in God's love, and lean into the hope that is ours this season and always,

Paul

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Remembering 9/11 at ACP, then and now, by Rose Marie Burke

Where were you on 9/11? For many of us, the memory still hurts. I was at home in Paris with my one-year-old daughter. My sister-in-law called, telling me to turn on the TV. I did for a moment, then turned it off, as if to spare my baby from the horror. My French landlady called to express condolences, as if I had been myself attacked.

In a way, part of me was gone forever. I worked at the World Financial Center, across the street from the twin towers of the World Trade Center ‒ my stop on the subway. On my bucket list was a ride up the WTC elevators, which I passed every weekday, to the Windows on the World. Because I decided to move to Paris, I was spared the worst, but was left with the loss and grief for my coworkers, the city, and the country. 

ACP Senior Pastor at the time, Larry Kalajainen, was in Bossey, Switzerland, sitting with a group of 10 pastors of international congregations and several academic theologians around a table at the Ecumenical Institute, deep in discussion about the resurrection of Jesus and its implications for ministry in the contemporary church. As soon as they learned of the attack, they rushed next door to watch the events unfold on TV. 

“I wish I could tell you that a group of pastors and theologians had some profound thoughts and insights that could help explain, help make the unspeakable a little less so, but I’m afraid that wasn’t, and isn’t, the case,” Rev. Kalajainen admitted in his sermon of 16 September, 2001. One pastor that evening in Switzerland said he prayed the Psalms of imprecation at times like these, such as Psalm 10, bringing his rage and desire for vengeance to God ‒ instead of to man. On that 11 Sept., 2001, there would be death, no resurrection, and many implications for ministry in today’s church.

Meanwhile, as Rev. Kalajainen struggled to get an earlier train to Paris (all flights were grounded), ACP was met with an outpouring of cards, letters, and phone calls expressing sympathy and solidarity. Flowers and candles began to cover the church steps. People steadily streamed into the sanctuary, kept open for several days, for prayer and mourning.

On 12 Sept., the Elysees Palace contacted ACP to say the French government wanted to show solidarity with the US by sponsoring an interreligious Service of Solidarity and Peace that would be nationally televised. Since it wasn’t possible to take the whole government to Washington, they decided to go to ACP, “a little piece of America in France.” The Palace contacted the various religious leaders they wanted to attend and had them meet with Rev. Kalajainen. At 18h30 on 13 Sept., President Jacques Chirac and other French officials, and religious leaders such as Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Great Mosque, and Joseph Sitruk, Chief Rabbi of Paris, filed into the pews, accompanied by TV crews. About 1,300 people packed into the church, Easter Sunday-style, and another 800 to 1,000 stood outside in pouring rain, with a public address system spreading messages of reconciliation, justice, and peace.

One year later

Peace was not on the minds of everyone at a memorial service one year later at the American Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. As Rev. Kalajainen tells it, his turn to speak came after rousing remarks by US Ambassador Howard Leach, urging support for the administration’s year-old "War on Terror.” In stark counterpoint to his compatriot, Rev. Kalajainen spoke about the Beatitude "Blessed are the peacemakers."

"The way to overcome terrorism is not to give in to our need to take revenge, not to make war, but to wage peace. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers,’ Jesus said, ‘for they shall be called children of God.’ "

10 years later

Organized by ACP, 100 or so Americans in Paris (including myself), assembled at a 9/11 remembrance the afternoon of 11 Sept. 2011 at the small replica of the Statue of Liberty on Ile aux Cygnes. That morning, then Senior Pastor Scott Herr gave a sermon, “What Has Happened.” By then, America had been entrenched in a war in Afghanistan for a decade, and the Iraq war was not yet over. There, I was able to grieve for the lost lives and see the scope of the wound in the American psyche. As Pastor Herr said:

“From early on, Christians were known for their willingness not just to talk about peace, but to give their lives for peace, to show Christ’s compassion and love even to their enemies. What has happened to that ethic?”

20 years later

And now, ACP will again hold a service of remembrance on Saturday, 11 Sept., at 16h in the sanctuary, followed by a Thurber conversation with Rev. Kalajainen and his wife Carol, Pastor John Rogers, and Music Director Fred Gramann – all serving ACP on that fateful day. As usual, ACP will be the morsel of America in Paris where we shelter our souls, share our pain and sorrow, and reflect on “what has happened.” By that date, the US plans to have left Afghanistan, leaving much undone and an uneasy peace.

What can we learn from it all? Rev. Kalajainen, in a recent interview for the Spire, said that although the US doesn’t seem to learn – Vietnam is a case in point – the country and people of God would do well to listen to the prophet Micah. He had these words for Israel, words the pastor shared on that first service of remembrance 20 years ago:

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

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With God’s help, by Rev. Don Lee, Visiting Pastor

Greetings from the fourth floor of ACP! After a long wait, Tana and I are finally able to join you in ministry here at ACP ‒ and we are delighted! Thank you for your many kindnesses as we arrived and settled into our apartment and began to get acquainted with staff and parishioners. My wife, Tana McDonald, and I are United Methodist clergy from California and have been residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, where our son, Adrian, also lives.

As you may know, I will be serving as Visiting Pastor for the next six months. Usually, the Visiting Pastor is one who performs many weddings. Of course, with the pandemic, there will be very few weddings for the time being. Which means I will be participating in various other ways that I pray will support you in your ministry and faith journey. Tana hopes to be a pastoral presence in recovery ministries here at ACP, as well as exploring our established prison ministry. Both Tana and I are interested in the creative arts as spiritual practice. We both feel so blessed to be with you here in Paris!

To give you a sense of how long we have been anticipating joining you, your former pastor, Scott Herr, was the one who arranged for me to serve here at ACP. Then the delays caused by the pandemic set in. After many months, Pastor Odette, who is a colleague and friend in California, let us know that the time had come. Then we experienced a severe delay in receiving our visas. These finally arrived on a Monday and the next day we were flying Air France to Paris. The long wait was over! Hallelujah!

Our sense of joy, though, is tempered by the difficulties so many face in the world around us. To pick up a newspaper these days is to become aware of terrible natural disasters that have overturned the lives of so many; of continued conflicts that ravage communities and nations; the suffering of those who are marginalized and struggling against seemingly unending odds; and, of course, the complications of the ongoing pandemic (including the significant resistance to vaccines and masks).

As partners in ministry with you at ACP, we hope we can make some small difference through our shared concerns and actions. With God’s help. Always with God’s help.

May your days ahead be filled with the joy and peace of Christ and may our lives together be a blessing powered by the Holy Spirit.

Grace and peace to you all,

Don

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Atelier concerts

 

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Children’s Ministry: Anticipation, by Rev. Allison Wheeler, Director of Children’s Ministry

Vacation Bible School triumphs

It was a privilege and a joy to welcome children back to the ACP for the first time since March of 2020 for last week's Vacation Bible School. They came to the church as children, and left as bonafide Knights of the North Castle! They quested for ‒ and discovered ‒ the King's Armor: The Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Justice, the Shoes of Peace, and the Shield of Faith.

None of this would have been possible without our wonderful team of volunteers consisting of artists and athletes, scientists and storytellers, who each gave their all to give our kids the kind of safe, welcoming, in-person experience that they have been missing these past months.

Children’s Worship reopening

We look toward continuing to roll out the welcome wagon for kids and their families as we prepare to re-open in person for Children's Worship! Our start date will be 5 September, when we will have CW at both the 11h and 14h services. This will also be the day of our Family Ministry Kick-Off Party, which will take place following the 11h service in the courtyard.

And speaking of safe in-person experiences, there are a few updates regarding child safety policy and practice that we would like to ensure all parents and guardians are aware of.

First, please note that all children who wish to participate in Children's Worship must be registered for the program. There is an annual registration, which must be done once each school year for each child, and which must be completed before children can be left in the CW team's care. This can be done through our website, or through the QR codes available in the bulletin.

Secondly, just as all persons attending in-person worship in the sanctuary must register weekly through our website, all children must be registered weekly for Children's Worship. This can be done through the same process used for registering for worship in the sanctuary, on ACP's website.

Finally, we are implementing a new check-in/check-out procedure for Children's Worship. On Sunday mornings, please plan on arriving 10-15 minutes early in order to check in your child/ren at our Children's Check-in Desk, which will be located in the stone portico (covered porch area just outside the sanctuary, facing the street).

At the Check-in Desk, you will be asked for your children's names, and whether you have completed your annual and your weekly registration.

Assuming that you have completed your weekly registration, your materials will be printed, ready, and available for you! You will receive a name tag for your child, which they must have visible in order to leave for their Children's Worship space. You will also receive a check-out ticket, which will have a number corresponding to the number printed on your child's name tag. Please keep this check-out ticket, as you must show it to your child's Children's Worship leader when you retrieve them after the service.

While these procedures are a significant change to our past practices, these are necessary changes to ensure the highest possible level of safety for all of our kids while they are in our care. I expect that it will take some time for all of us to get used to this new way of doing things, and I appreciate your patience and support while we climb this learning curve.

Please write to me with any questions that you may have (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), and I look forward with joy to seeing you and your children at the ACP once more!

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Thurber conversations in September

Thursday 9 September at 19h30

Never forget: 20 years past 9/11

Featuring Larry and Carol Kalajainen, John Rogers, and Fred Gramann

It's hard to comprehend that 20 years have passed since the horrifying attacks of September 11, 2001, and yet most of us remember where we were, what we experienced, and the grief and loss that impacted us so profoundly.

At this special ACP Community Conversation, we will be hearing from former pastor Larry Kalajainen and his wife Carol, pastor John Rogers, and Fred Gramann- all of whom were serving ACP on 11 September, 2001. This is a conversation you won't want to miss as you contemplate your own remembrances of the day and the weeks that followed.

Join us via Zoom as we learn of the outpouring of love that was showered upon the Church by the citizens of Paris, as we consider all of the pain and sorrow that needed tending to, and as we reflect upon the lessons that have been learned (or failed to learn) from this horrifying event.

To register for this Zoom only event please go to our website at http://acparis.org

Special note: A 9/11 Service of Remembrance will be held at the American Church in Paris on Saturday 11 September at 16h. All are welcome to attend.


Tuesday 21 September at 19h30

The Post-Pandemic Church

Featuring Jim Winkler, President and General Secretary of
the National Council of Churches in the United States

It's been 18 months since churches across the globe began to reinvent/restructure their ministries in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We're continuing to meet and function differently here at ACP. The questions many ask concerning our future are these:

What will the Church look like when the pandemic abates?

What will we have learned, and how will we function differently?

What new visions for the Church is God seeking to inspire within us, post-pandemic?

Join us in person at ACP, or online via Zoom as we hear from and interact with Jim Winkler.  Jim is a whimsically wise church leader who will be sharing some of the insights and reflections he has gleaned through his consistent engagement with pastors and churches across the globe.

As president and general secretary of the National Council of Churches, Jim oversees an ecumenical partnership of 38 Christian faith groups in the United States. Its member denominations, churches, conventions, and archdioceses include Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African-American, and Living Peace traditions – in a common commitment to advocate and represent God’s love and promise of unity in our public square.

To register to attend this Thurber conversation in person or via Zoom go to our website at http://acparis.org

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Scoring a dream at 14 Trévise, by Alison Benney


“Paris is the last place in the world for the young foreigner with loose or immature moral standards… The glamour and excitement of Bohemianism quickly sweep unguided and adventurous young folk off their feet.” – ACP pastor Joseph Cochran, 1931, Friendly Adventurers.

Reverend Cochran, who supervised the construction of the American Church in Paris, wrote that the church house was “designed to give students ample scope for healthful exercise and social intercourse in their leisure hours.” Its facilities included a bowling alley, billiards room, library, and sunken basketball court.

But the ACP wasn’t the first to create a community center in Paris with those lofty ideals. Constructed 40 years earlier, the Young Men’s Christian Association building at 14 rue Trévise, 9e, embodied the mission to “put Christian principles into practice through programs that develop a healthy spirit, mind and body.”

And while today’s modern YMCA elicits images of gleaming chrome and polished tiles, in the late 19th century the architecture was more about polished wood, iron beams, and stained glass, along with the recent innovation of electrical lighting. The Paris YMCA still houses one of the world’s first basketball courts and the fourth indoor swimming pool ever constructed in the city, along with lodging for students, community meeting rooms, and the Théâtre Trévise. Unfortunately, the center’s bowling alley, swimming pool, and fencing piste are no longer functional.

This marvelous historic monument will be open for visits during the Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days) on 18-19 September. It is well worth reserving a place now with architect and YMCA historian Christelle Bertho, who shared its fascinating history and anecdotes with me.

It was built in 1893 – 23 years after the Paris Commune, just before Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympics Committee, and a year before the Dreyfuss affair exploded. The original American Church building, on the rue de Berri, was only 16 years old, with Rev. Edward Thurber as pastor.

Five years earlier, American James Stokes, representing the International YMCA, had enthusiastically spearheaded the effort to establish a YMCA center in Paris. Inspired as a child by meeting the Marquis de Lafayette in New York City, and as an adult by the recent US-French cooperation on the Statue of Liberty, he donated $60,000 toward the building fund, on condition it be matched on the French side. The challenge was taken up by Alfred André, an ex-director of the Bank of France, and incidentally part of the Protestant family that founded the Musée Jacquemart-André.

The overseas effort was both personal and financial. A French architect, Emile Bénard, was sent to New York City to study the most advanced YMCA buildings, and an American sports director at the YMCA training school in Springfield, Massachusetts, was sent to Paris to train instructors onsite. Much of the gym’s sports equipment was shipped over from the US, including a vaulting horse, a balance bar, and a horizontal ladder.

Construction started in 1891 and the building for the “Union Chrétienne de Jeunes Gens” was inaugurated in 1893. The basement housed its sports facilities: a fully equipped gymnasium, running track, fencing piste, swimming pool, and two bowling alleys. On one side of the main floor is the 270-seat theater, on the other the residence halls, and in the middle a grand staircase leading up to three more floors, with airy meeting rooms and a kitchen. There was even a medical service at one point, plus a “crémerie” where one could buy eggs, milk, cheese, and coffee.

Foreign correspondent and American Church member Emma Bullitt toured the YMCA facilities in 1894 with expat L.P. Twyeffort – a member of the family that was so instrumental in building the ACP, and provided our two Christmas windows.

Bullitt wrote an article for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle describing her visit to the Paris YMCA: “For one who is accustomed to the massive Paris stone houses, that of the Union Chretienne is a revelation; it is a crystal palace made of iron and glass, most perfectly constructed for comfort and hygiene… To my knowledge this is the only house in Paris where the kitchen is situated [upstairs] where the odors go straight to heaven.”

In fact, the inexpensive canteen was so popular at the time that the staircase got an extra handrail for those in the queue to set their newspapers on as they waited.

Members paid a small annual fee, and could apply for lodging and sign up for many different classes, such as woodworking, painting, and music. Gym classes included wrestling, boxing, calisthenics, and even military training.

And yes, basketball, which was invented two years earlier at the YMCA training school in Springfield, MA. In 1891, James Naismith, a Canadian-American sports teacher there, was challenged to create a vigorous team sport that could be played indoors. He famously used a leather soccer ball and two peach baskets set on a running track at a 10-foot height, which remains the standard today. After polishing the rules of the game, such as forbidding players to tackle or punch anyone on the other team, Naismith penned 13 regulations for Basket Ball, most of which still stand.

Not long after the Paris YMCA opened its doors, similar baskets were installed in the gym, and the first-ever European basketball game was played in Paris.

But today the 130-year-old structure is feeling its age, and badly needs renovation. Plans, permits, and funding drives are underway to restore this “crystal palace.” They include a dream to revive the US/French partnership, with a goal to have the building functioning anew for visitors during the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The Journées de Patrimoine, 18-19 September, present a unique opportunity to explore this historical edifice, whose birthright is so closely tied to the ACP’s. Read more about its history at https://ymca-paris.fr, about the renovations at https://ymca14trevise.paris, and reserve a visit here www.weezevent.com/la-ymca-paris-aux-journees-europeennes-du-patrimoine-2021.

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Journée du Patrimoine at ACP

1

Happy birthday to the ACP! Our building was dedicated on 6 September 1931, so it is 90 years old this month. While appreciating the beauty of our neo-gothic sanctuary, how much do you really know about the American Church building and its heritage?

For instance, how old is the magnificent Beckenrath organ – and how many pipes does its façade house?

Where can you find – and open – the smallest stained-glass windows in the church?

Where did music director Edmund Pendleton hide when German troops came to arrest him in 1942?

Who are the figures represented on our pulpit?

Where was the very first lift in the church located, and why?

You can get the answers to these questions and more on Saturday 18 September, between 10h-16h, when we show off our history and heritage. The occasion is the Journées du Patrimoine, or Heritage Days, the weekend that Europe opens its doors to the public. This year’s theme is “Heritage for all” and you can find the full schedule of events at https://journeesdupatrimoine.culture.gouv.fr/. Most visits this year will require reservation and the passe sanitaire, so take a look online and create your own weekend schedule of discovery.

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ACP’s audio-visual ministry launches, by Daniel Grout

Dear ACP friends,

When you enter the sanctuary after September 9th, you will be surprised to see scaffolding on one side of the sanctuary and then moved to the other side after several weeks!

After many years of discussions, research and prayerful reflection about fixing 1930s lighting and inaudible sound, our AFCU friends made it possible for us to think on an even bigger scale so that we can live into ACP’s mission and ministry for the future!

Beginning 9 September, we will:

  1. Upgrade the sound system, to be more appropriate and flexible for all aspects of worship: voice, music, and livestreaming. Many of you have attended worship services in which it was difficult to hear the pastors and other speakers, and those of you who have attended the 14h contemporary worship service have suffered from poor sound and sometimes no sound. We have brilliant musicians whose music has been distorted or muted. We are replacing the whole system with high quality equipment to make the most of the acoustics in our magnificent sanctuary.
  2. Update the lighting in a way that will transform our sanctuary. Our music director worked with a professional lighting company, and has drawn different scenarios for worship, concerts, conferences, events. Generous donors have even come forward to bring light to the stained-glass windows of the sanctuary.
  3. Install the necessary equipment to enable ACP to livestream worship services, concerts, and weddings, and to produce other events in the sanctuary that further ACP’s mission.

All this work will allow ACP to have a sanctuary able to build our ministry, fulfill our needs for the 21st century and more.

Thank you in advance for your patience, and please join the effort and the excitement of all the work being done for ACP’s Audio-Visual Ministry Project. For more information and for ways to engage in the project, please contact Daniel Grout or Pastor Paul Rock. Additional information will be forthcoming as the project progresses.

We hope to complete the project before Christmas so that we can all enjoy a “new” church in great celebration!

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Rentrée update on the ACP budget, by Pam Bohl and Julián Acosta

It’s always such a joy when our congregation returns to the ACP at the rentrée. We are thrilled to welcome our new Senior Pastor, Paul Rock, and his wife, Stacey Perkins Rock. This blessing of a highly-qualified senior pastor chosen by vote of our membership is made possible from the generous and continued support of our friends at the AFCU.

Please read Daniel Grout’s article about the launch of the Audio-Visual Ministry. Because of a special appeal by the AFCU, we are finally able to realize this project that has been in our dreams (but not possible within our budget) for many years.

We have great hopes for a continued return to a more normal flow of worship services, music, classes, special programs, and just being together here at ACP. While many of the things we love to do together have been “on hold” for a so long, most of the costs of running the church have continued. We need to revisit the 2021 net deficit budget of -€121k that was approved at the congregational meeting back in April.

Recall that our three primary sources of funding are congregational giving, rentals of our facilities, and wedding blessings.

  • Through the end of July congregational giving was €263k compared to the approved annual budget of €680k.
  • Through the end of July rental revenues were just under €200k while our annual budget is €418k. Through the end of the year, we expect to be about €30k under budget.
  • Through the end of July revenues from wedding blessings were only €3k. The pandemic has continued to impact bookings significantly and the sanctuary will be under renovation for the audio-visual project until December. Hence, we expect to be about €80k under budget on this important pre-Covid source of revenue.

We have so much to be thankful for and so many wonderful things we hope to be able to do together soon after the rentrée. We just need to be mindful that the ACP also needs each one of us to prayerfully consider our ability to contribute to help meet the congregational giving budget and also help to make up for some of the shortfall in the other key sources of funding. Together we can succeed and enjoy the rich blessings of our amazing community of faith.

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A pathway forward: Constructive conversation on homosexuality and the Bible

Every second Thursday beginning 23 September via Zoom, 19h30-21h00

Join us for a 5-week study of seven key Bible texts that stir the hearts and minds of Christians across the globe, and unfortunately, too often leave the church divided. Some may believe an exploration of the Biblical texts relating to same sex-relationship is too big of a hot-button issue, one that will only lead to more division. Yet here at ACP we believe a study such as this is not about an issue... it's about a face, a person, a family member, a friend, a colleague, a child of God.

Each week one of your ACP pastors will guide the study and discussion of the key texts, in the hope that our time together in study will enrich our understanding of what it means for us to be a welcoming/inclusive church.

Whether you have strong views, confused views, or unexamined views on same sex-relationships you're welcome to join us every other Thursday this autumn via Zoom. Please register for this Bible Study that begins on 23 September, via our acparis.org website.     

23 September: Noah and Ham ‒ Genesis 9, and Sodom and Gomorrah ‒ Genesis 19
7 October: The Holiness Codes ‒ Leviticus 18 and 20
21 October: The Roman Context ‒ Romans 1
4 November: The Great Debate ‒ I Corinthians 6 and I Timothy 1
18 November: A constructive conversation about what we've learned.

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The Alpha Course: Who will you invite? by MaryClaire King and Lisa Prevett

Globally, over 1.5 million people have participated in an online Alpha Course since the pandemic forced us to move online. Here at ACP, each of our online courses have brought together guests from three continents. As Rev. Nicky Gumbel says, the move to online Alpha is the best opportunity to share the gospel since Gutenberg!

This September we are launching a 21-Days of Prayer campaign for Alpha, and we are asking every member of ACP to pray for three people you would like to invite to join the Alpha course. If you are not immediately sure who to pray for, we encourage you to ask God who He wants you to invite, ask Him for courage to approach that colleague or family member, ask Him if you should attend.

But perhaps you are not sure what exactly Alpha is. Alpha is for everyone! Whether you curious about Christianity or someone who has been going to church for a long time, the Alpha Course provides a safe space to ask questions, share opinions and learn more about the Christian faith in a relaxed, informal and friendly environment. No question is too big or too hostile!

Running in English and French, the course uses small groups and the Alpha film series, which has proven to be very popular with guests. It features interviews and testimonies from a wide variety of people, including Francis Collins, Bear Grylls, Jackie Pullinger and Father Raniero Cantalamessa. Each week the video looks at a different question about faith, including “Why Did Jesus Die?” and “Does God Heal Today?”, and takes us on a journey around the globe, as we explore the meaning of life and ask challenging questions about the Christian faith.

This fall the course will begin online on Monday, 27 September and runs for 11 weeks from 20h to 22h. If you or someone you know has questions, is searching for answers about life and faith, or wants to revitalize their faith, why not sign up and go for an amazing adventure from your home. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions for to register.

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Wednesday Evening Adult Learning at ACP

Everybody always! Becoming love in a world full of setbacks and difficult people

Beginning 15 September, from 19h30-21h via Zoom

As we learn and grow together at ACP this autumn, we're going to stretch ourselves and challenge one another to deepen our love for the people God loves. Let's face it...it's easy to love kind, lovely, humble people, but we'll need to tackle our fear in order to love people who are difficult for us to handle. Perhaps we'll learn to love them without seeking to handle them.

Using curriculum based on Bob Goff's New York Times best seller Everybody Always- each week we'll hear from our Christian brother Bob and then discuss and discern the ways Jesus might be prompting us to learn, grow, and change.

Join us for a 6-week large-group exploration of learning to love extravagantly, and then get to know others who are making the journey of faith with you through regular small group breakout sessions.

15 September: Love People Where You Are
22 September: Catch People on the Bounce
29 September: Don't Play It Safe
6 October: Look at What's in Your Bucket
13 October: Love Even the Difficult People
20 October: Loving Others Live! (A live pot-luck canape party at the Fondell's home upstairs at ACP, with Zoom participation for those who cannot gather live.)

Bob Goff says, “Following Christ means more than just putting a toe in the water when it comes to loving others. It means grabbing your knees and doing a cannonball!” And, as Jesus revealed in the Gospels, it means learning to love even the ones who are difficult to love. Our Everybody Always journey will provide practical steps to help us make that cannonball leap of faith.

Please register for this Wednesday Evening Adult Learning Series by going to acparis.org.

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The Chosen: Movie & Discussion Night series, by Daphne Elfferich

The All Church Fellowship group will be back with monthly social meetings in person soon, God-willing, with an Indian summer picnic and board-game nights in autumn. Many of us haven't seen each other for a long time!

We're looking forward to meeting many of you who signed up to the Fellowship Group over the past year or are new in Paris and haven't met their ACP family in person yet, know you will be warmly welcomed by your brothers and sisters in Christ!

For now, I'm excited to announce our Movie and Discussion Nights are starting back up, though still on Zoom, weekly from Sunday 26 September through 12 December, from 19h-21h. We'll be watching the renowned series “The Chosen,” get ready for 12 weeks of the entire series, seasons 1 & 2.

You might be familiar with this highly successful international crowd-funded movie series about the life of Jesus and the disciples. It is a surprisingly human and beautifully filmed portrait of our Lord and Savior, bringing to life the people and the many stories we read about in the Bible. See the trailer here: https://youtu.be/K1-FoFj8Jbo

Each episode is a story of its own, no commitment required, join whenever you feel like it!

To receive the Zoom link please sign up to the All Church Fellowship group at the Church Planning Center: https://acparis.churchcenter.com/groups/fellowship-and-community-groups/all-church-fellowship-group

After the movie is finished, please stay connected, we'll switch back to 'gallery' screen for discussion time and close in prayer. We hope this Movie & Discussion Night series is a blessing to you as we get to know Jesus and his disciples better as well as each other!

Season 1
Episode 1       "I Have Called You by Name"
Episode 2+3   "Shabbat" & "Jesus Loves the Little Children"
Episode 4       "The Rock on Which It Is Built"
Episode 5       "The Wedding Gift"
Episode 6+7   "Indescribable Compassion" & "Invitations"
Episode 8       "I Am He"

Season 2
Episode 1       "Thunder"
Episode 2       "I saw You"
Episode 3+4   "Matthew 4:24" & "The Perfect Opportunity"
Episode 5+6   "Spirit" & "Unlawful"
Episode 7       "Reckoning" 
Episode 8       "Beyond Mountains"

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What’s up in Paris, by Karen Albrecht

1River of dreams

Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado's luscious black-and-white photography portrays human beings caught up in relentless processes that dwarf, yet magnify, their very humanity. Salgado spent seven years among different indigenous groups, producing "Amazônia": breathtaking river and rainforest landscapes, portraits brimming with poetry and personality, and sober yet moving videos in which elders evoke the fearsome forces lurking at edges of their pristine world. The soundtrack by Jean-Michel Jarre weaves together a veritable symphony of forest sounds.

Until 31 October, philharmoniedeparis.fr

 


1It's a wrap

Back in 1961 a brash young Bulgarian dreamed up a scheme to "wrap" Paris’s Arc de Triomphe. Christo went on to earn worldwide fame for wrapping Berlin's Reichstag and even wrapping islands in Florida. He died in 2020, but his early dream will finally come true this month, when the Arc de Triomphe is covered in 25,000 m2 of recyclable silver-blue polypropylene and 3,000 meters of bright red cord. The monument will remain open to visitors... at least those with a reservation, and a "Pass Sanitaire."

18 September-3 October, www.paris-arc-de-triomphe.fr


1Glimpses of Paris past

The Musée Carnavalet, devoted to the history of Paris, is celebrating its reopening after four long years of renovations with classic photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson, the former war reporter who turned his lens on the French capital. The iconic black-and-white shots range from spirited students marching through the Latin Quarter in May 1968 to a dapper Jean-Paul Sartre meditatively pulling on his pipe atop the Pont des Arts.

Until 31 October, www.carnavalet.paris.fr

 


1Art in the round

In May the richly endowed Fondation Pinault opened its long-awaited art space in the 18th-century rotunda of the Bourse du Commerce at Les Halles. The inaugural show (which is in fact 13 exhibitions in one) features works specially designed to highlight the unique space created by superstar architect Tadao Ando. Upstairs, stunning paintings of a lavishly diverse line-up of human subjects bask in splendid natural light from the skylit dome.

Until 31 December, www.pinaultcollection.com

 


1Look up... and around

Many familiar local venues, including our own ACP (see above), take part in the annual Heritage Days, but the event actually includes architectural gems throughout France – and Europe. The recurring theme "Look up!" reminds us that striking architecture is everywhere. Why not try fanning out into surrounding regions to discover romantic castles and abbeys? And bypass long lines at Paris's aristocratic mansions in favor of oddly elegant industrial temples, like the Menier chocolate factory in suburban Noisiel.

18-19 September, journeesdupatrimoine.culture.gouv.fr

 


1Get set to pull an all-nighter

The schedule is still in the works, but the city has confirmed that the 20th annual "Nuit Blanche" will indeed take place on Saturday 2 October, spilling into the wee hours of Sunday 3 October. Past attractions have included concerts, light shows, Seine-side performance art, a midnight museum crawl and even some events beyond the Périphérique. The 2020 edition brought masks and social distancing into the act; this year's must-have accessory will be the "Pass Sanitaire".

Saturday 2 October, quefaire.paris.fr/nuitblanche

 

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A capella auditions

1Ensemble Lumina was formed in 2014 and is an auditioned, amateur a cappella chamber choir. Our multicultural membership lends itself well to a multinational blend of both sacred and secular choral works, including compositions in English, German, French, Finnish, Latvian, Russian, Bulgarian, Gaelic, and other languages, written by composers from around the world and across all eras.

Rehearsals are held on Tuesday evenings throughout the musical season (September to June), with occasional Saturday morning workshops in addition

Caroline Drury has directed Ensemble Lumina since its creation. Caroline has a strong musical background, both as a formally-trained singer and a skilled instrumentalist. She has made a number of appearances as conductor, soprano, and pianist, in the US, Europe, and the Middle East.

Over the last six years, Ensemble Lumina has consisted of between 17-20 voices. Given the focus on a cappella works, often with multiple divisi lines, Caroline is particularly attentive to the voice part (SATB) balance and the blend of the individual voices across all parts. Auditions (for prospective members) and re-auditions (for returning members) are conducted in early September. Audition registration is now open for the 2021-2022 season, at http://ensemblelumina.fr/auditions/

For more information, see http://ensemblelumina.fr/ or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

NB: We will respect the health protocols determined by the French government and the ACP administrators. A valid pass sanitaire will be required and, we will be singing with approved masks and appropriately distanced.

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ACP announcements

ACP Rentrée Café, 10 September at 19h30 in ACP’s courtyard

Celebrate the rentrée with live music in the courtyard, featuring Devon Graves, Sienna Ball, Purple Sawdust, and more. Free admission. Carolina dogs and beverages for purchase. Passe sanitaire required.


Bloom event autumn 2021

We regret to inform the ACP community that the digital Bloom event that was scheduled for October 16, 2021 has been postponed due to a lack of volunteer support. If you'd like to work on Bloom in the future or have questions about the current situation, please direct your questions to Pastor Jodi at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Let's welcome newcomers!

If you have a desire to contribute to a warm and hospitable welcome for newcomers at ACP, please consider volunteering at our welcome table. We are rebuilding this ministry and are happy to find more table hosts for after the 11h00 and 14h00 worship services. Contact Pastor Jodi at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you'd like to volunteer.


Youth group reconvenes, Sunday 5 September

We are kicking off the 2021-22 year with pizza and refreshments. Join us in the ACP Theater, from 12h30-14h, where you can see your old friends face to face, meet the leaders, and meet other parents. Yes, parents are invited too!

We will have a short chat to introduce our new Youth and Young Adults Pastor, Elizabeth Murray, who will arrive in person in October. We'll give you a preview for next month's schedule, and you'll have the chance to ask questions.

Parents, please feel free to bring a refreshment or snack to share with the group. We will provide some as well, but the more the merrier! Don't forget your pass sanitaire.


ACP Today radio shows coming up

Monday 6 September: Alison Benney and Pastor Doug Fondell co-host, with reflections on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks; the 90th birthday of the ACP building, plus a discussion of the rentrée’s upcoming events.

Monday 20 September: Amit Pieter and Kate Snipes discuss the Alpha Course starting soon, plus the upcoming Thurber conversation on the post-pandemic church with Jim Winkler, president of the National Council of Churches.

Listen in directly at frequenceprotestante.com/ecouter-en-direct or at your convenience at www.acparis.org.


ACP Movie Discussion Group

Date: Thursday, 16 September, 19h30 on Zoom

Films to see on Netflix: Vivo, Beckett, Fantastic Fungi

To see in cinemas: Free Guy, Reminiscence, Un Triomphe

For more information and to receive the Zoom invitation: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Sunday Worship

Traditional Worship is in the Sanctuary at 11h, and is livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube (see acparis.org for links).

Contemporary Worship is in the Sanctuary at 14h.

Registration is required for both Worship in the Sanctuary services, as is the passe sanitaire.


Volunteer Editor for The Spire

ACP's thriving monthly magazine The Spire is looking for a volunteer editor-in-chief. The ideal candidate or team is skilled at content planning, text layout, photo-editing, graphics design, copy-editing, and proofreading. The position requires a native English speaker with a good grasp of French, excellent writing skills, good interpersonal skills, and sharp attention to detail. Interested? Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


If you love history, telling stories, and sharing the beauty of the American Church in Paris, join our ACP tour-guide team for Journées Européenes du Patrimoine, Saturday 18 September. Contact Alison at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


For more announcements, please see www.acparis.org, or the weekly ACP Church Bulletin posted online for each worship service at www.acparis.org.

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ACP Council

 

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