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

Editor: Alison Benney

In this issue

Re-building a Post Pandemic Church who talks about money, by Rev. Dr. Paul Rock, Senior Pastor

ACP Update, by Revs. Doug and Jodi Fondell, Interim Associate Pastors

Post-pandemic marriage vows and vow renewal, by Rev. Don Lee, Visiting Pastor

Stewardship as discipleship: Finding my way, by Kate Snipes, Pastoral Intern

Freeing Jesus: Thurber Conversation, with Diana Butler Bass

Creation care

Alcoholics Anonymous, alive and well at ACP, by Marie Grout

Families and movies for Thanksgiving, by Rebecca Brite

Sanctuary light and sound check, by Daniel Grout

New ACP Bible Study: St. Paul, the bridge builder

Youth and Young Adults Update

What's up in Paris, by Karen Albrecht

Community Life welcomes you back to fellowship together!, by Kym Stewart and Chandra Laizeau

Guns and Christians – Review on Shane Claiborne’s “Hope for People Who are Weary of Violence,, by Alison Benney

ACP announcements

ACP Christmas concert

Re-building a Post Pandemic Church who talks about money, by Rev. Dr. Paul Rock, Senior Pastor

Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to talk about our money? If we were to name a singular topic that can both silence a group of over-sharers and deeply divide even the closest of families, it would be money. Why is money, and specifically, talking about our money, so incredibly challenging? Well, as a pastor who has talked intimately with many people and congregations about finances over the decades, let me share with you just a few reasons

  1. We are wired to ensure we and our loved ones have enough. Part of our DNA as sentient creatures on this earth is to make sure we won’t lack in food, clothing, warmth, water… all the things that keep us alive and healthy. This causes us to want to hold onto and accumulate stuff.
  2. It’s embarrassing. For many, talking about how much money we have is about as vulnerable as we can get. Some of us are in deep debt and we’re not making the money we need to get out of that debt. Some of us only make enough to get by month to month. Some of us have been fortunate to earn, receive, or accumulate more money than we probably need. Talking about all of that in the context of global wealth disparity is embarrassing.
  3. We love money more than we should. Human society has always used money as a measure of success and importance, and we naturally buy into that measure. It’s hard not to. The more you have, the more important and worthy you are. And we all want to feel worthy and valued.
  4. Some of us were deeply shaped by very individualistic societies and value structures. So, our stuff is our stuff for good or bad. Our struggles are ours alone, our blessings are also ours. We don’t view ourselves as simply one person in a larger human family or one ligament in the body of Christ. So, if we don’t take care of us, no one will. And we apply the same logic to others.
  5. We all come from different cultures and backgrounds where attitudes about money and how we talk about it or how we share it or spend it are vastly different. It’s easier to just respect each other’s perspectives by not talking about money.
  6. Finally (and this list could just keep going), we don’t talk about money because we don’t talk about it. We all see how that self-perpetuating logic works.

So, as the people of ACP, united in our desire to grow in the image of Christ and his ways, how should we respond when it comes to talking about this difficult and divisive subject? First, I would say, with empathy and understanding. It’s a tough topic to discuss or dig into for the reasons above. Money has shaped us and been used against us; hurt, confused, and embarrassed us – for decades.

And, then… with gentleness and understanding, we do need to talk about it. If we truly want Jesus to be lord of all of our lives, then the most challenging rooms and corners, where we don’t really want to turn on the lights or open the windows, need attention. One of the main ways we can demystify and disempower money and materialism, shame and idolatry, is simply by being honest and open about it.

That’s what we’re trying to do at ACP. The fact is, the past two years have been pretty devastating for all of us. There has been so much loss and trauma. Financially, many have lost jobs, income, and savings. And yet some of us have done fairly well. ACP has been fortunate to have a faithful and generous membership, now and in the past: people who have invested in our ministries and facilities as ways to advance and expand God’s love in the world. ACP is also fortunate to have a team of trustees in the US who pay my salary and cover some of the more expensive costs of this building (such as the current work in the sanctuary).

However, the income we receive from the tithes and gifts of current members and attendees, supplemented by income from renting our space and weddings, needs to pay for all of our day-to-day costs to do ministry and support mission here on the Seine.

Maybe it’s a little embarrassing, but here in Paris, ACP doesn’t have a lot in savings. And in light of the past couple of years, we are in debt and have had to take out a couple of loans. None of this is a result of reckless or foolish practices or behavior, it’s just where we find ourselves after two years of a global pandemic. So, we’re going to do our best to talk about it. No shame, no blame, no comparison, just giving voice to the reality of where we are and being honest about what’s ahead – together.

That’s the key part. We do this together. As each of us opens up a bit, we can together dethrone, defang, and demystify the secret power of money and finances. And, I believe, actually discover together that when everyone is honest, when everyone shares, when everyone gives what they can, we will be amazed to see that there actually is enough. Nothing to fear.

This is one lesson I have learned again from reading over the book of Acts this fall. It’s good to be reminded what it ideally looks like when we share all things in common as God’s Children. As Luke describes in Acts 4:32, “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had… God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them.”

That’s the Christian goal, my friends. Not to talk less or to divide more, but to open up, come together, share, admit, repent, and give generously. Things will be different and, I believe, we will all be better off by the ways our post-pandemic church will look and feel. But it will take all of us. And that’s a good and hopeful thing. We were never meant to do this alone. Together, we’re enough. So, here’s to a season of honesty, sharing, abundance, and thanksgiving together,


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ACP Update, by Revs. Doug and Jodi Fondell, Interim Associate Pastors

Everybody Always: A recap

Our most recent Wednesday evening adult learning opportunity was more of a spiritual formation journey than a deep dive into Bible study. Through the prompting of author Bob Goff, we encountered the following realities:

  • When it comes to loving everybody always, we don't have to cross an ocean to do so, but we might have to cross the street. (Or, in other words...we need to consider the people who are in our spheres of influence ‒ the people we live with, the people we live next door to, the people we work with, the people we see regularly, the people we're just getting to know, and even the strangers we encounter in daily life.)
  • We've seen that the people who are sometimes most difficult to love are the people we're closest to, or people who sometimes make it really hard for us to want to love them.
  • We've seen just how important it is for us to try our best to understand their story in order to better grasp the life experiences others are often wrestling with.
  • We've seen that we can actually stretch ourselves in making the effort to love the people whom we might deem difficult to love ‒ which means risk...the risk of feeling misunderstood, feeling rejected, and feeling hurt by the relationship, the risk of having to deal with bitterness and resentment.

The richest part of sharing these five weeks was realized in the breakout rooms where each participant openly and honestly shared from their own life experiences. Loving others in the way that Jesus loves us is not always easy, but it is always fulfilling.

We used the following list a couple of times during the class, and Pastor Paul even shared it with the staff recently, as a good reminder of how to intentionally go about caring for those we encounter. May it be a blessing to you as we head into November, a season of giving thanks and generosity.

1. Compliment 3 people each day.

2. Love difficult people 30 seconds at a time.

3. Forget trying to keep up with the Joneses. It only leads to envy/jealousy.

4. Don't deprive anyone of hope...it may be all they have, or need to be assured of at the moment.

5. Be kinder and more gracious to yourself and others than you may think is necessary.

6. Always remember that a person’s greatest need is to be loved and appreciated.

7. Don't rain on other people’s parades...join the celebration.

8. Never waste your opportunities to tell someone you love them.

9. Remind yourself...that there is nothing you have ever said or done, or will say or do that will ever diminish the love that God has for you! You are beloved and you always will be!

10. Then, find creative ways to pay that love forward by doing what you can to catch someone else on the bounce.

News from the Association of International Churches in Europe (AICEME)

You may or may not know that ACP is a member of the AICEME. As such, ACP pastors and spouses attend a conference each year, to enable closer fellowship, mutual encouragement and support among the clergy and spouses of the association, and to provide resources for pastoral ministry. Conferences for youth pastors and for youth are also offered each year.

While the in-person gatherings had been suspended throughout the pandemic, many Zoom meetings were held, including two annual meetings where the business of the organization could be done. Other Zooms were held to encourage one another and to share ideas for how we were all coping with the new realities of limited gatherings and online ministry.

Finally, the first week of October, the pastors and spouses were able to gather in Berlin, Germany at the American Church in Berlin (another church that the AFCU supports, by the way), for a mini-conference. The main purpose of the gathering was to CONNECT! Paul and Stacey and Jodi were all able to attend. (Doug was in the US with his mom during her final earthly days). While it was Paul and Stacey's first gathering with this group, Jodi realized it was the 23rd time she had attended a pastor and spouse conference with AICEME!

Mornings were spent in reflection, worship, prayer, and sharing. Meals were shared and conversations were deepened. Free time was given to explore an incredible city and linger with friends and colleagues.

A visit to the Bonhoeffer House was a meaningful way to spend one afternoon. It was here that theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote many of his insightful books, and also here that he was arrested near the end of WWII.  Bonhoeffer's theological contributions remain important message for Christians and are as relevant today as they were in 1944.

Plans are in place for a full pastor and spouse conference in May 2022 in Rome, Italy. Conversation has not yet been

had regarding a youth gathering, but I'm sure it will be on the agenda for that meeting. The AICEME provides an important place of connection and encouragement for international churches in Europe and the middle east. If you are traveling to another European city, we urge you to look for a member church to attend on a Sunday.

Thanksgiving events

Save the date! Plan to attend the interfaith Thanksgiving Day church service at ACP on Thursday, 25 November at 12h15. A light reception will follow this service. If you are available during the day to help serve at this reception, please contact Pastor Jodi at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Gather and Give Thanks: Join us for our annual Thanksgiving meal. Community Life is pleased to offer an opportunity to gather for traditional food from the American Thanksgiving table. Please join us if you can. Tickets will be sold after the worship services each Sunday in November – but this event usually sells out so get your tickets soon! The cost is 25 euros for adults age 13+, and 20 euros for ages 5-12. The pass sanitaire is required.

In Christ,
Pastors Jodi and Doug

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Post-pandemic marriage vows and vow renewal, by Rev. Don Lee, Visiting Pastor

Greetings, friends! On 23 October, we held our first wedding in a very long time at ACP! A lovely young American couple traveled to Paris with their families to be joined in marriage in the eyes of God. As Visiting Pastor, this event was especially gratifying as this is the ministry to which I was called during my stay with you. I admit to being a little choked up during the ceremony as I led these young adults through their vows. Beauty does that to me sometimes!

On 15 October, we had our first marriage vow renewal ceremony since the pandemic, and it was for none other than my wife Tana and I, as we celebrated our 40th year together. Jörg Kaldewey presided over this beautiful service and Martha Gachoka was our witness. Fred Gramann played stirring music for the ceremony, which added so much to our experience. This was intimate and beautiful; and, yes, I did feel a tear of joy as we said our vows to each other. After 40 years, there is much to reflect upon, and the renewal ceremony seemed to capture that and place all those memories, joys, and sorrows in a liturgical container that amplified God’s abiding love in our lives. Thanks to all who wished us well during our celebration time!

To the young couple from the US and to Tana and me, it just didn’t matter that half the sanctuary was curtained off for construction. It didn’t matter that it was a little dusty. It didn’t matter that we couldn’t see all the beautiful stained-glass windows.

What mattered is that we felt a holy presence and experienced God’s abiding love even in an imperfect setting, made perfect by those who participated and by the mighty presence of God, who is always in our lives to bring something new: a future with hope, a dream to realize.

Maybe in the days ahead we will have more marriage vow renewal ceremonies. If this is something you and your spouse may have considered, I hope you will chat with me about it. Whether married one year or 50, the ceremony helps to set a couple on a fresh new path, nourished by the past and energized by the love of God.

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Stewardship as discipleship: Finding my way, by Kate Snipes, Pastoral Intern

I begin with three admissions:

First, just a couple of years ago I did not understand the role of financial stewardship in personal Christian discipleship. Second, I did not understand that ACP relies on our generosity to bring the Gospel and its mission to the world. (I guess I assumed there was a secret bottomless pot filled with gold?) Third, when I was asked to participate in the church stewardship committee 90 percent of my being rose up in protest, while about a tenth realized that I was resisting being a true servant. Sometimes we are called to something from outside ourselves, not always just from within. However, even in our hesitancy we realize that it may not be what we want, but it is what we need.

For those who are versed in the language of stewardship, this is a basic tenet, and for those who are novice or pre-novice, like me, here are some lessons I have learned in my process of being a better steward myself:

  1. A pledge is simply an estimated amount of money you think you are able to give to ACP in the next year. Think of it as a flexible promise or an estimate of giving. It matters because budget plans for the next year at ACP (and any church) are in part based on our pledges. It is not a check or cash now, nor an automatically scheduled payment. The estimate is what you think you can give based on what you know now. If it changes, up or down, there is no contract or obligation.
  2. Tithing is not just another word for an offering or giving, or pledging. The definition of tithe is, literally, a tenth. It is sharing a percentage of your blessings with the church or on charitable giving. This term is deeply rooted in the Old Testament, from Jacob’s ladder dream of offering a tenth (Genesis 28:20-22) to Moses calling a tenth of the herd and flock the Lord’s (Leviticus 27:30-32).* As Christians we are not required to tithe, nor is 10% a magic number. We can think of tithing as a way to share a portion of all we are blessed with from a spirit of generosity and abundance, rather than from a feeling of scarcity.
  3. Stewardship is biblically grounded. I had the misimpression that money, aside from the difficulties it created, was not specifically discussed in scripture. In fact, there are many verses and references to money and donations throughout scripture. Jesus Christ said: “Where your treasure is there will be your heart also.” (Matthew 6:21) Paul’s Epistles regularly referenced financial collections (1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 9:7).
  4. The American Church in Paris does not hold great endowments. An endowment is a significant amount of money from which the earnings can help pay for operating and other church expenses. While many churches have such endowments, ACP does not. A goal to build such an endowment would be a good way to help ensure that ACP can survive and thrive as a Beacon on the Seine for future generations. However, the AFCU holds some endowments for the benefit of ACP, and those funds help to pay the senior pastor’s salary and other costs.

Over the past couple of years, I have learned a lot, although I am still a novice on the church finance front. Most importantly I learned that giving joyfully is personally important, as it helps me live securely in a spirit of abundance, rather than standing on crumbling ground created by a fear of scarcity.

There are many reasons to give, and they are not the same for everyone. Some feel called to contribute in gratitude for God’s gift of grace, and his Son; as an act of worship; to bear witness to our faith; and also, to participate in God’s mission for our world. The spirit of generous giving is alive and well at ACP. I hope that if you have not considered it recently, you will pray on how you are able to grow your stewardship at ACP.

* See Weems and Michel, Generosity Stewardship and Abundance, Roman and Littlefield, New York, 2021. 

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Freeing Jesus: Thurber Conversation, with Diana Butler Bass

How can you still be a Christian? This is the most common question Diana Butler Bass is asked today.

It is a question that many believers ponder as they wrestle with disappointment and disillusionment in their church experience, their interactions with other believers, and in their personal devotion to Christ. Some are choosing to leave the church, others are exiting their faith all-together, but Diana says there's a much better way...and the key is to Free Jesus.

Join us in conversation with Diana as she speaks to us about these concerns. Come and discover that Jesus is not a one-dimensional/static Savior, but a God who walks with us and helps through life's challenges in several capacities: as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence.

This special evening is our invitation to rediscover Jesus in all his many manifestations, to experience Him beyond the narrow confines we may have chosen to build around Him.

Diana Butler Bass is an award-winning author, popular speaker, inspiring preacher, and one of America's most trusted commentators on religion and contemporary spirituality, especially where faith intersects with politics and culture.

To register to attend this Thurber Conversation in person or via Zoom go to our website at acparis.org/signups.

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Creation care

English-speaking faith and other communities have launched the European Interfaith Climate Campaign. We have committed to working together toward rapid, transformative change to avert climate catastrophe.

We at the American Church in Paris feel compelled to respond to the climate crisis, which is afflicting the poor and vulnerable the most. Our children and generations to come will suffer and perish from our inaction. Rapid, transformative change is needed now to avert climate catastrophe.

The other signatories – Quakers of France, Kehilat Gesher, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Paris, American International Church in London, and 0.6 Planet – feel the same way and have pledged to work together to shed light on the systemic and structural issues blocking a sustainable future and climate justice for all people, through reflection, prayer, and action.

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, and to join the creation care ministry, write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Alcoholics Anonymous, alive and well at ACP, by Marie Grout

The American Church in Paris has been discreetly hosting meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) since 1954. To share information about alcoholism and AA, the lay care team is offering a talk on Sunday, 28 November, open to all.

Rev. Tana Lee will briefly share her experience growing up in an alcoholic family and her own struggle with addiction as a young adult. She will touch on her volunteer work in California over the last two years at a Behavior Modification Hospital, with parolee young mothers with addiction history.

The talk will close with experiences in Paris and at the American Church working with addicts and alcoholics. There will be time for Q&A, and a one-page resource from AA Great Britain and the Continental European Region will be provided.

You are invited to join us on Sunday, 28 November, at 12h30 in the 2nd floor Library. Tana can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Families and movies for Thanksgiving, by Rebecca Brite

For every five people who consider Thanksgiving the absolute best holiday of the year, haloed in togetherness and the warm haze of a slight tryptophan overdose, there are at least two in whom mention of the holiday triggers near-PTSD with memories of their homophobic cousin (who, chances are, will turn up in a few years with a boyfriend) or ultra-high-decibel arguments over whether to put sweet pickle relish in the deviled eggs.

Hollywood thinks the second type of Thanksgiving makes for much more interesting movies than the first.

Probably the best-known example of the Nightmare Before, During and After Thanksgiving is Jodie Foster’s sophomore directorial effort, Home for the Holidays (1995). Everything ends more or less happily, of course, but only after much dysfunctional-family chaos, including a major mid-carving turkey mishap. Holly Hunter and Robert Downey Jr., playing siblings, won praise from critics for their acting.

Dysfunctional families and how much we love them are a common theme in Thanksgiving movies. Another woman director, Gurinder Chadha, brings four of them together in What’s Cooking? (2000), in which typical Americans of Vietnamese, Latino, Jewish, and African American origin celebrate in their diverse ways, complicated by gay couples, estranged couples, estranged parents and kids, and romances outside the family culture.

Indie filmmaker Peter Hedges’s first film, Pieces of April (2003), stars Katie Holmes as a young woman who is estranged from her whole family, but decides to bring them together for a Thanksgiving meal because her mother has terminal cancer and her grandmother has dementia; so it may be her last chance to mend some fences. Patricia Clarkson, for whom this was one of two breakthrough films in 2003 (with The Station Agent), received an Oscar nomination for her supporting role as the mother.

On the whole, though, there are many more movies not really about Thanksgiving but set at or framed by the holiday. One of Woody Allen’s best films, Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), starts at one Thanksgiving dinner, visits another a year later, and ends with the one the year after that. All three feature the same extended family but its configurations change. Partly inspired by Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander, the film stars Mia Farrow as Hannah and features Farrow’s real-life mother, Maureen O’Sullivan, as her mother.

1Two well-known films of the 1990s, Martin Brest’s Scent of a Woman (1992) and Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm (1997), take place at Thanksgiving but make relatively little mention of it. The former, starring Al Pacino at his shoutiest, is a remake of Dino Risi's Profumo di donna (1974) and was the high point of Brest’s career, which crashed and burned in 2003 with the ill-fated Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez vehicle Gigli.

Lee, after making his reputation with such feel-good hits as The Wedding Banquet and Sense and Sensibility, went darker with The Ice Storm, set in a 1970s suburban milieu replete with social change and sexual confusion. It did well with the critics but poorly at the box office, although it would become an art-house staple and entered the Criterion Collection in 2008. Kevin Kline heads the large ensemble cast.

One Thanksgiving favorite is less about the holiday and more about trying to get there – by way of Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987). Directed by John Hughes in his first departure from teen comedies, it stars two of filmdom’s greatest comics, Steve Martin and John Candy. Candy, then at the height of his comedic powers (he would die of a heart attack at age 43 less than a decade later), plays the shower-ring salesman trying to help Martin’s ad exec get home to Chicago, mostly with terrible but hilarious results.

Honorable mentions:

Barry Sonnenfeld’s Addams Family Values (1993), in which Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman), forced to go to summer camp, traumatize the other campers with their spin on the first Thanksgiving.

Christopher Guest’s For Your Consideration (2006), about a yet-unfinished Oscar contender called Home for Purim whose producers decide the ethnic drama will be more commercial as Home for Thanksgiving. Written by Guest and Eugene Levy, it has a vast cast including Levy and Catherine O’Hara, more recently known for the wildly popular series Schitt’s Creek.

Whether you watch one of these films in the run-up to Thanksgiving Day or as a follow-up to the Thanksgiving turkey, I’d like to steal Art Buchwald’s perennial phrase and wish you all a “Joyeux Jour de Merci Donnant.”

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Sanctuary light and sound check, by Daniel Grout

Photo: © Fred Gramann

In our post-pandemic transition to modern sound and lighting, the congregation has become used to worshipping in a smaller sanctuary. What’s going on behind that giant white screen on the side of the building? I am happy to say that we are working with a number of very efficient companies. Here is the list:

  • One to set up and move scaffolding when needed.
  • One to make holes in the wall, pass cabling, and set up lamps.
  • One to block those holes and recover the walls with the same color and texture.
  • One to set up the new sound system.
  • One to help us to set up our streaming system with cameras, computers, cabling, etc.

All of this is managed by an external project manager; we are pleased with how well he is doing.

As of beginning November, the work is on time. The scaffolding came down on 2 November, and is being set up on the other side of the sanctuary. The first results of the lighting on that side were very impressive.

If everything continues as planned, we may be able to hold a Christmas concert on 11 December without any scaffolding. Let us continue to pray!

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New ACP Bible Study: St. Paul, the bridge builder

Wednesday Evening Adult Learning at ACP

Each Wednesday from 19h30-21h via Zoom, from 10 November to 15 December

Register at acparis.org/signups.

Join us each Wednesday evening as we explore the mission and vision of the Apostle Paul as revealed in his letters to the churches in Asia Minor.

The early church struggled day after day to live into its new identity as a united/passionate community of faith. Individuals and groups within the churches often had contrary ideas about Christ, Paul, and one another. The vision of unity that Jesus prayed for in the upper room prior to his crucifixion didn't take hold overnight. The church struggled intensely with racial divides, economic disparities, gender inequality, cultural misunderstandings, as well as Biblical/theological interpretation. They struggled to live into their identity as Christians in a Roman world- a world that was hostile to anyone who threatened the Roman way of life.

For such a time as this, the Apostle Paul gave his all to build bridges of love, grace, and unity; to impart and to pursue one dream, to preach one gospel, and to sacrifice everything for one beautiful vision: that all people would believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be one in their shared witness to the world. May that bridge building dream develop and thrive in and through us, for such a time as ours.

St Paul The Bridge Builder: Study Synopsis

10 November    Grace ‒ Experiencing God's “Yes”. - Acts 26, Eph. 3, Rom. 8
17 November    Love ‒ Love works and love shares.- I Cor. 4; 2 Cor. 11; Col. 3
24 November    The Table ‒ Finding our connections. - I Cor. 10-11, Gal. 3, Rom. 12
1 December       Holiness ‒ Beyond being separate- Eph. 4-5; 2 Thess. 2
8 December       Freedom ‒ From, to Become, and For.- Acts 16; Rom. 13; 2 Cor. 5
15 December     Flourishing ‒ The fullness of life.- Acts 17; Gal. 5; Phil. 1-2; 2Tim. 2

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Youth and Young Adults Update

The Youth and Young Adult ministries are back from their Toussaint vacations, and we are ready to continue meeting starting this Sunday and Tuesday!!

Thank you to the volunteers and leaders who started the school year off strong!

The Youth Group (ages 11-18) meets every Sunday from 12h30-13h45 in the Catacombs.

The Young Adult Group meets every Tuesday at 19h30 in the Library.

There will be an parent/adult meeting on 5 December at 12h30 for any parent who wishes to attend and meet Elizabeth Murray, our new Pastor for Youth and Young Adults. Please do not hesitate to contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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What’s up in Paris, by Karen Albrecht

1Waiting to inhale

Long hailed as the city's smelliest attraction, the museum showcasing Paris's pioneering sewer system has just reopened after three years of renovations. Just down the street from ACP, the subterranean gallery of historical exhibits celebrates the sewer system's key role in the city's development, displaying the specialized boats, boots and mechanical contraptions crafted to keep things flowing. Then it's on into the dank tunnels to experience the sights, sounds, and, yes, the smells of this mysterious city beneath the city.


Photo: © Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main.jpgVirgins and venuses

If gilded lilies and magnificent madonnas are more your style, prepare to jostle for position to ogle the 40-some splendid works by Florentine favorite Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) on display at the Musée Jacquemart-André. Winsomely engaging scenes of Virgin and Child and other masterfully composed religious scenes share the sadly cramped stage with sumptuously textured portraits of the noble Medici clan, and a stunning, alabaster-skinned Venus demurely clad in her flowing golden tresses.

Until 24 January, www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com

Photo: © Alfons AltHoofbeats and heartbeats

If you didn’t think horses could dance, you haven’t seen Zingaro. The troupe’s trademark “equestrian theater,” brainchild of genial founder Bartabas, began with the ground-breaking 1984 "Equestrian Cabaret," morphing into ever more poetic evocations of India, Latin America, and more otherworldly realms. Their brand-new "Cabaret de l'éxil" incorporates references to traditional Yiddish culture, with lively klezmer music providing the upbeat soundtrack for the heart-stopping equine acrobatics.

Until 31 December, www.bartabas.fr


Photo: © Christophe Raynaud De LageGenre bending

As if to remind Parisians that two-legged acrobats can be just as breathtaking, Compagnie XY is bringing its own brand of trans-genre magic to the big-top tent at La Villette. "Möbius," created in collaboration with acclaimed choreographer Rachid Ouramane, features 19 artists clad in simple black and white, tumbling, twirling, vaulting, and nimbly elevating each other to new heights in a heady mix of gravity-defying circus tricks and eloquent, emotionally charged modern-dance moves.

Until 28 November, lavillette.com

1Tinseltown to catwalk

It's no surprise that Paris's ever-theatrical fashion genius Jean-Paul Gaultier has always had a thing for the movies. In "Cinémode," the city's peerless Cinémathèque film museum zooms in on the scenes, artists, costumes, and characters from the silver screen that molded some of Gaultier's most inspired creations, from Superman, Rocky, and Marlon Brando to Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, and the unforgettable Divine. While you’re there, take in a screening from the Cinémathèque’s excellent, highly eclectic programming.

Until 16 January, cinematheque.fr

Photo: © Estate of Vivian MaierEveryday miracles

Vivian Maier (1926-2009) worked as a nanny in Chicago's North Shore; only after her death were trunks containing thousands of her photographs discovered, and her unsung status as a leading talent in 20th century photography revealed. Maier's crisp black-and-white shots of ordinary people in the streets of New York and Chicago focus in on nameless but intensely personal scenes displaying humor, beauty, and quirky humanity, fleeting vignettes that are anachronistic, yet strangely timeless. Her close-ups of disembodied, yet highly expressive hands and anonymous, yet wryly individual backsides are especially poignant.

Until 16 January, museeduluxembourg.fr

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Community Life welcomes you back to fellowship together! , by Kym Stewart and Chandra Laizeau

We have all been waiting for a time when we could safely re- gather, break bread and embrace each other, and we are happy that there have been some opportunities to meet.

The month of October has been busy welcoming people during our open doors events, greeting new members and gathering for Pastor Rock's installation. October has given us many opportunities to celebrate together: The Open Doors event welcomed people into the ACP to know our church community better. "Becoming like the French'' helped newly arrived ACP members to step into French culture and lifestyle. A professional luxury concierge guided us through ways to fit more comfortably in French society.

Then, we held a classic board game and pizza party where people from both services gathered. It was a wonderful evening full of fellowship and fun.

If you missed any of our events, please join us at the next one! These events are free and supported by your generous giving so we thank you for your generous contributions. If you have ideas for community events, would like to volunteer or would like to join our mailing list, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In the meantime, make sure to pick up your tickets for the Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, 27 November. Hopefully we will see you there!

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Guns and Christians – Review on Shane Claiborne’s “Hope for People Who are Weary of Violence, by Alison Benney

 “After every mass shooting in America, the preachers and politicians offer thoughts and prayers. I believe in prayer. But I also believe that prayer can be a place to hide from responsibility. We can pray, but we have other actions at our disposal, too, that God has encouraged us to do. One of my mentors said, ‘If you ask God to move a mountain, God might give you a shovel.’ We might be waiting on God, and God might be waiting on us.”

Inspiring words from Shane Claiborne, a renowned Christian activist, bestselling author, and a sought-after speaker. We were fortunate to host him as our Thurber speaker via Zoom on 26 October. Moderated by Pastors Doug and Jodi, he shared statistics, clarity, and some practical ideas on reducing gun violence. Here are some excerpts from his talk, which you can listen to in full in the Thurber archives at acparis.org.

In my book Executing Grace, I note that the Bible Belt in the US is the “Death Belt:” 95% of executions happen in the Bible Belt, where Christian governors are in power, where Christian legislators are making decisions, where the death penalty has held on. Then I saw figures on gun violence.

This is the tragedy, that Christians are the highest gun-owning demographic in America, and white evangelical Christians in particular. We kind of instinctively think that these are political issues, or social issues, and they are. But they’re also spiritual issues.

The reality is that in America 40,000 lives a year are lost to gun violence, that is, 105 lives a day. And look at this: Two thirds of our gun deaths are suicide. And the reason that guns are so important when it comes to suicide is because they’re so effective. Almost everybody that attempts to take their life with a gun succeeds and dies - it’s over 90%.

But what’s interesting is the opposite is true. Almost every other method of suicide, when people use other methods to try to take their own life, 90% of the time they survive the first suicide attempt, and they don’t go on to take their own life. They go on to rethink it, or they get help. So, thwarting the first suicide attempt is absolutely critical, and guns make that almost impossible.

Guns are the number one cause of death of African-American kids, and number two for all of our kids. African American kids are 10 times more likely to die from guns than white kids. For anyone who says they’re pro-life, it becomes impossible to ignore the epidemic of gun violence.

A pastor friend gave me something that looks just like a Bible case I had in high school, said “this is one of the top-selling Bible cases in America.” Then I opened it up and it is actually not for a Bible at all. It’s designed for and marketed to Christians who want to carry a gun concealed. A gun concealed in a Bible case. You can’t make this stuff up! We’re trying to worship Jesus in one hand and carry a gun in the other.

So what can we do? Regulation is one way. We’re at a crossroads in America right now, where we have to choose between love and fear. What would it look like if love rather than fear was the thing that was shaping policies?

I like how Dr Martin Luther King addressed this. He said, “A law cannot make you love me. But it can make it harder for you to kill me.” (laughs) Right? You can’t legislate love, but what policy should do is protect life and let life flourish.

My latest project is taking a cue from the Bible and turning swords into plows, decommissioning guns and turning them into garden tools, crosses, jewelry. The project is called Raw Tools (“war” flipped backwards), see more at https://rawtools.org

I’m encouraged because statistics are very consistent that 80% of gun owners want to see some changes. We’ve got a whole coalition of hunters against assault rifles. Most gun owners want to see domestic abusers penalized, unable to have access to weapons. That’s where background checks could be a part of the conversation.

Also, if we had smart technology on the guns themselves, on the safety mechanisms, we could save a lot of lives. Lives lost to suicide, accidents to children, deaths from stolen guns. It would make it not impossible, but a whole lot harder.

The car metaphor Is also a helpful way to think about gun policy. Cars aren’t designed to kill, but they can be lethal. So we’ve done a lot of things to try to protect lives from cars. And if you abuse your right to drive a car, then you can lose your license.

One of the really practical things that we’re going to launch in Philadelphia in November is a local network of Raw Tools. We’re going to be training people in how to decommission guns, literally how to chop them. We are creating a national network to help people get rid of guns, doing that legally and responsibly.

That’s my final invitation to us, to be people who can be both people of prayer and people of action.

Pastor Doug closed the conversation with a proposal to convene a group of people at ACP to explore steps to encourage gun control and fight violence, and explore how we can make a difference. Interested? Send him an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

See more at www.shaneclaiborne.com and www.redletterchristians.org

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ACP announcements

Upcoming Atelier Concerts:

  • Sunday 7 November, 17h30: Anastasiya Magamedova, piano, plays Scarlatti, Brahms, and Bach-Busoni.
  • Sunday 14 November, 17h30: Une Soirée à l’Opéra, with ACP talent singing works by Mozart, Hoffmann, Donizetti, Verdi, and others.

 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.

The Chosen: Movie & Discussion Night series, each Sunday evening 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. The series portrays Jesus through the eyes of those who met him. It was created, directed, and co-written by American filmmaker Dallas Jenkins, and you can 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 Movie Discussion Group

Date: Thursday, 18 November, at 19h30, both in person in room G2 at the American Church in Paris and, for those who can't make it, on Zoom.
Films to see on Netflix: The Guilty (2021, with Jake Gyllenhaal), Searching, Passing (from 10 November). Films to see in the cinema: Julie (en 12 chapitres), First Cow, Pig.
For more info/Zoom invitation: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ACP Today radio shows in November:

Monday 1 November: For All Saints Day (Toussaint), Jorg Kaldeway, Rev. Paul Rock, and Rev. Don discuss saints and jazz and rock 'n' roll. Pastor Paul kicks off with the question, "What is a saint?". Then the three take a look at songs by the Rolling Stones, John Coltrane, Joan Osborne, and Bill Evans, and we close with Louis Armstrong and "When the Saints Go Marching In."

Monday 15 November: Rose Marie Burke and newly arrived Youth and Young Adult Pastor Elizabeth Murray co-host. They discuss the blessings and challenges of moving to Paris and working with a new, international team. A special guest musician describes the Christmas concert, and ACP administrator Andrea Richard, who retires at the end of the year, shares the changes she's experienced and anecdotes about the lift of the church from behind the scenes.

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 Christmas concert

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