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

Editor: Alison Benney

In this issue

Surfing the waves of the Spirit at ACP, by Rev. Dr. Paul Rock, Senior Pastor

Missions and ministries, by Revs. Doug and Jodi Fondell, Interim Associate Pastors

Better nows, by Rev. Don Lee, Visiting Pastor

Forty years together, by Rev Tana McDonald, Visiting Pastor spouse

Creation: What we must learn before the Earth burns, by Rose Marie Burke

ACP Mission Outreach

Welcome dinners for refugees, by Ursula Perrier

Toussaint in Montmartre, by Rebecca Brite

The Atelier Concert Series: An interview with Fred Gramann, by Rev. Don Lee, Visiting Pastor

Thurber Coversation: Hope for people who are weary of violence!

ACP update

Youth and Young Adult Update

ACP’s financial storehouse, by Julián Acosta and Pam Bohl, ACP Finance, Stewardship and Development Committee

What's up in Paris, by Karen Albrecht

ACP announcements

ACP Staff Collage


 

Surfing the waves of the Spirit at ACP, by Rev. Dr. Paul Rock, Senior Pastor

On the one hand, it feels like Stacey and I have been here… maybe two weeks. So much has happened in our lives, we’re learning and taking in so much, it’s been an absolute rush. On the other hand, it feels like we’ve been here for years ‒ and that’s because this feels so much like home. We love it. And I want to say again how thankful we are for the generous, gracious and warm welcome we have received from this community. You have embodied God’s love. Thank you for the notes, the good advice, the smiles and kindly reminding us of your name ‒ even when meeting you for the fifth time!

As you may know, over the past two weeks, John Newman has helped us set up regular Zoom meetings of 10 in order for me to get to know you and your hopes for the church. We have so enjoyed using this tool the pandemic taught us all to use as a way to connect more personally and mask-free. Each one of you has a unique story and perspective, and your investment in this wonderful community is both evident and attractive. I’ve been scratching notes during each meeting ‒ logging the insights for how ACP can use this transitional season to become a better version of ourselves: more loving, creative, welcoming and inclusive in Jesus’ name. You are an impressive bunch! If you have not yet signed up for one of these one-hour Zoom small groups, I encourage you to do so ‒ I’d love to get to know you better. Sign up acparis.org/signups.

In worship, I’m really enjoying our walk together through the Acts of the Apostles, gleaning lessons from the first century on how we renovate and rebuild the post-pandemic church. Visual and tactile evidence of this rebuilding is being awkwardly provided by the massive and moving scaffolding in our sanctuary! We are truly a community under construction, open to new ways of translating our ancient faith to a world very much in need of healing, hope, and reconciliation.

As we adapt, sit in new pews, make adjustments, and accommodate work in our beautiful sanctuary, my prayer is that we would all really, truly be open to the new thing that Christ is seeking to build within and among us. But here’s the thing I’ve learned about God actually doing new, bigger and more holy things in the church: It is uncomfortable. And we don’t like it. We probably (at first) won’t even agree with it. So, if you find yourself agreeing with everything that’s going on or if you find yourself shifting in ways that are comfortable, that’s a good sign we’re not letting God change us.

Friends, sisters, brothers, may God give us the fortitude and faith to stay curious, a willingness to sit with the uncomfortable, and open to the new thing the Spirit is doing in her Church. When the scaffolding comes down, let us say about our sanctuary and ourselves ‒ Let there be new sound and light!

May it be so,
Paul

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Missions and ministries, by Revs. Doug and Jodi Fondell, Interim Associate Pastors

Dear ACP church family,

The mid-pandemic rentrée has proven to be full and a bit crazy! The eagerness to resume gatherings has created an energy that is wonderful and exciting, but also a bit fatiguing as we learn how to navigate safely new ways of being together. After not booking rooms or recruiting volunteers for live events for over a year, this autumn season is filled with challenges and opportunities related to how we begin to lean into a more robust season of ministry in the midst of all the change and adjustment we've experienced.

Finding the balance between offering a full range of programs for learning, fellowship, and deepening our relationships with God and others, alongside promoting some time for quiet reflection and healthier rhythms of life, is not always an easy dance to learn but it is indeed a worthwhile endeavor.

Christian Education and Community Life: Many great opportunities for connection and growth are available. Our hope is that one of our study groups or fellowship opportunities will be a place of growth and connection for many different people in our church. We are keeping our studies online as it does allow many more people to join during the week. You can join anytime, but please register on the website in order to get the Zoom links and class updates.

Thurber Lectures: We have a wonderful line-up of speakers for this autumn. On 28 October we welcome activist and theologian Shane Claiborne in a fully digital format. On 30 November Diana Butler Bass will join us via Zoom. The gift of digital connections is our ability to book top shelf scholars, activists, and theologians at a much-reduced cost and with shorter lead time.

Newcomers: We continue to develop a newcomers’ spot for visitors on Sunday morning. The goal is to have a designated space where visitors and newcomers can find a friendly face and make an easy connection to ACP, as well as get some questions answered. An opportunity to fill out an “I'm New Here” form is presented, and from there a letter from a pastor goes out via email. If you would like to be a newcomer table host, please contact Pastor Jodi.

We are not immune to the effects of the changes, the challenges, the shifts, and the transitions that ACP is experiencing, but through it all, we trust that God remains in the center of it all. ACP belongs to God and we are grateful that we have been entrusted to lead and grow alongside the rest of you. We will continue to faithfully serve you to the best of our ability and look forward to a fruitful season of ministry even as the winds of change continue to blow.

In Christ,
Pastors Jodi and Doug

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Better nows, by Rev. Don Lee, Visiting Pastor

Greetings friends at ACP! By the time you read this, Tana and I will have been with you for two months... with four to go. Goodness, how time flies!

One of the things I have noticed these past two months is that there is so much to celebrate! Yes, we continue to navigate a season of constant change due to Covid and construction ‒ and change can be unsettling for sure. At the same time, the changes we are experiencing are certainly causes to celebrate.

We can celebrate the continued relaxation of Covid restrictions both in the city and in the church, as well as be grateful for the careful work the Covid Task Force has done to keep us all safe. Now we sing in worship. Now there are children in our classrooms. Now we can gather in small groups. And so much more. To add to the “nows,” we can look to the days ahead as being even better!

While the scaffolding in the Sanctuary is a distraction for most of us, it also portends a soon-to-be realized improved sound and lighting system, along with the ability to more effectively live-stream worship services to those who are unable to attend. You know, folks from all over the world have enjoyed participating in worship through the current live-stream capabilities. That enjoyment will only grow as the project comes to completion.

If you can’t find a seat in the Sanctuary on Sunday morning, then head up to the Thurber Room where we are live-streaming the service with excellent sound and video. In this beautiful room, we can experience an intimacy that is distinctively refreshing.

So, let’s celebrate! The Spirit is moving! The church is “under construction” and preparing for a new day. As the apostle Paul reminds us, God is doing a new thing! Hallelujah!

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Forty years together, by Rev Tana McDonald, Visiting Pastor spouse

Greetings in Christ, ACP family. Exuberant thanks to all you good people that have warmly welcomed Don and me into the life of mission and ministry here in Paris. Beginning with Martha and Jorg's big smiles and helping hands as we rolled out of the taxi at the church steps, we were enfolded in love. We look forward to a fruitful time with you, serving the God who is still speaking, and trust that we will be guided surely forward.

In the picture attached we are in the Sierra Mountains in California, where over 20 years ago our United Methodist Bishop Melvin Talbert appointed us to serve. We moved to Grass Valley, a foothill community with some of the oldest United Methodist Churches in California dotting the region. A primary reason for founding these early churches was that gold had drawn thousands of people into the area. Grass Valley had the richest gold mines in California during the famed gold rush era in the mid-1800s. Local lore has it that Grass Valley gold was responsible for building San Francisco. There likely is at least some truth to that.

Don and I served different churches and circuits across 150 miles of mountains and valleys. In fact, our time here at ACP is the first time we've been in a church together since we were ordained. For 22 years of church, hospital, and community service we did not live together. However, we did learn to successfully “date” and have been richly blessed by diverse ministry and mission opportunities. And thanks to a creative God, on 15 October we will celebrate 40 years together.

One of my ministries was an appointment to Indian Valley. I served three churches in this rugged wild high-altitude area: Chester, Greenville, and Taylorsville UMC. I often think of it as 4-wheel-Jeep-with-snow-tires land. Learning to drive in ice, snow, and very dangerous conditions was a necessity. Indian Valley is the home of a large Rancheria (a type of Indian reservation) composed primarily of the Mountain Maidu tribe, but with at least eight other tribes included.

Part of the work the three churches undertook while I was there was working with the tribal leaders to determine if they had needs we might be able to assist with. We spent about a year in discernment together and the outcome was a partnership with Sierra Service Project, a mission group of teenagers trained in home repairs and light construction. Elder housing repairs and wheelchair ramps were identified as needs by tribal leaders. This was within the skill sets of some of the teen mission groups. For two summers, approximately 600 teens with their leaders came in groups of 100 per week to stay at the Greenville Church. Worship, work, and fellowship made for a very busy week. Amazingly, at the end of the two years, almost all of the tribal elder housing was complete. Perhaps I need to say I was stepping with trepidation into a whole new ministry area. The sleepless nights of the prophet Isaiah 6:8 echoed in my head: Whom shall I send? NOT ME. Okay, really me, but HELP! 

Throughout ministry, I have felt great trepidation, but also a trust in God to serve as best I can. Often, I have been called to do things for which I have no experience or training. Such is the call, to trust in our creative God to see beyond what we cannot even yet imagine.

I'm looking forward to our ministry in Paris together. Trusting.
Rev. Tana

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Creation: What we must learn before the Earth burns, by Rose Marie Burke

The earth turns gaunt and gray,
    the world silent and sad,
    sky and land lifeless, colorless.

Earth is polluted by its very own people,
    who have broken its laws,
Disrupted its order,
    violated the sacred and eternal covenant.
Therefore a curse, like a cancer,
    ravages the earth.
Its people pay the price of their sacrilege.
    They dwindle away, dying out one by one.

Isaiah 24:4-6

The flash floods, the summer hail, the tornados, and the bouts of searing heat. We are witnessing the loss of life, livelihoods, homes, and farms because of climate change. Just this summer, at least 170 and counting were killed in floods in Germany and Belgium, and more in France. In the US, wildfires burned more than 2 million acres in the West, and one of the strongest hurricanes to hit land left a path of destruction from Louisiana to Manhattan. A heat wave broiled the Pacific Northwest and Canada with temperatures over 49 Celsius (121 Fahrenheit).

But those are first-world problems. In just one example of “climate injustice,” the island nation of Haiti has been decimated by storm after storm, unable to rebound. It is only one country suffering terribly from climate change caused mostly by rich countries. For example, Asia accounted for about half of the more than 5 million deaths a year associated with extreme cold or hot temperatures between 2000 and 2019, according to a recent article in The Lancet Planetary Health. That doesn’t include deaths from storms, starvation, or other climate impacts.

There’s no denying anymore that climate change is destroying creation. It’s now “code red” for humanity, according to the latest report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

What can we do as people of God? As Pastor Tim Heishman writes, commenting on Isaiah 24:4-6

‘’We know from the larger story of God’s relationship with humanity that there is always an opportunity to repent, to turn around, and to enter into a more life-giving relationship with God. Learning is one way to repent… Are you willing to learn?’’

The coming weeks offer many chances to learn. Leaders of countries around the world are gathering to meet in Glasgow in November at COP26 (Conference of the Parties to climate accords) to deal with the crisis. This annual meeting was canceled last year because of the pandemic. And, countries have not met the commitments they made two years ago at COP25. The world has lost much time in denial and foot dragging ‒ and disinformation.

The oil and gas giant Exxon was caught recently bragging about its climate lies as well as its lobbying to turn US senators against President Joe Biden’s climate plans. Ironically, Exxon was a pioneer in climate change research in the 1970s and 1980s. When the message became clear that fossil fuels would lead to cataclysmic climate change, Exxon shut the researchers down. Instead, it began to sow disinformation and doubt. In October, oil companies will testify in a US House hearing about their behavior.

What are the world’s religions doing? In a first, leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion made a joint statement to warn of the urgency of environmental sustainability, its impact on poverty, and the importance of global cooperation. They called to pray for leaders at COP26 and urged everyone to play their part in safeguarding the future of the planet: “We must decide what kind of world we want to leave to future generations. We must choose to live differently; we must choose life.”

Following the lead of about 2,000 churches from 40 denominations in the UK and Ireland to hold a ‘’Climate Sunday,’’ ACP is working on a similar effort. We’re joining hands with sister American churches in Berlin and London as well as the Unitarian Universalists in Paris and Quakers in France to embrace creation in some way during the month of October. This is one of the first efforts of what we hope to be a creation care ministry at ACP, where we may continue learning, well after COP26, about creation theology and action, to stir our souls on to a more sustainable future for all of God’s creation.

To learn more:

  • Come to ACP on 31 October for Climate Sunday.
  • See “I am Greta,” a biopic that follows Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist from Sweden, now showing in Paris. Contact the ACP movie group at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to join a discussion about this and other movies the group will see for its October meeting.
  • Connect with ACP members Monica Bassett and Lionel Montoliu for a Zoom talk on 2 November, 19h30-21h, about their new life in an ecovillage in Dordogne, where they are drastically cutting consumption (see 06planet.org/fr/ for more info).
  • Join the creation care ministry. Write us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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ACP Mission Outreach

It has been cleverly said that God doesn’t have a mission for the church in the world, but that he has a church for his mission in the world! We are trying to be that kind of church, one that extends the love of God outside of our own beautiful four walls. Indeed, our congregation has been a generous force for many years now, even in pandemic times we have given of ourselves and finances to meet needs at home and abroad.

In the months to come we will highlight some of the many endeavors we believe in so that together we can be better informed to pray, give and get involved. You will hear about serving the city of Paris, sheltering refugees over the cold winter months, prison ministry, blessing impoverished children in Uganda, and much more! Stay tuned and be ready to be a part of God’s mission in the world. – Peter DeWit

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Welcome dinners for refugees, by Ursula Perrier

Jesus said to the host who had invited him, “When you hold a lunch or dinner… invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; and blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.” – Luke 14:12-14

You may have already heard of, hosted, or attended an ACP Welcome Dinner. But if not, here's a little background information. The Welcome Dinners for refugees started at ACP in September 2018 and continued monthly until the Covid lockdown in March 2020 when the program was put on hold. Now, the ACP Mission Outreach Committee along with its partner on this program, the Jesuit Refugee Service, is ready to resume these Welcome Dinners.

The purpose of the dinners is to bring together refugees living in and around Paris and fellow ACP-goers and their friends, in a warm, casual setting. Dinners typically (but not necessarily) include eight people: the ACP host, three of his/her friends, plus four refugees recommended by the Jesuit Refugee Service. Refugees are vaccinated single males, generally in their 20s and 30s, who are in different stages of the immigration process; they are seeking asylum or refugee status, having arrived in France recently or several years ago, and may be working or unemployed.

The program seeks to familiarize the ACP community with those we categorize as refugees by creating relationship, by giving him a name, a face, a place at the dinner table, and a chance to interact with gracious and open-minded people. As our former associate pastor Odette Lockwood-Stewart said, "In one evening, you can experience the blessing of extending hospitality, meeting Christ in the stranger, and forming new relationships in the breaking of bread. Christ tears down the dividing walls, and sometimes this means tearing down the images we carry about one another. A Welcome Dinner is a wonderful and simple way to make room for Christ in our hearts."

One of the blessings of hosting or attending a Welcome Dinner was described by Patricia DeWit: "It is a way of building a community of friends who, if it had not been for extreme adversity, would probably never have met."

Would you like to host guests for a Welcome Dinner in your home? To receive the guidelines with tips and best practices, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I can answer your questions, share my experience of hosting a dinner and start the ball rolling.

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Toussaint in Montmartre, by Rebecca Brite

Montmartre graveyardOrdinarily open just one day a year, Paris’s smallest cemetery (c. 600m2) is the perfect place to cap your celebration of the spooky season. And this year its 1 November opening is the first in two years; like much of the city it was closed in 2020 because of the pandemic.

The walled Cimetière du Calvaire nestles in the shadow of St. Pierre de Montmartre, one of a few candidates for the title of Paris’s oldest church and itself too often overshadowed by the much gaudier Sacré-Coeur. Except for relatives of those inhumed here, it can be visited only on Toussaint, All Saints’ Day, between 9h30 and 17h.

Named for the stone crucifixion scene (calvaire) found at one end, it is known to date from 1688, if not earlier. There was a Merovingian (i.e. 5th-8th century) burial place here, and the church itself, begun in c. 1134, contains a few ancient, probably Merovingian, columns and capitals reused from an older building.

No tombs have been added to the 85 existing ones since 1831, but descendants of the Montmartre families entombed here may claim their place when the time comes.

The tomb of the Rigaud de Vaudreuil family (photo 1 below), one of three graves with connections to the American Revolution: Louis-Philippe de Rigaud de Vaudreuil fought at Yorktown under Admiral de Grasse. On the Franco-American window in the ACP sanctuary, a ship of De Grasse’s fleet is shown bottom right.

Some tombs have been restored fairly recently and had plaques added. This (photo 2) commemorates another Revolutionary War figure, Mathieu Dumas, aide-de-camp of Rochambeau and later, after the French Revolution, to Lafayette, who also features on the ACP’s Franco-American window.

The plaque for French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville (photo 3), who led the first French circumnavigation of the globe in 1766-69 and served under Admiral de Grasse in the American Revolution. His heart rests here with his wife and son while his body is in the Pantheon. FYI, Philibert Commerçon, the botanist sailing with him, wrote the first description of the plant now called bougainvillea, samples of which were probably collected by Commerçon’s partner, Jeanne Baré, who made the voyage disguised as his valet and is the first woman known to have circumnavigated the earth.

The centerpiece of the cemetery is the large Debray family tomb capped by a windmill (photo 4). The Debrays furnished Montmartre with generations of millers. A Debray was inhumed here as recently as 2010. In the background is the bell tower of Sacré Coeur.

Montmartre Rigaud Montmartre Dumas Montmartre BougainvilleMontmartre windmill

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The Atelier Concert Series: An interview with Fred Gramann, by Rev. Don Lee, Visiting Pastor

Thank you, Fred, for taking the time for this interview about the Atelier Concert Series on Sunday nights. I am new to ACP and have attended two Atelier Concerts ‒ both were wonderful ‒ and I got to wondering about the series. My guess is that others might be interested, too. The first thing I think of is this: When did the series start? How long has it been active?

The story is actually very interesting because it was in the late 19th century that it began; Paris had become the place to study the arts. The students were leading bohemian lives, and a concern of the church was to help the students. Dr. Charles Wood started by creating reunions for students as a place to perform in 1895. In fact, the series was initially called the Students’ Atelier Reunion. Later, ACP pastor William Shurtleff, who was in charge of student ministry and also musician and artist, would paint with the students. They would meet in ateliers. There is a picture of one of the gatherings at the Architectural School showing Dr. Shurtleff with about 400 studentsmen in suits, women in dresses and hats.

Not only was this a time to appreciate music and art, but also a time for those gathered to sing a hymn or hear a faith message. So, these gatherings had an evangelical purpose as well. Dr. Shurtleff and his wife also had a huge apartment where they would host gatherings. When the current ACP facility was built in 1930, the series was invited to meet here. At this time, it turned more into a concert series. The only thing that changed when I took over was, I did not continue the tradition of serving hot chocolate! Even if I had, it would not have been the Angelina style hot chocolate, but most likely instant!

What about when you became responsible for the series?

I was a candidate for the job of music director/organist here at ACP. When I got the call offering me the job, I was home with Nancy; I was 26 years old. The one caveat was to direct the concert series...or I would not be hired! If I didn’t agree to that, then too bad! Of course, I am grateful that I did accept that responsibility. Still, at first, the Atelier Series was not an interest of mine. But as time went on, my interest grew, especially as a way to help more advanced musicians to have a place to perform in front of an appreciative public.

So, I thought you started the series ‒how wrong I was!

Yes, some things do predate me!

So, in the beginning, in 1895, there was this evangelical piece that reached out to the young artists ‒ musicians, artists, dancers ‒ in Paris.

Yes, Dr. Shurtleff often would go to the Vitti Academy, an art school that still exists. He would paint with the students and be a friend to them. In “Friendly Adventurers” by ACP’s J. Cochran, he was known as a very gentle, warm person who communicated well with people. Even though he organized these huge gatherings, the most special work for him was working one-on-one with people. In fact, he and his wife pretty much wore themselves out in ministry.

The musicians that perform in the series are very accomplished. Where do you find them? How do you connect with so many fine artists?

Well, most of them find me. I rarely have to go look for someone to perform. In fact, there is normally a two-year waiting period to get to perform.

Are the musicians students?

Yes, often they are. They usually come from one of the conservatories. To perform in Paris is not that easy. The major halls ‒ Salle Pleyel and others ‒  are incredibly expensive to rent. So, coming here to ACP, the students don’t have to put out any expense and they get to receive a portion of the free will offering. We provide the programs and ushers and they can come here to practice. It is very much appreciated by these performers.

So, you have inherited a program and nurtured it along for many, many years. What is your hope for the series in the future?

I hope it continues not only for the artists, but for the Paris community. The people who come to the concerts are not necessarily church people. The concerts are well attended by the Paris community, ordinary people who are very well-informed about the music. Plus, they come into a sacred space and they must have an association that is positive with the wonderful music and the awesome and beautiful space of the Sanctuary. Many people cannot afford to go to a high-class hall and pay 50 to 100 euros to attend. We take a free will offering and some people put in a euro or so and some put in 20 or 50 as they can afford.

These concerts happen every single week. Do you need help putting these on?

Yes, help is always appreciated, especially for a concert that draws a huge crowd. With help, I can attend to other details.

For the folks reading this, is there one more thing you’d like to communicate about the series?

Sure, tell a friend. Try out one of these amazing concerts!

Thanks, Fred, for taking the time to inform us about the Atelier Series. I’ll see you there on Sunday!

My pleasure!

Upcoming Atelier Concerts:

  • Sunday 10 October 17h30: Beethoven and Rachmaninov, with Jonathan Bloom, violoncelle; David Berdery, piano
  • Sunday 17 October 17h30: Winterreise Schubert, with Frédéric Goncalves, baritone; Nathalia Romanenko, piano
  • Sunday 24 October 17h30: Our Favorite Things, with Lauren Libaw, soprano; Elsa Bonnet, piano

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Thurber Conversation: Hope for people who are weary of violence!

Thurber discussion: Tuesday 26 October at 19h30

Featuring Shane Claiborne, founder of Red Letter Christians

Parkland. Las Vegas. Dallas. Orlando. San Bernardino. Paris. Charleston. Sutherland Springs. Newtown. These cities are now known for the people who were shot and killed in them.

More Americans have died from guns in the US in the last fifty years than in all the wars in American history. With less than 5% of the world's population, the people of the US own nearly half the world's guns. America also has the most annual gun deaths--homicide, suicide, and accidental gun deaths--at 105 per day, or more than 38,000 per year.

Some people say it's a heart problem. Others say it's a gun problem. Shane Claiborne believes it's both!
Join us for a very special conversation with Shane as he examines one of most significant moral issues of our times...Violence. Come and discern what we can do as Christians to beat weapons of all varieties into gardening tools. Come and capture a vision of hope for a world that is weary of violence.

Shane Claiborne is a bestselling author, renowned activist, sought-after speaker, and self-proclaimed “recovering sinner.” He writes and speaks around the world about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus, and is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including The Irresistible Revolution, Jesus for President, Executing Grace, and Beating Guns. You can follow him on Twitter (@shaneclaiborne), on Facebook (ShaneClaiborne), and at www.redletterchristians.org.

To register for this Thurber Conversation in person or via Zoom go to our website at www.acparis.org

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ACP update

The Wednesday evening Everybody Always spiritual formation/bible study has been a rich time of learning, growing, and sharing. We are considering what it means to love others, even those difficult people in our lives, with the love that God shows us. Small groups have provided an opportunity for intimate sharing about our joys and concerns. It's always good to join with others in the body of Christ for support and encouragement.

One schedule shift: We will NOT meet on Wednesday 6 October. We will still finish on 20 October. The study is on Zoom. Register to get the link on the ACP website.

13 October - Look at What's in Your Bucket
20 October - Love Even the Difficult People

The Thursday Pathway Forward study is tackling the seven biblical texts most often cited when it comes to a conversation about inclusion and gay people. It is a respectful, thoughtful, engaging time for us to continue to lean more robustly into our Welcome and Inclusion statement with integrity and understanding. We meet every second Thursday on Zoom. The next “gathering” will be 7 October. All are welcome to join at any time. Please register for the link and updates on the ACP website.

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

The Association of International Churches in Europe and the Middle East (AICEME)

ACP is a member church of the AICEME, a group of similar churches scattered across Europe and the Middle East, namely, Cairo, Egypt and Jerusalem. An annual pastor and spouse conference as well as youth conference, are ways that this organization has supported and uplifted the member churches. The pandemic has made it impossible for either group to gather but now, during the first week of October, the pastors and spouses will gather for a mini-retreat in Berlin.

The American church in Berlin, also an AFCU supported church, will be our host and the emphasis will be on connecting and encouragement mid-pandemic. Best shared practices and praying for one another will feature prominently in our days together, along with a day devoted to learning more about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, prominent pastor, author, and resister during WWII. He was killed in a German prison just prior to the war ending. Pastor Paul and Stacey along with Pastors Jodi and Doug are looking forward to this time of refreshment in Berlin from 4-7 October.


Tom Johnson, ou la musique logique

We are privileged to have so many talented members in our ACP family. Read about one of them, longtime member and musician Tom Johnson, in a book just published by Harmattan. It treats all his music and reads very well – although it is 400 pages in French.

Here’s the description (translation via Google) from the book cover: The idea of logical music is at the heart of Tom Johnson's work. Born in 1939, this American composer is resolutely committed to minimalism, in which he has been playing a singular voice imbued with radicalism, rigor, but also humor since the 1970s. Nine Bells (1979) and Rational Melodies (1982) illustrate this bold bias which, nourished by mathematics, will be maintained over the following decades by adopting logical forms always renewed, from combinatorics to deep rhythms through self-similar loops and "line paving."

If you’d like, you can order the book at the address below, or request a copy for review through the agent. It would be fun to get a review in the next Spire!

Harmattan, 5–7, Rue de l’École Polytechnique, 75005 Paris, www.editions-harmattan.fr

Agent : Marie-Anne Meunier, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Youth and Young Adult Update

Wheels are turning in all directions to welcome Pastor Elizabeth Murray as ACP's new associate pastor for Youth and Young Adult ministries (bio below). The hope is that by the end of October she will be here in Paris with us!

In the meantime, a very dedicated group of young adult volunteers are keeping the ministries vibrant. Everyone is thrilled to be back meeting face to face! Youth are meeting weekly between services now, from 12h30-14h00 in the Catacombs and gym.

Young Adults have resumed their face-to-face gatherings on Tuesday evenings from 19h30-21h30 in the library on the second floor. (The Catacombs are not available at this present time on weekdays.) Inquires can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Rev. Elizabeth Murray is an ordained pastor in The United Methodist Church. Originally from metro Atlanta, Georgia, she has spent the entirety of her ministry in Columbia, South Carolina. Previously, she served as the Coordinator for Hispanic/Latinx Ministries of the South Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. She has been the youth pastor at Lexington United Methodist Church in Lexington, South Carolina since July 2016.

She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and Duke University’s Divinity School. Elizabeth’s seminary internships took her to a non-profit in Kenya, faith-based advocacy work in Washington, DC, a local church in eastern North Carolina, and to work as a hospital chaplain. She is passionate about reading, travel, social justice, and is an avid fan of American football, especially her alma mater ‒ the South Carolina Gamecocks.

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ACP’s financial storehouse, by Julián Acosta and Pam Bohl, ACP Finance, Stewardship and Development Committee

 

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. ‒ Malachi 3:10

The idea of a storehouse comes to mind now as we consider the ACP’s financial situation. We have for a very long time considered it prudent to keep a balance in our general reserve (the ACP’s financial storehouse) to cover at least three months of expenses. Under pre-Covid times that amount would be roughly €380k euros. As presented at the congregational meeting last June, after allocating the €158k loss for 2020, our general reserve was down to only €93k and total non-restricted reserves were down to just over €300k.

ACP members voted conservatively to approve a €121k loss budget for 2021. Unfortunately, the lingering impacts of Covid and the Delta variant put an even greater damper than anticipated on wedding blessings, one of our key sources of revenue. The budget, even before the shortfall in wedding blessings, relied on a level of congregational giving of €680k. Today we are much below that budgeted giving goal with only €409k received through 26 September.

What does all of this mean for our reserves ‒ ACP’s storehouse? The forecast through the end of 2021 is currently a net loss of €257k, which would reduce our total non-restricted reserves to a worryingly low level of only €56k!

The last two years have certainly been challenging for the ACP. We have taken advantage of government payroll programs and guaranteed loans, and the staff and volunteers have worked to curb expenses while also keeping our employees whole. Nevertheless, if we deplete our reserves, we will be forced to take more drastic measures in 2022 and beyond.

We are deeply aware that these times have also been devastating for so many of our congregants and friends. While we recognize that not everyone is able to bring more to the storehouse to help cover the reserve gaps resulting from the 2020 and 2021 losses, we ask that each of you prayerfully consider what you can do to help the ACP bring the full tithe (and more if you are able) to the storehouse.

We are surely facing a rebuilding process that will take several years of working together to achieve. However, despite the difficulties of the last two years, we have been blessed by the generosity of our AFCU partners in ministry who have supported our senior pastor’s compensation, property taxes, and building insurance for many years. Their additional fundraising drive this year has made possible the amazing audio-visual project in the sanctuary. The AFCU is also funding the replacement of our alarm system, from earnings on an endowment fund they built for the ACP. These are indications of the overflowing blessings we continue to receive and a sign of the future that lies ahead of us.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow, and let us remember that we also need to bring the full tithe to the storehouse. Blessings to all our members and friends, and thank you for all you do to support the ACP!

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What’s up in Paris, by Karen Albrecht

Photo: © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum - Adagp, Paris 2021Georgia on my mind
At France's very first retrospective dedicated to major American painter Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986), get up close and personal with her intricate, boldly intimate paintings of the insides of flowers; the artist staunchly insisted her subjects were purely horticultural but, standing in front of these spellbinding canvases, it’s tough to take her at her word. O'Keeffe's later years in New Mexico yielded striking desert compositions in which sun-bleached skulls seem not macabre but brilliantly alive.
Until 6 December; www.centrepompidou.fr  


1Flower power
Damien Hirst became a superstar of the 1990s "Young British Artists" brat pack with out-there creations involving dead animals, formaldehyde and even maggots. Year 2020 found the notorious provocateur alone in his London studio, obsessively painting a hundred huge canvases depicting, of all things, cherry trees in blossom. Using dots of color reminiscent of the Impressionist and Pointillist movements, Hirst has created an improbably magical grove alive with winking light, rich textures, and surprising flashes of bright color, fascinating to view up close and from afar.
Until 2 January, www.fondationcartier.com


Photo: © Karen AlbrechtGeniuses juxtaposed
The joint show straddling Musée Rodin on the Left Bank and Musée Picasso on the Right Bank offers a fresh take on each of these towering figures. The two masters' works are brilliantly staged side by side: the disheveled, lip-locked lovers of Picasso’s “Kiss,” placed next to Rodin's passionate but far statelier statue of the same name, display an eerily identical composition and ‒ despite wildly differing styles and media ‒ an amazingly similar energy.
Until 2 January; www.musee-rodin.fr and www.museepicassoparis.fr


1Take the A Train
The 10th annual Jazz Sur Seine festival features some 180 concerts in two dozen venues. On 19 October, the cluster of top jazz clubs in Les Halles will host a free evening showcasing new talents, including gifted Australian pianist Daniel Gassin and his crossover band, ultra-smooth retro standards from Estelle Perrault and a spunky one-woman show by singer-flautist-percussionist Cynthia Abraham. And yes, to get there, you can even take the (RER) A Train.
8-23 October, www.parisjazzclub.net


Photo: © Lucie Jansch – Theatre de la VilleDouble take
Paris's Festival d'Automne is celebrating its 50th anniversary with live performances in 50-some venues in and around Paris. Among the headliners, a stunning re-creation of the 1977 collaboration between avant-garde theater designer Robert Wilson and minimalist dance genius Lucinda Childs, "I was sitting on my patio this guy appeared I thought I was hallucinating". Two figures in dramatic black and white deliver a strangely intense string of semi-random, jarringly juxtaposed snippets... twice.

"I was sitting on my patio..." (in English with French surtitles) until 23 October. Festival ends 18 February; www.festival-automne.com


Photo: © Rmn - Grand Palais (château de Versailles) / Franck RauxThe Emperor strikes back
On the 200th anniversary of his death, "Napoléon" combines artworks and historical artefacts from the country's top museums with dramatic audiovisual content to explore France's most heroic ‒ and perhaps most contradictory ‒ figure. The sumptuous tent Napoléon used when on military campaigns, his ornate wedding carriage and iconic two-cornered hat are all on display, along with exquisite examples of the Egyptian and other decorative styles launched during his storied reign.
Until 19 December, https://lavillette.com.

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ACP announcements

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.


Alpha Online Course: Mondays 20h30-22h. Got questions about life? Alpha
Online offers you the chance to explore the Christian faith in a relaxed, fun and
friendly environment! See acparis.org/alpha.


Sandwiches for those in need: Weekly on Wednesdays 15h30 in the Courtyard. 
Join us to make sandwiches to be delivered to homeless and refugee populations. Feel free to bring a few bags of sliced bread, if you would like. Reservation in advance at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is mandatory.


Team Up to Clean Up! All church Autumn Clean Up Day: 9 October, 10h-14h
Put on your work clothes and join us for a few hours as we Team Up to Clean Up our Church. Be prepared to sort, organize, tidy up, explore, and meet new friends. And then, to feast on Pastor Doug's Chili Divine (a secret recipe with hints of manna from heaven). Please register here: https://acparis.churchcenter.com/people/forms/296418 (Pass Sanitaire/Negative Covid test required)


Becoming French: 9 October, 15h-17h, ACP Thurber Room - Ever wonder if you should tip in a restaurant? Do you know how to choose wine? Do you want to know how you can better understand French people? While we are the American church we are located in Paris, and we want to help you feel more at ease in the community you are living in. If you’d like to participate or volunteer to help out, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Family Mission Sunday – 10 October, following the 11h church service: Each month, we will be offering mission opportunities for children and their families at the church, meeting in room G7 (basement level).


ACP Movie Discussion Group; Thursday, 14 October 19h30, both in person at the American Church in Paris and, for those who can't make it, on Zoom.

Films to see on Netflix: Worth/A Quel prix, Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, OR, if it doesn't come out in time, A Call to Spy

Films to see in the cinema: Dune, After Love, Tout c'est bien passé, and I Am Greta


Game party & pizza night mixer: 15 October, 19h -22h, ACP Theater -  This is a mixer fellowship event designed to meet members from another service. Contemporary and traditional services unite! Come fellowship with us, the entire family is invited. Sign up at acparis.org/signups.


Women’s Fellowship: 17 October 16h on Zoom. Join us for the “Getting to know Stacey Perkins Rock Interview.” All women are welcome. Please register at
acparis.org/groups/womensfellowship.


The Chosen: Movie & Discussion Night series, weekly through 12 December, from 19h-21h, on Zoom - You might be familiar with this highly successful international crowd-funded movie series about the life of Jesus and the disciples. See the trailer here: https://youtu.be/K1-FoFj8Jbo

Each episode is a story of its own, no commitment required, join whenever you can. 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, we switch to gallery screen for discussion time and close in prayer.


Accidental Docent – Catch up on Fred Gramann’s illuminating, cheeky video series on ACP heritage and history here https://acparis.org/accidentaldocent


ACP Today radio shows coming up

Monday 4 October: Alison Benney and Pastor Don Lee co-host, with Rose Burke explaining the upcoming Climate Sabbath. We interview Elizabeth Murray, the new Youth and Young Adult Minister, talk about October’s Thurber Conversation by Shane Claiborne, and update our listeners on our discussion groups, “Pathway Forward” and “Everybody Always.”

Monday 21 October: John Price and Nathalie Raynal co-host, discussing our prison ministry work with Carolyn Bouzouani, and our financial storehouse with Pam Bohl, from ACP’s Finance Committee. We may get an update on the Alpha program, and a look ahead at congregational events in November.

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


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.

Children's Worship at 11h and 14h.

A Pass Sanitaire is required to attend ACP Worship Services. Registration is not required for Traditional and Contemporary Worship in the Sanctuary, but is required for Children's Worship.


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 of docents. 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 Staff Collage

 

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