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

Editor: Alison Benney

In this issue

We’re all called to build this Post-Pandemic Church, by Rev. Dr. Paul Rock, Senior Pastor

Five questions & answers about the ACP youth group, by Rev. Elizabeth Murray, Youth and Young Adult Pastor

Subversive Witness: Scripture's Call to Leverage Privilege, featuring Dominique Gilliard

Many colors, creeds, cultures...and conversations! by Revs. Doug and Jodi Fondell, Interim Associate Pastors

Valentine’s Day vows, by Rev. Don Lee, Visiting Pastor

101NOW: ACP housing those in need, by Daniel Tostado

A brief history of Black History Month, by Rebecca Brite

Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation, by Kate Snipes

Let there be light and sound and livestreaming! by Fred Gramann, Music Director

Sound and light crowdfunding, by Don Farnan, AFCU Board

What's up in Paris, by Karen Albrecht

Marcel Proust: A Parisian Novel by Karen Marin

ACP announcements

 


 

We’re all called to build this Post-Pandemic Church, by Rev. Dr. Paul Rock, Senior Pastor

On Sunday, 30 January we gather for an ACP Town Hall. From what I’ve heard, this might be the first one of these we’ve had for some time. So, why hold one now? Well, as we enter year 3 of this difficult Covid marathon, your Council thought it would be good for us to pull up our Zoom chairs and have an honest conversation; no votes needed, no annual reports given ‒ just a family talk.

For four months we’ve been learning lessons from the first-century church about what it might mean to be a Post-Pandemic Church, so it’s fair to ask ourselves, what will that look like? Well, this town hall is a chance for us to go over a few practical blueprints and foundations that are emerging. Let’s highlight just two of them.

First, hybrid is here to stay. We’ve all been kicked into a new normal of working and connecting and learning from afar through the gift of virtual community. For many of us struggling at home with the challenges of this pandemic, this ability to connect has been a true lifesaver. At ACP we are incredibly blessed with a group of people who rolled up their sleeves and made online worship and connecting possible. Teteh Atikpo and his team of livestream volunteers have embodied grace, intelligence, imagination, flexibility, and love with all they do every week to bring us together. Our heartfelt thanks to them!

And, our US members and AFCU board (and a handful of Paris-based ACPers) have funded a complete upgrade of our 90-year-old building’s sound system and lighting, and installed cameras and movable screens to make all of this possible. ACP has, in the process, grown from being a Parisian congregation to a church for the world. Hundreds of additional people from dozens of nations now join with us in worship on Sundays and throughout the week, thanks to the huge shifts we’ve been able to make. Praise be to God.

Second, our ability to rely on outside resources to sustain the ministries we love at ACP has changed dramatically. We basically depend on four major sources of giving to pay our annual costs of being the church, which, in round figures, is almost two million euros.

  • The AFCU provides funding for my salary, expenses and pension, pays taxes and insurance on our property and funds major capital expenses ‒ like 2021’s new boiler and fire/security system.
  • Short-term and long-term renters, most significantly the two wonderful preschools ACP houses during the week, contribute greatly.
  • Our destination wedding blessing and vow renewal ministry welcomed couples to Paris for a beautiful wedding in our sanctuary (hundreds of them). Until recently, their fees brought in €350-450K annually.
  • Finally, many of you give regularly to support this church in the form of your tithes and offerings.

In 2021, your giving (the last category) made all the difference. Due to the generous gift of two members who matched year end giving up to €100,000, we all gave over €700,000 in 2021. Thus, we were able to avoid ending the year with in a very big budget deficit (about €225,000 Euro) that would have meant two big deficit years in a row which, honestly, would have been devastating. Praise be to God that didn’t happen. Thank you all so very much.

With two sources of income severely limited for two years, it’s been tough. In 2020 both rental income and wedding income dried up significantly due to lockdowns. In 2021 we saw our rental income pick up, but weddings income never did. Basically, we went from being a four-income family to a two-income family. Ouch. And for two years we tried our best to continue funding everything at ACP with the hope that things would return to normal. Now we know they never will. It’s time to live into this new normal and be the post-pandemic church God has called and prepared us to be.

2022 is our opportunity to build a church whose financial foundation is not only more sustainable but realistic ‒ by both reducing some costs and making deeper commitments as a church family to give to and support this church we love. On 27 March we will meet as a congregation to hear reports from all of our ministry areas and vote to approve our budget for 2022.

Between now and then, each of us can do our part to prayerfully consider how we can give in ways that will help us rise from this pandemic to be the local, global, diverse, welcoming, Christ-centered, healthy, and sustainable congregation God is calling us to be. I can’t wait to see how we respond, and see what God will continue to do in and through us! 

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Five questions & answers about the ACP youth group, by Rev. Elizabeth Murray, Youth and Young Adult Pastor

Who is invited to participate in the youth group?

  1. All students who are in college and lycée are invited to participate in the ACP youth group!
  2. When and where do we meet?
    We meet each week in the Catacombs from 12h30 to 13h45. The catacombs are located directly underneath the sanctuary. There are stairs leading down to the room from the narthex when you enter in the main sanctuary doors. If we aren’t in the catacombs, we are next door in the gymnasium! We also have special fun opportunities outside on Sundays that are highlighted online.
  3. What do we do each week?
    Each Sunday we have time for fellowship, fun, and a Bible lesson. Beginning in March, we will offer a light lunch as well. Whether you are able to come once a month, to stop in while you’re in town visiting, or are a regular participant, we are thrilled to have you with us.
  4. What do I need to bring?
    Just yourself! You’re always welcome to bring your Bible, but we have bibles on site. You are also welcome to eat lunch before or after our meeting, especially during this time, while we cannot provide food. Leave the rest of the supplies, games, and fun up to us!
  5. I don’t have a teenager. How can I support the ACP youth group?
    Firstly, we covet your prayers. And we are always looking for those who are interested in volunteering with our youth! We also have an Amazon wishlist for games and activities, which can be distributed. Finally, be on the lookout for any special needs we may have for some special events, projects, or mission projects we may be a part of!

Questions? Contact Rev. Elizabeth Murray at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Thurber conversations: Subversive Witness: Scripture's Call to Leverage Privilege, featuring Dominique Gilliard, Director of Racial Righteousness and Reconciliation for the Evangelical Covenant Church

Tuesday 1 February at 19h30 (Zoom and on-site)

Featuring Dominique Gilliard, Director of Racial Righteousness and Reconciliation for the Evangelical Covenant Church

Ever wonder what it means to have privilege? Feel confused about how to use one's privilege for the betterment rather than the detriment of the body of Christ? Dominique Gilliard has done some groundbreaking work helping churches and other organizations recognize where privilege exists and rather than deny it, work toward using it in a way that honors God. You won't want to miss this compelling and challenging evening as we continue to wrestle with what it means to be a church that cares deeply about being a reconciling community.

Dominique DuBois Gilliard is the Director of Racial Righteousness and Reconciliation for the Evangelical Covenant Church. He is the author of Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice that Restores, which won a 2018 Book of the Year Award for InterVarsity Press and was named Outreach Magazine’s 2019 Social Issues Resource of the Year. Gilliard’s latest book, Subversive Witness: Scripture’s Call to Leverage Privilege, was just published by Zondervan. Gilliard also serves as an adjunct professor at North Park Theological Seminary in its School of Restorative Arts and serves on the board of directors for the Christian Community Development Association. In 2015, the Huffington Post named him one of the “Black Christian Leaders Changing the World.”

Tuesday, 1 February, 19h30: Register at the ACP registration center to attend via Zoom or on-site. There will be a meal served at the live gathering, and we ask for a donation of €5 to help cover the costs of the food.

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Many colors, creeds, cultures...and conversations! , by Revs. Doug and Jodi Fondell, Interim Associate Pastors

After this, I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. – Revelation 7:9

Throughout the winter season at the ACP, we're inviting you to join us in nurturing and growing our love for one another as a diverse, multi-ethnic, cultural, and creedal community of faith.

We believe the God of our worship has an instinct for celebrating and loving people of diversity- people who begin to discover their unity in relation to Jesus. Yet, we also know that unity in Christ doesn't magically occur. It takes deliberate Spirit guided work to speak and to listen to one another's stories.

It takes the desire:

To take the next best steps.

To Be the Bridge.

To be a Subversive Witness: (people willing to sacrifice privilege for the sake of another).

To (verbally) fight for respect.

To be whole and reconciled.

God has given us one another to serve as an example to our kids, our community, and our world...showing them that Christ's Kingdom vision for living will make all the difference in experiencing life as God longs for us to know it.

We'll do our best to sort through some of the challenging questions. For instance:

  • What can we do to be more representative of our diversity in worship, education, and in leadership?
  • What can we do to break through and break down barriers of misunderstandings?
  • What can we do to envision together a church that is on the way (but not quite there) to being a clear reflection of that which God is inviting us to live and experience?

All of this will take committed conversation...conversation you're invited to be a part of. So please join us (primarily on-line) this winter. Mark your calendars!

26 January
Launch of Book Study: Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation. Next meetings, 9 & 23 Feb.

1 February
Thurber Conversation with Dominique Gilliard: Subversive Witness: Scripture's Call to Leverage Privilege.

12 February To be rescheduled
Film Night at ACP viewing Fighting for Respect: WWI African-Americans who fought for liberty in France and equality at home.

13 March
Thurber Conversation with Al Tizon: Whole and Reconciled: Gospel, Church, and Mission in a Fractured World.

Please join us for these opportunities to learn and grow throughout the winter season at ACP.

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Valentine’s Day vows, by Rev. Don Lee, Visiting Pastor

Winter greetings, friends at ACP!

“In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan…”

Wait! This time of year doesn’t need to be bleak, even with Covid making us all disoriented, some of us sick, and, sadly, some grieving. We continue to pray for each other in these most difficult times. Yet…

Into this season comes a third-century Christian saint…Valentine. St. Valentine has long been associated with courtship and blossoming love. So, we have Valentine’s Day, when candy sales go up, as well sales of diamonds and other special jewels. One should add to the list the ubiquitous Valentine card and those wonderful candy hearts that plead, “Be Mine,” “Kiss Me,” and “I love you.”

This year, one way married couples can celebrate Valentine’s Day in a unique and love-affirming fashion is to take part in the Valentine’s Day Extravaganza! That’s right, you can replace the jewels, candy, and cards with reaffirming your marriage vows in a special renewal service for couples on February 12th. Here are some details:

Saturday, 12 February, 11h: Valentine’s Vow Extravaganza!

Join in a service of romance and recommitment as you renew your marriage vows: “We still do and always will!” That’s right, on 12 February at 11h, couples are invited to renew their marriage vows in our beautiful sanctuary. Valentine’s Day is special for many couples, and this year the American Church in Paris is offering a unique and prayerful opportunity for couples to renew their marriage vows and support the ministries of the church through a fundraising event.

Each couple will have the opportunity to share their vows independently with the support of family, friends, and those in attendance (all are invited). Each couple will receive a keepsake photograph, a commemorative candle, a renewal certificate, and a bottle of fine champagne, as well as having their vows registered in the church’s permanent record. Fred Gramann will be providing wonderful music, too! To help the church with its many ministries, the suggested donation is 500 euros or any amount with which you are comfortable. To sign up or receive more information, contact Pastor Don Lee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or see him after the Sunday worship service.

What better way for a couple to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Well…there just isn’t! Time’s running out ‒ sign up today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

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101NOW: ACP housing those in need, by Daniel Tostado

ACP housing those in need, by Daniel Tostado

The 100 Nights of Welcome (100NOW) has returned to ACP – a winter homeless shelter for refugees. It’s been our most unpredictable season so far, what with the challenges of covid protocol and a volunteer base that is cautious to sign up for overnight shifts.

It started with months-long discussions this fall about, essentially, how to pull off a homeless shelter in a time of intensive coronavirus. The negotiations within our church were no longer concerns about whether we should house people – after three successful seasons, and with the enthusiastic support of our pastors, ACP has adopted 100NOW as a core mission.

Instead, the questions of how to launch a shelter turned on sanitary issues, like what do we do if someone actually tests positive? Unfortunately, we have to turn them away – something we have not had to do yet, thankfully! What about a pass sanitaire? We have to be in line with ACP policy, requiring regular testing to ensure safety on our facilities.

The latter question came into focus with the Taliban taking over Afghanistan in August 2021. During the fall, we learned that a lot of our potential candidates for 100NOW already do have the Pass Sanitaire with two vaccinations. But for those who just arrived from Afghanistan, they would need to get vaccinated once, wait 4 months, then get vaccinated again, wait 2 weeks, and then have a valid pass sanitaire – and the winter season would be over! Part of running a homeless shelter is a clear view of the naked realities and challenges of our humanity. One of those realities is that we’d like everyone to have a Pass Sanitaire, but due to geopolitical events like the Taliban takeover, they may very well not have the Pass.

Thankfully, so far, most of our guests have been in France for at least several months. We’ve taken in Afghanis (as well as guests from other locales such as Somalia, Sudan, Guinea), though the Afghanis tend to have been in Europe for years – very often, with fluent German to boot.

Indeed, one of the richest elements of our shelter is the interaction, a chance for ACP congregants to mix with people they may not otherwise meet in their day-to-day lives.

I asked R., an Algerian woman (yes, there have been a few women guests this season!) what she really needs. “A studio,” she said, “and a job. I have a degree, you know, I’m an English teacher.” We don’t have a job or studio to offer her, but we can offer a safe, warm place for her to sleep, shower, and dinner.

One of our gentlemen, N. from Pakistan, has had a particularly hard time: with metal in one of his legs, his route to France took over a year. Along the way, whenever the police came to round up the refugees passing through, the others would run away and N. would inevitably get caught. Once in Serbia, he was detained by the police for 45 days – and then released on the eastern side of Serbia, meaning he had to walk across the country again. He shared with us his dream – to one day found a hospital in his hometown in Pakistan. “I’d name it after my dad,” he said. Nowadays, he sells cigarettes by one of the metro stations in the north of Paris, waiting for the French authorities to process his asylum application. 

S. from Gambia showed me the photos of his 2-year-old son. S. has a valid récépissé here in France, but because the prefecture has taken so long to issue the residency permit, he risks being dropped from his training to be a security guard. We fill in a form on the prefecture website together. Along with his friend, A. from Somalia, we shoot hoops with a soccer ball, waiting for lights out at 11pm. 

We’ve been deeply appreciative of the volunteer base – most coming from ACP, and often young adults – stepping in during a season of great need. We’ve been blessed as one of the core volunteers has become the nightly check-in volunteer, ensuring continuity for these guests in such an unstable time of their lives.

If you’d like to volunteer or assist 100NOW, please send me an email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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A brief history of Black History Month, by Rebecca Brite

Photo: ©awarenessdays.com

The theme of this year’s Black History Month in the United States – Black Health and Wellness – has a particular resonance after two years of COVID-19. The pandemic’s effect on people of color, the poor and other marginalized groups has been strikingly disproportionate.

But the theme is meant not only to underline persistent inequality in healthcare but also to celebrate the many ways in which African Americans have countered it, from traditional treatments used by the enslaved to the foundation of medical schools at historically Black universities and the rise of fields such as community health.

February has been the official Black History Month since 1976, the US bicentennial year, when President Gerald Ford issued a message on its observance. Its roots are much older, though. We can trace them to colleges and universities (notably Kent State in Ohio) in the 1960s, and earlier still to Negro History Week, established in 1926 by what is now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).

A group of Black historians led by Carter G. Woodson had founded the association in 1915. They chose the second week of February for this new annual effort at recognition and awareness-raising because Abraham Lincoln’s birthday was the 12th and that of Frederick Douglass was the 14th.

At first aimed at public schools in a few states and the cities of Baltimore and Washington, DC, the History Week campaign soon spread among states with large Black populations, with churches playing a big role in getting the word out. Eventually, mayors of towns and cities that were significant Black population centers helped spread observance of the week across the country.

As the struggle for civil rights picked up momentum in the 1960s, many communities started agitating for a monthlong observance. The ASALH, meanwhile, took the campaign straight to the top, seeking federal recognition for a full month of events commemorating African Americans’ role in the country’s history. When President Ford declared the first Black History Month in 1976, he paid homage, in turn, to Dr. Woodson and the ASALH.

A further step came in 1986 when Congress designated February as National Black History Month. That was also the first year Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday was observed as a national holiday.

In 1987, the United Kingdom began celebrating its own Black History Month in October. That month the African American scholar Maulana Karenga – known, among other achievements, as the man behind the pan-African holiday Kwanzaa – visited the UK for an African Jubilee Year. A noted Africanist, he helped inspire the Ghanaian activist Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, then working for the Greater London Council, to propose a month celebrating the many ways African, Asian and Caribbean people had contributed to the UK’s economic, cultural and political life.

Canada followed suit in 1995, adopting the US observance of February for its own month marking Black Canadians’ contributions. And since 2010, Ireland has followed British practice in observing Black History Month in October. Its first such celebration kicked off in Cork, which in the 19th century was a center of abolitionist activity and welcomed many anti-slavery lecturers, including Frederick Douglass in 1845.

Black History Month has had its detractors over the years within the African American community. Perhaps the main objection is that expressed by the actor Morgan Freeman in a controversial interview on the TV news magazine 60 Minutes in 2005: "You're going to relegate my history to a month? … I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history."

Critics also point to the continued under-representation of Black scholars, lawyers, scientists, clergy and others in the textbooks students use all year round, characterizing Black History Month as a Band-aid on a gaping wound.

The ASALH, however, likens Black History Month to the July 4 holiday. As the Harvard historian Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, then ASALH president, wrote in 2021: “The history of the United States is certainly taught and conveyed all year long, but its greatest symbolic celebration occurs on one day, the Fourth of July. Black History Month, too, is a powerful symbolic celebration. And symbols always stand for something bigger ‒ in our case, the important role of Black history in pursuit of racial justice and equality.”

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Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation, series led by Kate Snipes, Pastoral Intern, and Kym Stewart, Community Life chair

“With racial tensions as high within the church as outside the church, it is time for Christians to become the leaders in the conversation on racial reconciliation.” – Latasha Morrison

Latasha Morrison founded the organization Be the Bridge  in 2016 to encourage racial reconciliation among all ethnicities, to promote racial unity in America, and to equip others to do the same.

The eponymous book serves as a guide to help readers deepen their understanding of historical factors and present realities, equipping them to participate in an ongoing dialogue and to serve as catalysts for righteousness, justice, healing, transformation, and reconciliation.

Starting in January, Kym Stewart and Kate Snipes are leading a series of discussions based on the book, presented in three parts:

  • Lament
  • Confession and Forgiveness
  • Restorative Reconciliation

This conversation, based on the book and leaning on scripture, is meant to be a follow-up to the book study Kate led last year on the book Caste, by Isobel Wilkerson. While we were able to better understand the construction of racism as a caste system, Kym saw the opportunity to continue the journey. How do we move forward?

That’s when Kym discovered the book by Latasha Morrison. Both Kym and Kate hope the book series provides a way for ACP's congregation to engage each other honestly and to give voice to unspoken hurts, while stepping into the gap of silence built on the fear of saying or doing the wrong thing.

All are welcome in the conversation, even if you miss the opening introductory session. And participation is possible without reading the book, although it is available electronically through Amazon for about seven euros, and is a good, fast, and engaging read. Morrison provides an honest and straight-forward voice, revealing an uncomfortable, complex history as well as presenting a path forward to reconciliation.

You can still sign up and join 9 February, 26 February, and 9 March, from 19h30-21h via Zoom. Register at the ACP website: https://acparis.churchcenter.com/registrations. To learn more, listen in to an excerpt from ACP Today: https://bit.ly/BeTheBridgeIntro

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Let there be light and sound and livestreaming! By Fred Gramann, Music Director

The Sound and Light Project at the American Church has been a dream for literally decades. At long last we are in the final stages of completion and should see the light at the end of the tunnel (so to speak) in the next few weeks. So, it’s time to celebrate this amazing achievement and show you the capabilities of this tremendous system!

Natalie Raynal, Paul Rock and I will host the event on Saturday 26 February at 20h. Anyone and everyone is invited! Our AV team will be at their custom-made station in the back of the sanctuary ready to show you "control central" and answer your questions. You’ll see how the new screen and projector work, the various lighting capabilities including exterior lighting of the stained glass, how easy setup has become for the contemporary service, and the clarity of the new sound system.

The event will be livestreamed so you can join in from home if desired. So, mark your calendar and come join us - it will be a party to remember!

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Sound and light crowdfunding, by Don Farnan, AFCU Board

The American Church in Paris is famous for its diverse community, inspiring worship, and phenomenal music. As we rebuild the post-pandemic church, you have seen the work that we are doing to upgrade our sound and lighting systems so that ACP can become an even brighter Beacon on the Seine, bringing our worship services and faith music to the congregation, visitors in Paris, and the world.

As we near the finish line of installation, we will launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise some final Euros for completing the project. We are not asking the congregation/ACP members to give to this campaign, but if you can, promote the campaign to your friends and followers on social media so they have a chance to give. We are excited for the completion of the project and want to make sure concert attendees and visitors are aware and have a chance to contribute. 

How can you help?  Please watch the ACP webpage for a link to the crowdfunding campaign and then:

  • Share the link to our fundraising campaign with your friends, on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms.
  • Share the excitement of this project and its positive impact on ACP’s mission!

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What’s up in Paris, by Karen Albrecht

Photo: © Steve McCurryWindows on the world

American photographer Steve McCurry got his start in India and in war-torn 1980s Afghanistan. The iridescent, blue-green gaze of his celebrated "Afghan Girl" is an undisputed icon, but McCurry's work encompasses many equally striking destinations and achingly eloquent faces. At the Musée Maillol, 150 artfully composed images are vividly displayed on panels dotted around a dark space, drawing the visitor into compellingly in-your-face encounters with an amazingly wide world of breathtaking color and contrast, from fiery oil fields in Kuwait to tranquil waters in Kashmir.
Until 29 May, www.museemaillol.com


Photo: © Indüstria / Brad Branson and Fritz KokCouture creatures

Strasbourg native Manfred Thierry Mugler (1948-2022) started out as a ballet dancer, and began sketching fashions in swinging-sixties Paris. He launched his haute couture house in 1992, wading bravely into an industry in crisis and carving out a bold, high-profile aesthetic on the runway and in film, photography, music, and videos. "Couturissime" at the Musée des Arts décoratifs showcases Mugler's weird and wonderful designs, including a series inspired by, of all things, insects, and a sleek robot outfit light years ahead of its time. Mugler passed away on 23 January, and fans have flocked to the show to pay tribute to this singular genius.
Until 24 April, madparis.fr


Photo: © François GautretA four-decade heyday

Hip-hop, an import from the US, first infiltrated France in the early 1980s, sparking an improbable ascendancy that is still going strong 40 years later. Local artists have grabbed the mic, the mixing table, the spray can and the dance moves, and run with them to new and surprising artistic territory. The Philharmonie's multidisciplinary show "Hip-Hop 360" proclaims "glory to the art of the streets", with portraits of pioneering DJs, anarchically colorful mixtapes, and an impressive battalion of vintage boomboxes. A special weekend on 5-6 February features an epic dance battle and a 3-hour concert showcasing new talent.
Until 24 July, philharmoniedeparis.fr


 

 

 

Photo: ©E Laurent-EPPDCSIA moveable feast


To mark the anniversary of UNESCO's recognition of French gastronomy as a world heritage treasure, "Banquet" at the Cité des Sciences investigates the art — and especially the science — of fine food. You can take a whirl with a whisk, take a whiff from a fanciful olfactory dispenser, and lower your mask to pop a bright pink madeleine into your mouth, then ponder whether its flavor matches its color. A splashy virtual feast projected onto a tabletop and a quick dive into dining rituals across different countries and millennia highlight the delectable theatricality surrounding a good meal.
Until 7 August, www.cite-sciences.fr

 


Photo: © J.M. VandyckInto the light

"Out of the Shadows" focuses on the southwest corner of the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to a multitude of rich ethnic traditions yet little studied, despite its proximity to the capital, Kinshasa. On display, often for the very first time, are superbly decorated masks used in "mukanda" coming-of-age ceremonies, stunning statuettes of varied form and function, plus ornate blades, pendants, and headrests. The show also shines a long-overdue spotlight on the 1931 uprising of the Pende people, precipitated by rapacious colonial tax collectors and the 1929 financial crisis.
Until 10 April, www.quaibranly.fr


Photo: ©Omkaar KotediaPushing the boundaries


"The Limits of Humanity" at the Musée de l'Homme provides unlimited food for thought. Devised by philosophers, scientists, and specialists in domains you've probably never heard of, the show explores just what sets humans apart from other beings (and things), and the dizzying advances in robotics, genetics, and prosthetics that are blurring the lines. The gloomy final chapter outlining threats to our planet is only partly offset by a playful epilogue evoking possible reactions: should we shrug it off, hunker down, plan an escape to Mars... or finally decide to work together?
Until 30 May, www.museedelhomme.fr

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Marcel Proust: A Parisian Novel, by Karen Marin

Even if you have never read Marcel Proust, you have most likely heard about the “madeleine moment.” In his famous work, A la Recherche du Temps Perdu (Remembrance of Things Past), Proust has a flashback to his childhood while nibbling on a tea-soaked madeleine cake. This episode is the catalyst that triggers the flood of memories and experiences that the author recounts in his seven-volume opus. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of his birth, the Musée Carnavalet is hosting the exhibit, Marcel Proust: A Parisian Novel, which examines the role that the city of Paris played in Proust’s life and novel.

In the first part of this fascinating exhibit, the visitor explores the Parisian neighborhoods and venues frequented by Proust. Maps of the city indicating the key places and spaces of his universe reveal that his world was focused around the Parc Monceau, the Place de la Concorde, the Bois de Boulogne, Auteuil and l’Etoile. It is in these quartiers that he went to school, where he forged friendships, and entered into the high society of the Parisian belle epoque.

Photos from the period and from the family archive gives us a glimpse of his privileged lifestyle. Of particular note is a photo of 15-year-old Proust sporting a three-piece suit and enormous bowtie. The highlight of this section is the recreation of Proust’s bedroom, where his simple iron-framed bed and personal effects allow us to envisage the writer at work.

The second half of the exhibit focuses on the Paris imagined by Proust. This is a romanticized world of carriage rides through the bois, social calls, and secret assignations. A selection of paintings depicts the wide boulevards and open squares of the post-Haussmannian city, as well as the soirées spent in private parties, balls, restaurants and theaters. Menus from chic dinners and playbills let us vicariously live in the past. Proust modeled his main characters after people he knew, and we can certainly imagine them stepping out of such paintings as Une soirée au Pré-Catalan by Henri Gervex, or Le Balcon by René-Xavier Prinet.

Nearly 300 artifacts, objets, photographs, paintings, sculptures, clothing, and accessories bring Proust’s world to life. Manuscripts and documents, sometimes including corrections and annotations made by the writer himself, bring us closer to who he was and how he created. A selection of clips from film adaptations as well as sound recordings from A Remembrance of Things Past serve as an introduction to the novel and to Proust’s amazing use of vocabulary.

The Musée Carnavalet, dedicated to the history of the city of Paris, only reopened to the public last spring after substantial renovations. Restored to its former glory, the exhibit rooms are brighter and lighter than before, and texts in English are readily available now, which had not previously been the case. The museum’s collection includes over 600,000 artifacts from prehistoric times to the present, and is a must-visit for anyone who loves Paris. There is a fee for the Proust expo, and all temporary exhibits, but access to the permanent collections is ‒ surprisingly – free to the public. It is mandatory to reserve a time slot, as are the pass sanitaire and a mask.

Marcel Proust: A Parisian Novel, through 10 April, at the Musée Carnavalet, Paris 3è. Visit the website for more information: www.carnavalet.paris.fr/musee-carnavalet

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ACP announcements


Deepening Our Faith: Continuing on Wednesdays, 2 and 16 February, 16 and 23 March, from 19h30-21h, via Zoom. Whether you’re new to Christianity or wanting to refresh your faith, this program offers you the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of what we believe as a Christian community. You don’t have to attend all of the sessions. Feel free to join when you are able. Register at acparis.org/signups.


Be the Bridge book study: Continuing on Wednesdays, 9 and 23 February, and 9 March, from 19h30-21h, via Zoom. A congregational conversation on race, healing, and communication, based on the book Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation, by Latasha Morrison. Register at acparis.org/signups.


Fighting for Respect film and discussion - Saturday 12 February, 19h-21h To be rescheduled in the Sanctuary

All are invited to a special screening of the highly acclaimed film Fighting for Respect – a one-hour documentary on the compelling, yet neglected story of 200,000 African American soldiers fighting for democracy in WWI while being denied civil rights at home. It will be followed by a discussion with the film's writer and director Joanne Burke.

This is event is part of the Many Colors, Creeds, Cultures...and Conversations! Register at acparis.org/signups .


Monthly Women’s Bible Study: Sunday 6 February, 12h30-13h30: Women in Parables – this Sunday on the woman giving birth.

Monthly Women’s Fellowship: Sunday 13 February, via Zoom from 16h30-18h. Kate Snipes will speak on texts of trouble and transformation in the New Testament. Register at acparis.org/signups.

Women's retreat: 5 March, 10h-15h. Our Lenten journey to resurrection: Seeking light.
The program will be led by Rev. Carrie Ballenger, who has served as pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Jerusalem's Old City since 2014. She works closely with Bishop Ibrahim Azar and the Palestinian Lutheran Church (ELCJHL). Prior to serving in global ministry, Carrie pastored churches in the Chicago area, and in an even earlier life, she was a music teacher and a doula (labor and birth assistant) and a breastfeeding counselor. She has two college-age children who study in Berlin and Amsterdam.
The retreat will be both informative and inspiring. Watch for more details at acparis.com. Registration opens 6 February.

ACP Movie Discussion Group - Thursday, 17 February, at 19h30, via Zoom
Films to see on Netflix: Munich: The Edge of War/L’Étau de Munich, The Hand of God/La Main de Dieu, Blue Jay, Crazy Rich Asians.
Films to see in the cinema: Boiling Point/The Chef, C'mon C'mon/Nos âmes d'enfants, The Lost Leonardo.
For more info/Zoom invitation: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


ACP Fundraising Concert: 19 February at 19h. Entitled “Harana” (a serenade), the Filipino organization Pinoy Jam Paris is offering a concert of music ranging from traditional Filipino music, to jazz, to soul to RnB. Tickets are €15 and can be reserved by going to pinoyjamparis.com.


Sunday atelier concerts, weekly at 17h30, free admission:

6 February: Blandine Waldmann, pianist, performs Liszt, Scriabine, Ravel.

13 February: Hyunji Kim, pianist, performs Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin.

20 February: Carte blanche to the “Maitres du 10eme workshop de Musique de Chambre de Paris, with oboe, piano, and violin.

27 February: Pianist Nada performs works by Hakim, Brahms, Beethoven, Liszt.


ACP Today radio shows in February

Monday 7 February: Jörg Kaldeway and Don Lee discuss meditations on love and Valentine’s Day. Don describes the upcoming Valentine’s Day vow renewals on 12 February, with the appropriate music. Plus, an interview about the history of Black History Month.

Monday 21 February: John Price and Paul Rock explore the meaning of Lent, and the special days of Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday. They discuss the book study series, Be the Bridge, and last week’s film, Fighting for Respect.

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


Generosity Campaign for 2022 Giving: Did you miss Commitment Sunday? No worries, you can still make your 2022 giving commitment online at acparis.org/estimatedgiving2022. Thanks for your support as we continue to rebuild and renovate the post-pandemic church!


Looking for a volunteer opportunity? Here is a partial list:

New Creation Care team at ACP: This committee focuses on one of the church’s core values, creation care. The Creation Care Task Force works closely with Council leaders, who asked the team first to calculate ACP’s carbon footprint. To learn more about how you can determine your own footprint, see footprintr.me . Contact the team 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 11h and 14h 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.

Our wonderful new audio-visual system is in place! If you’d like to be a part of our worship tech and A/V team, please contact us at avmThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tech help needed for 14h service: Calling all techies! If you are interested, please contact Natalie Raynal at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Mission Outreach Committee has a need for 2 to 4 new committee members. If you are mission minded and would like to serve alongside our mission partners, please contact Mary Hovind of the nominating committee: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sunday Newcomer Table: We are looking for volunteers to help staff our welcome table after worship. If you'd like to join this team, please let Pastor Jodi know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

100 Nights of Welcome: We are hosting refugee gentlemen at ACP this winter, providing them with food and a warm place to sleep for the night. If you would like to help with this ministry, please contact Daniel Tostado at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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..


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.

A "Pass Vaccinal" or proof of a negative test less than 24 hours old is required for worship services at ACP.

Register here: https://acparis.churchcenter.com/registrations/events


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

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