Editor: Alison Benney
In this issue
Transition as heartset, by Senior Pastor Paul Rock
Hello and greetings to our new ACP friends and family! We are so eager to be there and get to know all of you. But for now, we’re filling our days by filling boxes, cleaning rooms, dropping donations at second-hand stores and beginning to say goodbye to our life in the US. We definitely find ourselves in the middle of a big, dusty, life transition. And what I’m learning once again is that life transitions are a lot of work, and not a ton of fun.
The reason is that we’re kind of wired to love our stuff and our routines. And even if we feel we’re ready for a big shift, we forget that transitions are not quick or simple things. It’s not like one week we’re here ‒ and the next week we’re there. No, transitions take a long time and they have multiple phases and layers. There’s the emotional journey through denial, frustration, and acquiescence. And then there’s this big swath of time and energy taken up pulling things from the (actual or sentimental) shelves, opening cabinets, going through our stuff and sorting through the years of accumulations and accretions.
Stacey and I have spent every evening the last six weeks determining what we really want and need to bring to Paris. We’re deciding what items we can give away, what our kids might want (not much!) and what just needs to be tossed. It’s in this painstaking process you realize just how much of ourselves we invest in our stuff: books, pictures, nick knacks, clothes, furniture… And you’re forced to ask yourself – “What and which parts of all of this are important? What do I really need? And what does that say about me ‒ who I am and who I want to be?
One of my favorite books in the last few years was written by Brian McLaren, The Great Spiritual Migration. We were fortunate to have Brian preach and share at Second Presbyterian soon after the book came out. He had recently moved to a new home in Florida and we talked about how easily we accumulate things and imbue them with meaning, which makes them very hard to set aside when they’ve served their purpose. The thesis of his book was similar, that the church needs to learn that our norm cannot be tradition and stasis for 50 or 100 or 250 years, and then big change, followed by settling dust and finally settling into another 100 years of stasis.
No, the clear message of Jesus from the beginning and to this day is – “follow me.” In fact, in all four gospels, Jesus says “follow me” 87 times. He says “accumulate stuff and routines and imbue them with meaning” exactly zero times J. He also, of course, asks us to rest and to learn and to serve and to love and to give and to enjoy, but none of those takes a room full of stuff. The uncomfortable norm for the church and our lives as followers of Christ is not routine, but Migration. And not just transitioning from here to there every once in a while. No, transition is to be our mindset, our heartset, our identity as followers of a living God.
And so, as I sit here typing on a sparse desk with a vacuum cleaner to my left and a box of things to take to Goodwill behind me, I’m tired. Simplifying and big life transitions are hard work, but it’s also liberating. Stacey and I are thankful for this forced migration. Thankful for an exciting reason to follow Jesus, shake off some of the nice things we’ve loved, and say goodbye to roles and ways that have served us well.
And my prayer is that we just keep moving. And I pray that as ACP and Paris emerge from this most challenging of seasons, you just keep emerging. The church is not a place where, but a people who. And Jesus continues to call us, together, to follow him. Sisters and brothers, we are so very eager to join you all in this most wonderful journey. See you soon!
Grace notes … and traveling mercies, by Interim Senior Pastor Odette Lockwood-Stewart
Look… to the growing edge! All around us worlds are dying and new worlds are being born; all around us life is dying and life is being born. The fruit ripens on the tree, the roots are silently at work in the darkness of the earth against a time when there shall be new leaves, fresh blossoms, green fruit. Such is the growing edge! ‒ Howard Thurman
We are now in the final two months of my one-year call to serve as your Interim Senior Pastor. Jim and I will leave Paris on 19 July. I will join you for the upcoming congregational meeting and continue to serve as tele-travail Senior Pastor, on vacation until 14 August.
On 15 August Paul Rock begins his call as your Senior Pastor!
This has not been the year I had anticipated. Because, of course, this has not been the year anyone has anticipated. So many things in the life of this community I have loved since I first came to ACP simply were not possible this year. Physical distance, perpetual re-creation of ministries, months without in-person worship services and fellowships, and the absence of full pews and participatory singing when we worship in the sanctuary. So many losses and challenges. But all things, including Christmas candlelight and Easter sunrise were glorious and different!
I believe that the pandemic’s Great Disruption invited us to a permanent pilgrimage through landscapes of uncertainty that has made us new in mission and ministry in ways that will become manifest well after confinement and its obvious limitations are gone. There is nothing through which God cannot speak. As our Scripture readers invite us each Sunday, we “Listen for God’s Word to us.” ACP Council’s Affirmation of Gospel Welcome is the perfect example of this faithful pilgrimage.
The real God is the one who can invert life from terror to boldness, from sorrow to joy.... The transformative power of God jeopardizes all of our gestures of equilibrium and our idolatrous images of God as the great stabilizer of the status quo. ‒ Walter Brueggemann
As connections with incoming Senior Pastor Paul Rock continue to grow, expand, and deepen, our interim ministry focuses now on new staff transitions, an organizational inventory, Audio-Visual Ministry, and preparing to welcome Paul and Stacey to Paris and to ACP.
It is a joy and privilege to work with Paul, to work with ACP’s wonderful staff, and to serve as your pastor during this extraordinary time. The American Church in Paris always will be in my heart.
Look to the growing edge!
While Rev. Jim Lockwood-Stewart missed singing in the choir and celebrating wedding blessings he did bless three weddings and a vow renewal, regularly hosted ACP Today Radio show, enjoyed Men’s Ministry, facilitating Gospel Welcome small groups, leading a six-week study of Making Sense of the Bible with the African Fellowship, led worship, preached, spent a marvelous day with the Filipino Fellowship transforming our sanctuary for Advent and Christmas, filmed worship, co-led a Discipleship course, engaged in Pastoral Counseling, and served on the Live Stream team. He also took very good care of our Interim Senior Pastor! He gives thanks for this year with the ACP community.
Summer growth, by Jodi and Doug Fondell, Interim Associate Pastors
As we look back, we see a year that has been filled with change, uncertainty, pain, and sadness, but also one that included hope, grace, and growth. As the world grappled with the pandemic and issues of race, inclusion, and violence, so too has our church. We've studied the Bible together, we've engaged in a variety of topics with our Thurber speakers and conversations, and we've spent time together in the virtual space of a Zoom breakout room cultivating new friendships in a new and fruitful manner.
We are seeking to lean into being a church who embraces a gospel welcome. The Welcome and Inclusion task force presented a statement of inclusion to Council, who in turn adopted it as the way in which ACP wants to exhibit God's warm and inclusive hospitality. We've grown and we need to continue growing.
To that end we commend to you some things to read or watch, as summertime might bring a bit more free time your way. We look forward to continuing our conversations, deepening our relationships, and strengthening our welcome together as ACP looks to a new season of ministry with a new senior pastor leading us. We are thankful to be part of ACP at this important time and look forward to continuing to serve alongside of you.
We wish you grace and peace during these summer months and hope to see many of you in worship when you are able to come and enjoy our live worship services once again.
And as you read or view the titles on the list, feel free to shoot us an email with your impressions. Rich conversations await us!
Jodi and Doug
Books to read:
Jemar Tisby, The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church's Complicity in Racism
Dominic Guilliard, Rethinking Incarceration
Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility
Ibram X. Kendi, How to be an Antiracist
Daniel Hill, White Awake: An Honest Look at What it Means to be White
Justin Lee, Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays Vs. Christians Debate
Matthew Vines, God and the Gay Christian
*Greg Garrett, A Long, Long, Way: Hollywood's Unfinished Journey
*Brenda Salter McNeil, Becoming Brave
*Soong Chan Rah, The Next Evangelicalism
*Salim Munayer, Journey through the Storm: Lessons from Musalaha - Ministry of Reconciliation
Note: *Former Thurber Lecturers
Films to watch (some have violence or rough language):
Two Distant Strangers
If Anything Happens, I Love You
I Am Not Your Negro
The Trial of the Chicago 7
When They See Us
Into The Heights
The first sermon and my path to ACP, by Kate Snipes, ACP Intern Pastor
Sitting in the chancel on 13 June, feeling buoyed by the music, singers, and Carol Mundinger’s clarinet, I felt both peace and some nervousness. Although I have spoken publicly for work for years, this was the first time I would speak from a pulpit. It’s not a speech, it’s a message from God, I reminded myself. One that I am moved to say, and for the people of God and for ACP, the most amazing and diverse congregation with which I have been privileged to worship for the last 4 and a half years.
Just before I began, I prayed the message would reach people in the ways the Spirit chose. I also prayed this opportunity would point people to the Trinity, not to me. Although often we think of the pastors leading worship, it’s actually God leading worship and those up front helping to facilitate that moment for those present.
Overwhelmingly grateful, that’s how I feel about being an intern pastor at the American Church of Paris. It’s been a long road in seminary for me, while working even longer as a professional in agriculture, economics, and food policy.
Now as I commit fully to dawning the robe and becoming a novice again, I fulfill the calling that began tapping at me 15 years ago. At that time, I participated in a service-oriented church in Warsaw, Poland and felt so moved by both the worship and the service. I felt perhaps Christ was calling me to participate more in church and service and that would satisfy the call.
But the tapping became a knocking, and in spite of a very fulfilling career, I began my spiritual studies when I returned to Washington DC, at Wesley Theological Seminary. It is a Methodist seminary originally associated with American University (in DC, not to be confused with the American University in Paris) that trains a very wide variety of protestant denominations. I thought I would take the first courses and see where they led; the love and calling grew with each course and with each engagement with Scripture. So here I am three continents later, stepping away from a career I loved to instead serve God’s church.
I feel confident and at peace with my calling and know I am exactly where God called me to be at this moment. However, I do understand that trading in my 30-year “expert” hat to a “novice” hat will be humbling. It also allows the Spirit to work in new ways. The feeling of humility also pervades my wholehearted call to serve the church and others.
I am thankful to the Pastoral leadership and the ACP Council that has embraced me. And I am particularly grateful to Rev. Odette Lockwood-Stewart, who stepped up to serve as Christ’s assistant to me from the first time we spoke several years ago about my path. Having her present at ACP this year has enabled me to grow as she challenged me to step into my pastoral role.
Looking forward to the year ahead, I am leaving my previous career and will embrace the opportunity to support ACP, the congregation, its ministries, and our new Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Paul Rock.
Rev. Donald P. Lee: Presenting our new Visiting Pastor
Born and raised in California, Rev. Don Lee graduated from San Francisco State University in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Arts. He then began a career in music as a professional musician, piano technician, and music retailer. He served as Music Director at First United Methodist Church in Redding, California, for 25 years before being called to ordained ministry.
Rev. Lee graduated from the Pacific School of Religion in 1998 and served Sierra Pines UMC for 11 years and Sacramento First UMC for six years, before retiring in 2016. Over his career, he also served on many committees of the California-Nevada Annual Conference.
His ministry involvements include serving on boards of the Human Rights Council in Redding, Hospitality House ministry to the homeless, Habitat for Humanity, and Family Promise. In addition, he and his wife, Rev. Tana McDonald, have led many mission trips to Palestine and Mexico, as well disaster relief teams in the US.
While visiting Paris two years ago, he served briefly on our Contemporary Worship Team, playing piano and guitar (thanks to Natalie’s unceasing patience, he says!).
During the pandemic lockdown, he helped create a co-op grocery market in the local neighborhood. He also picked up his tenor sax again (after several decades), and enjoyed sharing his music by playing on the street corner for free.
Don and Tana were married in 1984 and raised three sons. They have traveled extensively around the world and are looking forward to becoming a part of the ACP congregation.
ACP back to busy-ness, Q&A with Jörg Kaldewey, Wedding Administrator
Could you just give us a quick resumé of safety practices that were in place since the most recent fall 2020 curfew?
We had to stop all church services, all events, all meetings and all activities at the church except for our schools and small internal meetings. Most of our staff also had to work from home and were permitted to come to the office only once a week (and then of course adhere to our social distancing protocols and wear a mask at all times).
What normal activities have resumed at the ACP since public spaces were allowed to open again on 19 May? For instance, that is when we re-started live church services, right?
That’s right, even though we would have been able to start our church services again a few weeks earlier, we decided to delay re-opening for church services based on the high infection rates at the time. We held our first Sunday services on 23 May with a limit of 100 congregants, and have been increasing numbers slowly. From 19 June onwards we were also able to welcome any after-school activities back to the gym. Since 9 June we permitted any non-contact adult sports events, as well as some smaller committee meetings.
So we can do weddings again? Has there been a surge in weddings or vow renewals requests?
Thankfully, yes! We had our first wedding with about 100 guests on Saturday 19 June and it was wonderful. In “normal” times weddings at ACP are hugely popular and one of our key donation contributors, accounting for about 30% of church income. We therefore had seen a significant decrease in income. Currently there still seems to be a lot of uncertainty, so we have not had a “surge” for 2021, but we have already seen quite a lot of interest in 2022 weddings and are hopeful that the wedding ministry will make a strong comeback next year.
Are our renters excited about coming back this summer, or have requests slowed down?
As of 30 June, we are able to welcome back all rentals and all activities provided that they are able to adhere to our protocols. It looks like over the summer there will not be much activity as most groups are planning to restart in the fall. We therefore will have limited building opening hours and will generally be closed in the evenings and on Saturdays. We are handling any requests for evenings and Saturdays on a case-by-case basis to see how we can best accommodate them. We have had a few requests for smaller film and video projects, but nothing super exciting.
Have we restarted the daytime sanctuary visiting hours so that people can walk in, or sit and reflect?
As there is limited security coverage over the summer, we have not started the program yet, but we are planning to roll it out again in September.
When will ACP start encouraging face-to-face meetings vs online for Council, committees, Bible Study, etc?
As long as they are taking place during the modified opening hours, they can already take place again as of 30 June. So far we have not had many requests though.
What’s the church’s timeline for “back to normal” opening hours?
As of September 1, we hope that things will be fully up and running again.
ACP opening hours: Mon-Fri 10h30-18h
Sunday church services: Traditional at 11h, Contemporary at 14h (registration required for both)
Bicycling France Profonde, by Rose Marie Burke
Cycling: it’s light on the planet, good for the body ‒ and a great way to see France. During the pandemic, the country has seen a surge in bicycle tourism. My husband and I decided to join that crowd, getting back into the saddle for two weeklong cycling trips over the past year.
We worried we were over the hill at 60+, but we managed to get over the hills, even if slower than in our youth. That said, we took relatively flat routes, in the Charente Valley in October and in Loire Valley in May.
Like many people this last year, we were looking for an outdoor, in-country escape. The clincher for us was discovering France’s growing and improving national network of 58 bicycle routes totaling more than 25,000 km. Better yet, there’s an official website offering maps, suggesting lodging, and providing lots of practical tips, including in English: https://en.francevelotourisme.com/cycle-route. While some routes are dedicated bike lanes, most are on backroads with little traffic.
Like any vacation, you can arrange it yourself or have an agency do it for you, which can include bike rental and transportation of your luggage. Since we are more experienced cyclists and own the proper gear, we decided to take our own bicycles via train and carry our own stuff. We limited ourselves to two back panniers, a lesson in how to live lightly. Rainproof gloves, shoes, and jacket as well as rainpants kept us dry. I limited toiletries to whatever fit in a small ziplock bag.
For our Loire getaway, we booked a train to Orléans, checking the SNCF box to reserve space for our bicycles. Some trains allow you to roll your bicycle into a dedicated car for a small charge; ours to the Loire only accommodated bicycles in a dedicated luggage bag, though free of charge.
The Loire Valley is of course famous for its castles, culture, and wine. We chose the most touristed leg, from Orléans to Saumur, planning to average about 50 km a day for a total of 250 km. (Tip: Before you go, download maps from the website above, as cell networks in the countryside can be patchy.)
Exhausted after packing late into the night and an early departure, we stayed on the train one stop further to Muides to cut our day short. It was raining and windy. Despite our rain gear, the weather dampened our spirits. That evening, it even hailed! But there is not much one can do about the cyclist’s enemy, the wind, except plan to ride from west to east the next time, with the wind at your back!
Our BnB that night was the perfect accommodation for bicycles. Indeed, it merited the official green “Accueil Velo” label outside its door. There was a bicycle rack outside our studio, dinner in the refrigerator, and breakfast that came to our room the next morning.
We used one of our two days in Blois as a rest day, the rainiest yet. We explored our one and only castle (four chateaus in one really), as well as the Museum of Magic, dedicated to the memory and work of Frenchman Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin (1805-1871).
On the fourth day of our trip, the weather turned sunny and hot. The bike paths were mainly off-road and we began to appreciate nature: the croaks of ever-present frogs, the foot-high wheat, the first leaves on grapevines, the perfume of late spring. I enjoyed yelling bonjour to passing cyclists, who are often ready to offer advice or help if needed.
At about 18h on our fourth day, we pulled into Montlouis-sur-Loire, tired and thirsty after 57 kms. Like a mirage, a terrace appeared before our eyes with people enjoying drinks. We treated ourselves to a cool glass of white wine, a local appellation from a winery established by the young French woman Laura David in 2017. I could drink to that! Noticing that the place, Le Berlot, offered dinner, we reserved at once for the best meal of the entire trip – duckling in a sour cherry sauce as my main and, for dessert, rhubarb layered with mint-infused strawberries with a side of vanilla yogurt ice cream.
While we welcomed the tasty meal, food and drink weren’t the focus for the trip. We purchased most of our food at a bakery or grocery store, eaten in our room or on the fly. Our objective was to get outdoors, beat the pandemic blues, and ground ourselves, while experiencing the beauty of “France profonde.” It was profoundly satisfying.
Summer at the movies, by Rebecca Brite
Ever since French cinemas reopened on 19 May, Parisian film lovers, who are legion, have been flocking to the movies in far greater numbers than was the case this time last year, when screens opened under severe restrictions between mid-June and late October.
This enthusiasm is undoubtedly due not just to the success, after a slow start, of France’s vaccination campaign but also to pent-up demand. Cinema operators probably rue the capacity limits still placed on them.
Although many films intended for theaters ended up on streaming platforms, the backlog of releases is still considerable. And these films are in some cases competing with features that were theatrically released during that brief window last year and were brought out anew on 19 May.
For example, Albert Dupontel’s superb black comedy Au revoir les cons made enough of an impression in a nine-day run in October to be nominated for 12 Césars (the French Oscars) and win 7, including best film and, for Dupontel, best director and best screenplay. As of this writing it is still on 350-plus screens nationwide, comparing very favorably with its US peer, best film Oscar winner Nomadland, newly released and on 440-some screens.
Similarly, a widely lauded Franco-Danish animated feature, Calamity, une enfance de Martha Jane Cannary, loosely inspired by the adolescence of the Wild West figure Calamity Jane, won best feature at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in June 2020 but was scarcely seen till its re-release on 19 May; it occupies more than 70 screens, compared with 90-some for Josée, le tigre et les poissons, a well-received Japanese feature that was shown this year at Annecy and is just out.
This month’s ACP movie discussion group meeting (see below) will include two Oscar winners recently released in France. Sound of Metal by Darius Marder won best sound and best editing for its innovative depiction of hearing loss on the part of a metal-band drummer, played by Riz Ahmed, who was nominated for best actor. And veteran Korean star Yuh-Jung Youn won best supporting actress for Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari, a story of immigrants to Arkansas in the 1980s, which was also nominated for best film, best actor (Steven Yeun), best director and screenplay (Chung) and best score.
The movie group will also discuss John M. Chu’s In the Heights (D'où l'on vient), an adaptation of the musical co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame, who as one of the producers came under fire because the lack of Afro-Caribbeans in lead roles misrepresented the demographics of its setting, Manhattan’s Dominican-majority Washington Heights neighborhood. In the Heights has been a succès d’estime in the US: critics love it but box office has been poor.
The veteran Polish director Agnieszka Holland has a film coming out on 30 June called Charlatan in English, Le Procès de l'herboriste in French. Czech actor Ivan Trojan and his son, Josef Trojan, play the younger and older Jan Mikolášek, a real-life herbalist whose remedies landed him in hot water with the Communist Czech authorities in the 1960s.
Annette, the first feature by Leos Carax since the highly praised Holy Motors in 2012, launches the Cannes Film Festival, and opens in theaters, on 6 July. With a Franco-American cast (Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard) and a Los Angeles setting, it was written and scored by Ron and Russell Mael, aka the American art-pop band Sparks, themselves the subject of a documentary, The Sparks Brothers, by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Baby Driver), opening on 28 July.
Summer blockbusters are relatively scarce so far this year. F9, aka the ninth entry in the Fast & Furious franchise, just opened in the US to largely positive reviews that shrug off the physical impossibility of most of the stunts; it opens in France on Bastille Day. A week earlier, on 7 July, comes Black Widow, launching Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “But wait,” you might say, “I thought Natasha Romanoff [SPOILER!!!] sacrificed herself at the end of Phase Three?” and you would be right. But this is set earlier. Yes, it’s all a flashback!
ACP Movie Discussion Group
Date: 15 July, 19h30 on Zoom
Films to see on Netflix: Wish Dragon, Pad Man
In the cinema: Sound of Metal, Minari, In the Heights (D'où l'on vient)
Update: Search Committee for Associate Pastor for Youth and Young Adult Ministries, by Teri Lee Valluy
The youth and young adult pastoral search committee (YAYA SC) spent countless hours over five months praying, researching, meeting, and interviewing on behalf of the pastoral process. The YAYA SC was prayerfully chosen by the ACP Nominating Committee and has members who are parents, youth, youth leaders, young adults, human resources, and the congregation at large.
Matthew Brown and Oyinda Asani co-chaired the group. Jodi Fondell was our pastoral liaison. Pastor Odette Lockwood-Stewart joined full-time after the first round of interviews. Once called by ACP, Pastor Paul Rock also joined when able. Other members are: Jakob Babb, Daniel Grout, Yvonne Hazelton, Lisa Prevett, Joshua Veit, and myself, Teri Lee Valluy.
Before posting the position on sites of denominations, seminaries, and networks in the US, France and the UK, the committee formed a list of qualifications. To eliminate bias, identifying information on applications was redacted.
We had 43 applications, 23 of which were incomplete. Having reviewed the 23 incomplete applications, no one felt the need to follow-up and ask for more information. Thus, we were left with 20 complete applications, all of which were given thorough consideration. Of those, eight were called for interviews.
After prayer and discussion, YAYA SC voted to call three people for second-round interviews. One of those three dropped out of the search process. The committee decided to stick with our two final candidates.
At this point in the process, references were contacted. Each reference was asked to name another person who could also be contacted.
YAYA SC put together a list of questions, some to be sent in advance, such as asking for concrete ideas, and some to be asked without prior notice, to get spur-of-the-moment responses. Candidates were encouraged to send in questions as well.
In total, YAYA SC had 14 committee meetings, the first of which was 14 February 2021, and the last on 24 June. We also had one specific prayer meeting during which we claimed Hebrews 10:9b, “I have come to do your will, O God,” and asked for God's guidance and wisdom, knowing that God already had chosen the person for this position. God has answered our prayers!
After the final conversations and further prayer, YAYA SC met and with great joy, and unanimously voted to recommend a candidate for this position. We wholeheartedly believe that God has brought the right person to serve at ACP in this position at this time.
We are not yet able to reveal this person's identity as the recommendation needs to go to the Executive Council, then Council, and ultimately the congregation for approval of the call. Please stay tuned to the ACP website for further updates and information about a special congregational meeting that will be held on Zoom later this summer. We hope the candidate will also have a chance to meet the young adults, parents, and youth via Zoom once called.
Thank you for your faithfulness in praying for the YAYA search committee and for entrusting this task to us. We ask that you continue to pray for ACP's ministry to youth and young adults and that God will be at work in our candidate's life as this person prepares to join us in the autumn.
SAVE THE DATE!
The 56th annual Bloom Where You’re Planted expat orientation seminar, by Lisa Anselmo
Join the American Church in Paris this fall on 16 October for the 56th annual Bloom Where You’re Planted ‒ the premier expat orientation seminar. We’re going virtual again this year, so you can attend from wherever you are.
If you’re new to France or planning on moving here, this is your chance to learn how to make the most of your new life:
- Finding your perfect home
- Understanding immigration
- Acclimating to the culture and lifestyle
- Navigating French bureaucracy
- Starting a business, career opportunities
- Creating community, and more!
Visit BLOOMPARIS.ORG for more information.
Disclaimer: The Bloom Where You’re Planted event will be recorded. Payment and participation constitutes your agreement to be included in recordings, which will be posted on the internet for an amount of time to be determined by the Bloom Where You’re Planted organizers. You will have the option to turn off your camera/mute your voice, but you only be able to monitor workshops, and would not be able to actively participate in discussions.
What’s up in Paris, by Karen Albrecht
Several of this summer’s events focus on the role of women in the arts, spanning a broad range of media, continents and historical periods. Some health restrictions still apply, so be sure to reserve ahead.
New angles on Abstraction
The Centre Pompidou's "Women in Abstraction" deliberately bends the boundaries of Abstraction to reflect the full force of women's contributions before, after, and in parallel to the mainstream, male-dominated canon. The show travels from 19th-century spiritualist painter Georgiana Houghton to early 20th-century dancers who created abstract forms in motion, via women active in the mid-century heydey of Abstract Expressionism, and on to the colorful Judy Chicago, and other voices still timely today. Many of the featured artists either fled the spotlight, were ignored, or were upstaged by brilliant spouses. But celebrated figures like Barbara Hepworth and Louise Bourgeois demonstrate that women have also succeeded in gaining recognition for their unique talents.
Until 23 August, www.centrepompidou.fr
Sequins and songstresses
"Divas" at the Institut du Monde Arabe explores the pioneering role female artists managed to carve out in conservative Arab cultures, starting with literary salons and a burgeoning theatrical scene in 1920s Cairo, and Egypt's first musical film "La Chanson du coeur," a fascinating period piece. Elaborate song-and-dance numbers from "Hollywood on the Nile" offer a surprisingly spicy spin on the Hollywood-style musical, while evocative concert videos highlight Egyptian legend Oum Kalthoum’s vocal virtuosity and the raw emotional power of Lebanese songstress Fayrouz. Dalida's famously over-the-top costumes and glitzy accessories may steal the show, but the real stars here are the talented women who dared to be divas.
Until 26 September, www.imarabe.org
Hands across the water
The intriguing show "The Power of My Hands" gathers a disparate collection of eye-opening contemporary creations by 16 women from across Africa and the African diaspora. The two female curators chose paintings, photographs, videos, sculpture, and textiles exploring spirituality, the body, motherhood, and social issues, giving new voice to the 1970s feminist credo "the personal is political." Mozambican Reinata Sadimba's beguiling clay sculpture portrays a trio fused together in a mystical, circular embrace, while Nigerian-American Wura-Natasha Ogunji's provocative street-performance video asks "Will I still carry water when I am a dead woman?". A feast for the eyes, and food for thought.
Until 22 August, www.mam.paris.fr
Sand and seas
The newly renovated Musée de la Vie Romantique offers an alluring glimpse into the intense artistic and intellectual activity in the 19th-century Paris neighborhood nicknamed "La Nouvelle Athènes." Much of the museum chronicles the life, the loves, and the literary exploits of the era's most famous feminist, the indomitable George Sand. The current show "Storms and Shipwrecks" explores the Romantic period's twin fascination with the powerful forces of nature and the power of human drama, via paintings of churning seas, moodily menacing skies, hapless vessels tossed upon the waves, and tragic victims washed up on shore. For some calm after the storm, repair to the garden for a soothing herbal tea and exquisite pastries from the famed Rose Bakery.
Until 12 September, https://museevieromantique.paris.fr
Enlightening the sanctuary: ACP’s new lighting project
Goodbye to Odette and Jim
Odette and Jim’s final day with us will be Sunday 18 July. A special team is planning a sendoff ceremony that day to show our love and appreciation to this dedicated couple who led us through a very challenging year. Please join us as we thank Odette and Jim and praise God for their time at the American Church in Paris:
Sunday 18 July, at the 11h worship service
We will also be collecting well wishes for Odette and Jim. Physical cards can be mailed to the church at the address below, or left at the church reception.
The American Church in Paris, Attention: Farewell Team, 65 Quai d’Orsay, 75007 Paris
The cards will be given to the Lockwood-Stewarts on the 18th. Please make sure you post them by 13 July or bring them with you to the special service where we will have a collection box.
Thank you for your part in making this a special day for such a special couple.
OPERATION GREEN THUMB
Help adorn the senior pastor apartment with lovely plants for the arrival of Paul and Stacey Rock. Here is Stacey’s reaction to the idea:
“I absolutely love the idea of Operation Green Thumb! My daughter turned me into a plant person during the pandemic and, of all our things, I am truly saddest to leave the house plants I have cultivated. I just said to Paul yesterday – really! – that it will be fun to add plants to the apartment. How wonderful if some could be starters from church members - there’s something very beautiful about that.”
Knights of the North Castle: Quest for the King's Armor
Place: American Church in Paris
Dates: Monday to Thursday, 23-26 August
Who: Children ages 3-10
Please mark your calendars for Vacation Bible School at ACP. Our theme is "Knights of the North Castle: Quest for the King's Armor," which "invites children to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of God’s power by exploring how we put on the armor of God."
Although the program will be conducted primarily in English, VBS is for open to all children regardless of spoken language or level of ability, ages 3-10 years old.
Register your child at acparis.org/VBS2021.
ACP Today in July
Monday 5 July 20h45: John Price and Rev. Jim Lockwood-Stewart co-host, reporting on the latest ACP news, the 4th of July, and a possible chat with our new Visiting Pastor, Rev. Don Lee.
Monday 19 July 20h45: Jörg Kaldewey co-hosts with Revs. Odette and Jim Lockwood-Stewart, who discuss the past year, and look to their future as they say “au revoir” to ACP. And we catch up with former Senior Pastor Scott Herr, one year after, and find out what he’s been up to, his challenges and blessings.
ACP Movie Discussion Group
Date: 15 July 19h30 on Zoom
Films to see on Netflix: Wish Dragon, Pad Man
In the cinema: Sound of Metal, Minari, In the Heights (D'où l'on vient)
Children’s Worship Online is at acparis.org starting at 9h.
Traditional Worship is in the Sanctuary at 11h, and is livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube (see acparis.org for links).
Contemporary Worship is in the Sanctuary at 14h. Registration is required for both Worship in the Sanctuary services; see acparis.org Mondays at 12h to reserve your seats.
Volunteer Editor for The Spire