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

Editor: Alison Benney

In this issue

Fred Gramann: What to focus on? by Reverend Paul Rock, Senior Pastor

Hospitality to strangers, by Rev. Dan Michalek, Visiting Pastor

In the name of your daughter, see this film, by Rose Marie Burke

Friend and rock star, by Laurana Mitchelmore

Farewells to Fred Gramann

A career in pictures: The Lord is his Light

Alpha: Loving Everybody, by MaryClaire King

Sunday Atelier Concerts, by Jenn Cavanaugh

Rentrée finance update, by Pam Bohl and Jacob Yau

What’s up in Paris, by Karen Albrecht

Membership Inquiry Class

Bloom Where You’re Planted, by Marie Grout

Shocking Schiaparelli, by Karen Marin

Youth and Young Adults activities


Fred Gramann: What to focus on? by Reverend Paul Rock, Senior Pastor

The American Church in Paris has been around since 1814. Literally hundreds of pastors, receptionists, administrators, and musicians have been employed by the church over this time. With his departure at the end of September, Fred Gramann will be the longest tenured staff person in ACP’s history, and, I would imagine, ever. That’s a big deal.

So, what does one focus on when thinking about and remembering the impact of such a singular, extended, and brilliant career? Perhaps on the incredible music he composed and directed. Or maybe the ways Fred shouldered the efforts to build a bell choir from scratch, or raise funds for a custom, world-class organ as the old one was falling apart. You could also focus on the individuals and musicians he welcomed into the community and the sense of family he nurtured in his choirs. 

Personally, the image I’ll remember most is not something Fred did, but something he allowed to happen. On a number of occasions while walking through the sanctuary on a weekday or a Saturday, I would hear the organ. I’d step onto the chancel to poke my head around to say hi to Fred ‒ but many times, it wasn’t Fred. It was a woman or a young man, or once, two teenage siblings sitting on the bench with their instructor, practicing, working on a difficult piece or slowly learning the many facets of such a massive, incredibly complicated and beautiful instrument. They would stop and introduce themselves and inevitably express extreme gratitude for the ability to use and practice on our organ. 

Apparently finding an organ like ours to practice on is rare. I’ve been told that young organ students have had to find ways to literally sneak into churches to get in the hours and hours of practice needed. Sadly, this is due not to a lack of organs, but a lack of generosity or access given by churches or their music directors. Fred Gramann was determined to extend welcome and give students access. I love that. The encouragement, the welcome, the grace, all of it. Here at ACP, those are just a few of the things that will carry on after Fred departs. And thankfully, the beautiful music will continue as well.

Some have wondered what will happen with our music ministry in the months ahead. Well, I have been thankful and amazed by the way people have come forward, some of them seemingly divinely delivered, to help us this fall. Natalie McConnell, ACP’s classically trained director of our 14h service, has worked with me to pull a wonderful team of musical leaders together: Fran Michalek, herself a retired church music director, Sara Barton, an amazing teacher and organist, and a new musician in residence for the fall, Ms Aeri Lee. Together, we’ve pulled together plans for the fall and Christmas season. And yes, we plan to once again host our annual Christmas concert. Beyond that, we shall see as the interim music process unfolds, and we seek God’s guidance for the years to come. 

But getting back to what one should focus on in considering all of Fred’s remarkable tenure. Personally, I’ll recall what I’ve heard Fred say whenever a compliment, appreciation, or recognition of his talent or gifts came his way: “Soli Deo Gloria” ‒ To God alone be the Glory. Thank you, Fred, for reminding us of that refrain and our collective focus, in all you have done and been at ACP these past 46 years.

Back to "In this issue".


Hospitality to strangers, by Rev. Dan Michalek, Visiting Pastor

One of the things I love to tell friends about is the international flavor of ACP, whether it comes from visitors passing through, people on short-term assignments, expats, or lifelong Parisians. The mixtures of culture, background, heritage, and religious tradition produce an environment that is hard to come by back in the States. Of course, there are multiple examples of this, but one that hit home for me personally happened just a few Sundays ago.

I had preached that morning, and in the process began and ended with illustrations about the current war in Ukraine. Talking with folks after the 11h service I was introduced to a family of two parents and three children that was on the move, a very important move.

This was a family of missionaries to Ukraine. They lived and worked so close to the action that they could see the tops of the smokestacks of the endangered nuclear plant that we’ve been hearing so much about, and hear the occasional missile flying overhead.

Holding out as long as they could, they reluctantly made the decision to head home to Ohio. In the process, however, they had to make their way through multiple Russian checkpoints, which reignited their fears each time.

And here they were, worshiping with us, having just left the country they served and loved for years.

There’s a passage in the New Testament book of Hebrews that seems especially fitting here:

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. - Hebrews 13:2

Friends, we are uniquely positioned to be used by God in ways that we may not even be aware of. Such is the nature of our life together. So be ready. You may even meet an angel.

Back to "In this issue".


In the name of your daughter, see this film, by Rose Marie Burke

Martin Luther King Jr.

Jesse Jackson.

And this year, Rhobi Samwelly.

These are three notable Christian human rights activists who have preached at the American Church of Paris. You probably know the first two, but what about the third person?

It’s a miracle Rhobi Samwelly is even with us today because she nearly died when she was 13. She was subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM or cutting). She had wanted to run away, but there was nowhere to go. Rhobi lost a lot of blood from the procedure, usually carried out by a village cutter without anesthesia using a razor blade. Girls can die from FGM or contract inflections like HIV. Plus, cutting can result in higher infant and maternal mortality.

For fear of being arrested, Rhobi’s family didn’t seek professional help by taking her to hospital. Although she made a recovery, she grew understandably angry with her family and said she would only grant them forgiveness if they agreed not to put her sisters through cutting. In fact, several neighbors agreed as well. This young girl saw the power of one person to change her world. From that day on, she dreamed of creating a place where girls could run away from FGM.

It hasn’t been easy. When Rhobi mentioned the idea to her Anglican leaders, they said sure, all you need is the funding! Much to their surprise, she returned with financial support in hand. They offered space for safe rooms for several years. The demand was far greater, however, so Rhobi founded Hope for Girls and Women (Matumaini kwa Wasichana na Wanawake in Swahili), which runs two safe houses in the Butiama and Serengeti Districts of the Mara Region of Tanzania, where FGM is illegal but continues. It is open to girls of all faiths.

Saving these girls is not just about housing them for “cutting season.” Rhobi and her team go to schools before the start of the season, which coincides with school holidays. They educate about the dangers of FGM from elementary school. Girls in imminent danger can decide to leave for the safe house then and there, accompanied by the police and Rhobi. After cutting season, Rhobi tries to reunite daughter and family, if they agree to a legally binding document promising not to practice FGM. Sometimes they do not. The family’s temptation to obtain a higher bride price for cut girls is sometimes too great.

Since 2017, Hope for Girls and Women has saved about 3,700 girls from being cut in Tanzania. For her accomplishments, the French government named Rhobi Samwelly as a Marianne Laureate for its inaugural 2022 year. The program has brought the activist to France for one year to raise awareness about her cause and to network with other activists. The activist’s work has been featured in Tanzania’s Daily News, The Guardian, the Telegraph, and the BBC, among others.

Upon learning about Rhobi, who was seeking Sunday worship while in Paris, I invited her to ACP, where she was warmly embraced by the African Fellowship and participates in its monthly fellowship and Bible studies. Pastor Paul Rock, as part of the Ubuntu sermon series (I am—we are), invited Rhobi to share the pulpit on 10 July, where she told her story. As Pastor Paul said, her example is ours to follow, a Christian ministering to those in need.

You have the chance to learn more about Rhobi and FGM before she departs Paris on 1 Dec. This fall, ACP plans to show the award-winning documentary film, “In the Name of Your Daughter,” featuring Rhobi and girls at her safe house. The title challenges those parents who still submit their daughters to FGM. Because the practice continues to be supported by political leaders, and the victims still have a hard time speaking out. This film provides that voice.

Rose Marie Burke is chair of the Creation Care team at ACP. The film “In the Name of Your Daughter” is available free of charge for private outreach events with the permission of the director. Contact Rose at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Back to "In this issue".


Friend and rock star, by Laurana Mitchelmore

My family and I arrived in Paris in the summer of 1976, the same year Fred Gramann was hired as organist of the ACP. It was a very happy encounter to meet the Gramanns, and a friendship of many years followed ‒ 46 to be exact. Later, Fred asked me to accompany the ACP choir, and that has been my joy and music highlight for all the years since.

I'm sure I speak for all musicians who have ever worked with Fred that they know him to be a world-class musician, and are grateful for having had the chance to collaborate with him. He is a virtuoso organist and pianist, conductor, and composer of countless published choral and bell works. Former pastor Scott Herr liked to say, "Fred is a rock star in the bell world." This is true, but his stardom is not limited to bells.

His reputation is worldwide, not just in Europe and the United States, but also among persons living and working in many localities around the world. Quite a number of young musicians who have arrived in Paris to study have been mentored by Fred, and they well remember his generosity and kindness toward them.

It would take far too much space here to list all aspects of Fred's work as Music Director. Suffice it to say that many hours "behind the scenes" are spent in managing, organizing, publicizing, etc., to say nothing of the purely physical labor of setting up for music events, most of which Fred does by himself. The Sunday Atelier concert series alone requires many hours each week for 10 months of the year! We should not forget that Fred was the mover and shaker behind the acquisition of our Beckerath organ, installed in the late 80's, and he was also responsible for the renovation of our beautiful Steinway concert grand piano. Thank you, Fred!!

Back to "In this issue".


Farewells to Fred Gramann

Musicians Tribute to Fred Gramann
Saturday 10 September at 19h30

The Friends of Fred are presenting a concert, with nearly 100 singers, instrumentalists, and bell ringers to perform on this very special evening. Please register online at acparis.org to attend this loving send-off to Fred and Nancy, at acparis.org/musicians-tribute-to-fred.

Congregational Sendoff for Fred Gramann
Sunday, 25 September

Fred Gramann's last Sunday as ACP's music director is on Sunday, 25 September. Following the 11h worship service, we'll have a special coffee hour gathering in the Theater. All are welcome. If you would like to contribute to the celebration and congregational gift, we welcome your donation at acparis.org/fred-nancy-farewell-gift..

Notes of appreciation and farewell for Fred and Nancy Gramann
We invite you to leave a special note for Fred and Nancy that will be presented to them during the congregational sendoff on 25 September. You can leave your note here acparis.org/fred-nancy-appreciation-note or in the collection boxes in the Narthex and at the Welcome Table.


Back to "In this issue".


A career in pictures: The Lord is his Light

Fred Gramann is – take a deep breath here – an organist, a choir and handbell choir director, singer, bell-ringer, pianist, composer and arranger, concert organizer, Atelier Concert manager, musician contractor, videographer, decorator, historian, welcome committee, usher, caterer, and all-around great guy with an amazing sense of humility and humor.

Even with so many responsibilities and artistic talents, Fred has managed to remain calm, collected, and personable. He set the stage for a great rehearsal simply with his welcoming smile. One thing that is striking is his talent in welcoming each and every person who walks through the door, allowing each of us, whether part of the congregation, choir, or guest, to feel unique.

Even from behind the organ screen on Sunday mornings, his light has filled the church, leading us in worship. Like many people working behind the scene, he's one of those who shows us that "The Lord is my Light."

As choir director, he ran the adult choir and handbell choirs, with 4+ rehearsals per week; auditioned and managed the choir section leaders, special soloists, and instrumentalists; supervised the youth and children’s music ministries and the contemporary music leader; and was the budget administrator for the music program.






1“But it is the organ which remains Fred’s first love, a turn of events he never would have predicted when the choir director from his home church in Enumclaw, Washington, called his mother one day and asked if her 14-year-old boy might like to take organ lessons. ‘What?!’ Fred remembers answering. ‘What a horrible idea! That’s the most boring instrument!’ But his teacher was a ‘fireball’ and he soon was so entranced that his father had to pry him away from the Hammond at church to come to dinner.” Extract from ACP’s "125th Anniversary News," Christmas 1981.







1The origins of the handbell program date to 1981. “The Bloom program had some money left over, and I suggested that they buy a couple of octaves of handbells so we could be the first church in France to have a handbell choir,” Fred said. “Over the years, other people donated bells, and now we have many octaves of bells – it’s a unique and exciting program.”

Quote from an ACP bell-ringer: “Fred made learning music theory not just possible but also fun. I hadn’t realized how privileged I was until I participated in handbells festivals around Europe co-conducted by Fred. Hundreds of ringers flew in for these events, and I often overheard participants gushing about how much they were learning from Fred. There was envy in their voices and eyes whenever they found out that I was ringing in Fred’s choir in Paris. I felt that I was wearing an invisible medal that labeled me as one of ‘Fred’s ringers’.”


1From 1972-75, Fred studied organ in Paris with Marie-Claire Alain, also spending one year working with French organist and composer Maurice Duruflé. He has composed over 100 works for choir and handbells, and his compositions have been praised and performed around the world.
















1Fred has a wonderful singing voice but who ever gets to hear it? So for a change, he joined ACP’s Ensemble Lumina and left the direction to Caroline Drury.












The Atelier Concert Series became part of the cultural activities at the American Church in Paris in the early 1930s, and Fred has kept the tradition going, welcoming the community each Sunday at 17h30. See the following article for more.
















1Our sold-out Christmas concerts are an annual festive favorite in the Paris community, featuring ACP choirs, the colorful Sotto Voce children’s choir and, in recent years, the Ensemble Lumina a capella group – to say nothing of the splendid Christmas Eve and Easter worship services Fred has produced over the years.









1During the pandemic lockdown, the staff turned to video to maintain connection with the congregation, and Fred was no exception. As both historian and self-taught videographer, he created an entertaining and informative series about the church building called The Accidental Docent.







1Ever wonder where those sweeping decorations come from at Pentecost and other church holidays? Yes, Fred was behind the scenes, often late at night, preparing the sanctuary for colorful worship. And he not only researched and chose the music each week for worship, he would also help to edit the bulletin.












Did you know that Fred is also a talented photographer? The most recent staff portraits are his work, he recorded the progress of the audiovisual installation, and a number of his photos have provided covers for the Spire. And when scaffolding went up for renovations in 2007/8, Fred climbed up them and photographed close-ups of many of our stained-glass windows in high resolution, creating a valuable archive.

1Let’s make a clean sweep of it. Fred Gramann wholeheartedly supported the ACP for 46 years, serving behind the scenes as well as behind the screen. He served with love and laughter, and we were blessed, more than many of us realized.


















Back to "In this issue".


Alpha: Loving Everybody, by MaryClaire King

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. - John 13:34

Jesus’ command is no small challenge. Our affinities don’t naturally extend to everyone. And it can be difficult to discern what it looks like to love our work colleague, hairdresser, obnoxious in-laws, or literal neighbors. Is courteous behavior sufficient? Can we fulfill the commandment simply by refraining from gossip, exerting vague intentions of good will, or liking others’ social media posts? How are we supposed to love others like Jesus loves us?

We can start by introducing others to Jesus, which is precisely what the Alpha Course is designed to do. Alpha is for anyone who is curious about Christianity; it provides a safe space to ask questions, share opinions, and learn more about the Christian faith in a relaxed, informal, and friendly environment. No question is too big or too hostile!

Millions of people in over 120 countries have taken the Alpha Course. It is hosted by churches from the full spectrum of Christian denominations, from mainline Protestants to Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Pentecostals, and more.

During the course, the Alpha film series is shown at ACP in English with French subtitles, and features the course’s creator, Rev. Nicky Gumbel. It also provides informative interviews with Bear Grylls, Jackie Pullinger and Father Raniero Cantalamessa, among many other inspirational speakers. Each week’s video features a different question about faith, such as “Why Did Jesus Die?” and “Who is the Holy Spirit?”, and takes us on a journey around the globe, as we explore the meaning of life and ask challenging questions about the Christian faith.

This fall, ACP will launch two ways to participate in the free course. The in-person version includes a meal, followed by a short video and discussion. It will run on Wednesday evenings at ACP, from 19h-21h, starting 28 September. The on-line version of the course takes place on Thursday mornings, from 10h30am-12h.

The Alpha team challenges you to invite three people to the course and to pray for them during the month of September. If that challenge seems too daunting, we ask you to prayerfully consider whether God is inviting you to the course. For if you are not excited to share the love of Jesus with others, perhaps He is calling you to fall in love with Him again yourself! And if you know His love and joy, we ask you to prayerfully consider volunteering. There are a variety of service opportunities, even for those with only an hour to give.

For more details and registration, please go to the ACP homepage. If you have any questions about the course or are interested in volunteering, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Back to "In this issue".


Sunday Atelier Concerts, by Jenn Cavanaugh

When Fred took the job of Music Director at ACP 46 years ago, not only did he take over the responsibilities of a predecessor with his own 40-year legacy, but he also took charge of several musical traditions that predated them both, as well as the ACP building itself. The Atelier Concert Series began in 1895, hosted among various salons on Paris’s Left Bank. Shortly after the construction of the current ACP building in 1931, it took up residence in the Thurber Room. On Fred’s watch, it outgrew that room (and the cozy custom of serving hot chocolate), and graduated to the grander space of the sanctuary.

The venue is so popular, and affordable performance space so rare in Paris, that Fred has always had a long waiting list of musicians hoping to play at the church. Audiences vary based on any number of factors, from composers listed on the program to the weather, but invariably include locals and tourists alike. The series is listed in many guidebooks and on local events calendars. Visitors can enjoy a unique cultural experience in a setting that testifies to God’s faithfulness in a universal language. Friends regularly meet up to enjoy a concert together, in this sacred space that tells the stories of God’s people, before going out for dinner to catch up on each other’s stories.

Thanks to Fred’s commitment to this 120-year-old institution, the concerts have provided opportunities and created space for a new generation of musicians. Under his direction, the Atelier Concert Series has also fulfilled a larger commitment of the church to be a center for community in the neighborhood. Like most of Fred’s projects, it offers not only moving musical experiences, but also a spirit of welcome and constant invitation to enter in and be a part of the long history of God’s work in Paris, even if only for an evening.

A different program is offered each Sunday evening at 17h30, September through November and January through June. There is no admission fee, but a free-will offering is taken at the door to support the series. For the schedule of concerts, see www.acparis.org/atelier-concerts.

Atelier concerts this month

18 September: Pianist Simone Sgarbanti performs Beethoven, Schumann, and Ravel.

25 September: Pianist Jorge Herranz performs Beethoven sonatas.

2 October: Pianist Laurana Mitchelmore and cellist Jonathan Bloom perform Beethoven, Brahms, and Debussy.

Back to "In this issue".


Rentrée finance update, by Pam Bohl and Jacob Yau

Pam Bohl and Jacob Yau chair the Finance, Stewardship, and Development Committee

Welcome back to all members and friends returning from summer break, and a special welcome to all the newcomers to the ACP. We’re excited to share two improvements to the ACP facilities, which were made possible thanks to thoughtful gifts from ACP members. This past summer, after a couple of years of limited activity, we finally had the opportunity to take advantage of these gifts.

When you go to the theatre for coffee hour, take a look at the beautiful new folding chairs. Whether it’s for a concert or a meeting or just to take a load off your feet for a few minutes, you can’t help but notice that we now have shiny new folding chairs on the racks. Before the pandemic, Yoshiko Okubo (now deceased) donated a generous gift from her parents’ estate, that she designated for the replacement of the folding chairs and tables for our public spaces. Sue Orsoni was so excited about the idea of replacing our old, mismatched and dirty chairs that she added to the fund to help the project along. After considering several possible models, the staff chose a durable black metal chair that is sturdy and easy to clean. Then Lucy Jamin spotted a sale on the chosen model, which allowed us to purchase 150 chairs for the price of 100. What an improvement for this much-used gathering space!

Another generous couple gave a helpful boost to the property reserve, with a desire that part of the funds be used to upgrade the Thurber kitchen. Over the summer, Jörg Kaldewey and Stacy Bennison led a volunteer team that removed literally everything from the kitchen, for user groups to triage and purge unused items. Then we were able to hire a top-to-bottom industrial cleaning team to reach all the difficult nooks and crannies, including the ventilation pipes overhead, behind heavy appliances and inside storage cabinets.

With the space completely clean and empty we were able to repair the refrigerators and replace the old dish rinsing machine with a new washing and rinsing machine that will much better serve our needs for events using the Thurber kitchen. Then, Stacy worked her organizational magic and purchased storage units for everything from spices to cookware. Now there is a (clean) place for everything in the Thurber kitchen and everything is in its place. It will be a wonderful start to rentrée activities for groups to be able to prepare food in a clean, organized, and functional kitchen.

In this year of tight budgets in all areas, we are thankful for the vision of these special donors. We’re also grateful for the hard-working kitchen team who volunteered to do the work in the Thurber kitchen. Thanks to this funding and human effort, we can be even more welcoming to our members and visitors at the ACP.

Now, just a little bit of business info. Over the summer the accounting and communications staff completed our goal to send out mid-year giving statements to ACP donors. The giving statements were sent out by email through a Mailchimp mailing. If you donated to the ACP during the first six months of 2022 and did not receive a giving statement, now would be a great time to contact Lucy Jamin (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to check on your donations. If we don’t have a good email address for you that could be the problem.

If you donate through the AFCU, your giving statement/receipt will come directly from the AFCU. Or, if you donate via the electronic bankcard basket Lucy will need to work with you to find the identifier the baskets assign to the credit card(s) you use. Your help now by asking questions about your giving statement will allow us to better monitor our budget and to expedite the preparation of year-end tax receipts to all donors.

Thank you for your continued support of the missions and ministries of the ACP.

Back to "In this issue".


What’s up in Paris, by Karen Albrecht

Photo: © Estate of Sally Gabori, National Gallery of VictoriaLate bloomer

In 2005, a spry octogenarian visited an arts center on Mornington Island, Australia, and there she began to paint. And paint. Mirdidingkingathi Sally Gabori (c1924-2015), a member of the Kaiadilt people from nearby Bentinck Island, had been evacuated to Mornington back in 1948, after a disastrous tidal wave. From 2005 to 2015, Gabori produced some 2,000 canvases which, although apparently abstract, actually depict the distinctive topography of her native island in a unique graphic language and almost uncanny detail. Gabori's story is as colorful and intensely beguiling as her canvases, which have won acclaim in Australia and worldwide.
Until 6 November, sallygabori-fondationcartier.com


Photo: © Sophie AlyzGlimpses of grandeur

During the annual "Journées du Patrimoine" weekend, buildings throughout France (and Europe) which enjoy historical monument status open their doors to the public, affording a rare peek into the presidential palace, magnificent ministries, secretive foreign embassies, and a host of more offbeat venues that are well worth a gander. Amidst the hundreds of events exploring this year's theme of "Sustainable Heritage," luxury conglomerate Kering will open up its opulent headquarters, located in the 17th-century Hôpital Laennec, for a display of artworks from the Pinault collection and a special installation by Belgian artist Edith Dekyndt.
17-18 September, journeesdupatrimoine.culture.gouv.fr


Photo: © Jean-Christophe Ballot / BnF OppicThe revenge of Richelieu

Long upstaged by the colossal upstart across the Seine known as the "TGB" (for "très grande bibliothèque"), the Bibliothèque Nationale de France's original Richelieu site is making a comeback, some three centuries after its founding in 1721. The curtain will rise after 12 long years of renovations, just in time for the Journées du Patrimoine; and, thankfully, public access won't end there. Long the reserve of credentialed researchers only, the historic building will boast revamped facilities for scholars, but also a reading room, exhibition gallery, café and garden accessible to visitors whose only credential is curiosity.
From 17 September, www.bnf.fr


Photo: © RomainMorettoThe topic of cancer

It is not just a leading cause of death, but also very much a fact of life in today's world. So why is cancer so hard to talk about? And why do we all seem to know so little about it? Starting with its honest, straightforward title, "Cancers" at the Cité des Sciences tackles this taboo subject head-on, looking at how cancer affects the lives of patients, health professionals and families, as well exploring the disease, its history, avenues of research, and strategies for prevention. For ages 14 and up, with special programs for younger audiences.
Until 8 August 2023, www.cite-sciences.fr


Photo: © Culturespaces/Eric SpillerCézannes for all seasons

Located in a former foundry in the east of Paris, the immersive art space Atelier des Lumières trains its 360° battery of projectors on the long, prolific and varied career of Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne (1839-1906). Subtitled "The Lights of Provence," the show features luscious still-lifes and gorgeous south-of-France scenes, including Cézanne's iconic Mont Sainte-Victoire, plus his seminal composition "Bathers," which paved the way for the artistic movements of the 20th century. The short companion program features Abstract pioneer Wassily Kandinsky.
Until 2 January, www.atelier-lumieres.com


Photo: © Emissive / ExcurioWalk like an Egyptian

Ever wonder what it was like to walk the Earth during the reign of the Pharaohs? "L’horizon de Khéops" at the Institut du Monde Arabe makes that dream a (virtual) reality. Visitors ‒ or rather their avatars ‒climb atop the great Pyramid of Cheops at Giza, explore its inner structure and its hidden chambers, then take a boat trip on the Nile and witness the king's funeral rites, hurtling back over 4,000 years, thanks to technical wizardry developed under the watchful eyes of Egypt specialists from Harvard and the Louvre.
Until 2 October, www.imarabe.org


Back to "In this issue".


Membership Inquiry Class

18 September at 12h30, ACP Library on the 2nd floor

In this casual meeting with your pastors, you'll learn about the history, the vision, beliefs, values, and governance of ACP. You'll get to know your pastors and some of the members of our lay care ministry team. You'll surely get to know some of the people who share your interest in joining the church, and together we'll explore opportunities for involvement that will enable you to serve, connect, and grow at ACP.

Register for the Membership Orientation Meeting at: acparis.org/signups. Please note, upon registering you will receive a membership orientation packet prior to our meeting. Registering for the membership inquiry class does not obligate you to become a member of ACP.

Back to "In this issue".


Bloom Where You’re Planted, by Marie Grout

Saturday 8 October 2022

9h-16h, at the American Church of Paris

Register now for Earlybird pricing - https://bloom.acparis.org
More info at bloom.acparis.org

Tickets can be purchased online until 28 September


Bloom Where You’re Planted is the premier welcome and orientation program for a rich and meaningful life in Paris. The event is designed to offer valuable information and connection for both newcomers to Paris, and our English-speaking residents. We hope the Bloom experience will enhance your life in Paris.

We are so excited to meet in person again!

What can you expect at the Bloom event?

Welcome to Bloom at the American Church in Paris!

Registration begins with Welcome Coffee & Croissants

Exhibit Halls are open the whole day

Meet over 50 social, service and business organizations

Enjoy a delicious lunch

Network with fellow participants and exhibitors

Informative presentations and conversation groups throughout the day

Author book signings

Take your time to make new friends

Reconnect with friends you haven’t seen for awhile

Children (ages 4 - 12) will participate in a wonderful age-appropriate program filled with activities to help them acclimate to their new home. They will play French games and learn some French culture and language. We also provide nursery childcare for our youngest participants up to three years of age.

Register now for Earlybird pricing - https://bloom.acparis.org
Tickets can be purchased on-line until 28 September 2022

The American Church in Paris,  65 Quai d’Orsay, 75007 Paris

Back to "In this issue".


Shocking Schiaparelli, by Karen Marin

Photo: © Philadelphia Museum of ArtShocking! Les mondes surrealists d’Elsa Schiaparelli

As a friend of Jean Cocteau and Salvador Dali, and contemporary of Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli considered herself not so much a fashion designer as an artist who used fashion as a medium. Eccentric, witty, and shockingly modern, she was the toast of “la mode” in the 1930s, but fell into obscurity after closing her fashion house in 1954. Schiaparelli’s style returned to the limelight ten years ago when fashion house Tod’s Group relaunched the brand, and in 2021 dressed Lady Gaga for the Biden inauguration, and Beyoncé for the Grammys. Discover Schiaparelli’s vision and brilliance at the exhibit “Shocking! The Surreal World of Elsa Schiaparelli,” at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

Schiaparelli was born in Rome in 1890 to a privileged family of academicians and scholars, yet her early life was adventurous, taking her to London, New York, and Boston. When she landed in Paris in 1922, she quickly became part of the avant-garde social set and artists’ community, befriending many of the Surrealists, and client and friend couturier Paul Poiret, the Giorgio Armani of his day, encouraged her to go into design.

After a few stops and starts, she became successful with the launch of her innovative knitwear featuring trompe l’oeil images. She started designing swimwear and sportswear, and by 1931 had added evening wear to her portfolio, with a clientele that eventually included Wallis Simpson, Greta Garbo, and Mae West. Her iconic pieces included the elegant body-hugging skeleton dress, with quilting that resembled bones, highlighting the rib cage and spinal column. Schiaparelli also became known for mixing fun and function with her visible zipper, her wrap-dress, and her redefinition of headwear.

In 1937, in collaboration with Salvador Dali, she created the famous lobster dress on which the image of a red lobster climbs up a billowing white skirt, famously worn by Ms. Simpson. This was when she introduced her iconic shocking pink color, a shade which became the Schiaparelli calling card. Her imaginative accessory designs were also influenced by the Surrealists, including earrings that were in the shape of an ear, and the celebrated hat resembling an upended high-heel shoe. She also dabbled in fragrance, her best known scent being “Shocking!” which came in a bottle designed by Leonor Fini, torso-shaped with the curves of Mae West.

Shortly before her death in 1975, Schiaparelli gifted her archive of 6,837 collection designs to the Union Française des Arts du Couture, many of which are featured in the Schiaparelli retrospective. The first room is covered floor to ceiling with her drawings, interspersed with showcases featuring gloves, hats, and accessories. The following rooms trace her story over the ensuing decades, focusing on her close relationships with artists as well as leading photographers of the time, such as Horst, Cecil Beaton, and Man Ray.

One room is dedicated to the acclaimed embroidery house of Lesage, with whom Schiaparelli worked on brilliant designs that embellished and adorned many of her suits and evening garments. A series of rooms display seasonal collections first launched in 1935. Finally showcased are several designs by the current creative director, Daniel Roseberry, including Lady Gaga’s inauguration outfit and the daring evening gown worn by model Bella Hadid to the Cannes Film Festival.

Schiaparelli is recognized for having successfully merged the hemispheres of art and fashion. She left behind a fashion legacy of audacity and fearlessness, that resonate with today’s appetite for authenticity, originality and individualism.

Through 22 January 2023, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 107 Rue de Rivoli, Paris 1er. See https://madparis.fr

Back to "In this issue".


Youth and Young Adults activities


Youth Ministry (collège, lycée): ACP Youth Group will resume on 4 September, when we will meet weekly on Sundays 12h30-13h45 in the ACP Catacombs (-1 level). If you have a child that will enter collège in the autumn, please email Elizabeth at the email address below. Follow us on Instagram here: @acpyouth. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.


Young Adult Ministry (ages 18-30): ACP Young Adults group will resume on 6 September., when we meet weekly at 19h30. Our first meeting will be in the ACP Courtyard. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. Follow our YA Group on Instagram here for the calendar and latest updates: @acp_ya.  


Back to "In this issue".



In need of prayer? If you are in need of prayer, and you would like members of the lay care ministry team, members of the prayer chain, and the pastoral team to uphold you in prayer, contact them online at acparis.org/prayers.

Prayers and aid for the people of Ukraine: http://acparis.org/Ukraine 

ACP Lending Library: The Annie Vallotton Christian Lending Library is open to all members and filled with wonderful Christian materials for every age to help you and your family grow in Christ. The library is in room G4, basement level, directly across from the elevator. Faithful volunteers open the library on Sundays between the two services, 12h30-13h30. The library is free and available to all; however, donations are welcome. We hope to see you. Happy reading, and be blessed!

Docent tours: Do you love history? Want to discover ACP’s sanctuary secrets? Come along to the docent tour after the 11h service on Sunday mornings and learn about ACP's heritage in 25 minutes or less. We start at the altar at 12h15 – all are welcome. And if you'd like to become a docent, please contact Alison at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tuesday Morning Women's Bible Study resumes on 6 September, when we meet online weekly on Tuesdays 10h-12h. Please register at www.acparis.org/groups.

Women’s Fellowship: Sunday 11 September, 12h15-13h30 in the Thurber Room. It will be a time of community building, prayer, singing, and brainstorming so please come with ideas. Also, please bring a treat to share if you are able. All women are welcome!

Sunday Evening Adult Bible Study: 17h30-19h30 at ACP and on Zoom. This study on the book of Matthew meets weekly and resumes 11 September. Join the Sunday Evening Adult Bible Study Group at www.acparis.org/groups to get connected and receive the Zoom details as necessary.

Image: Steps on the way home

Steps on the Way Home: Sundays, 11 Sept. to 30 Oct., 12h30-14h in room G5. For many of us, the heart of addiction is a longing for home. We find ourselves longing for a place to feel safe, to feel normal, and to feel loved in a way our heart truly desires. We invite you to join us on a month-long journey as Jim Hobbs shares the healing power of the 12-step program, taking the steps toward making sense of your addictions, your longings, and God's desire to reconcile and restore your pain and suffering into a safe space of love and hope for yourself and your loved ones. All are welcome, please sign up at acparis.org/steps-home.

ACP atelier concerts

18 September: Pianist Simone Sgarbanti performs Beethoven, Schumann, and Ravel.

25 September: Pianist Jorge Herranz performs Beethoven sonatas.

2 October: Pianist Laurana Mitchelmore and cellist Jonathan Bloom perform Beethoven, Brahms, and Debussy.


ACP Movie Discussion Group

Thursday, 22 September, at 19h30
Room G2 and/or via Zoom

Choice of films on Netflix: La French/The Connection (release pending), Apollo 11 (4 September), La Vie scolaire

Choice of films in cinemas: Leila et ses frères, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Flee,
Fire of Love (14 September)

For info or Zoom invitation: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ACP Café, 23 September: 19h30 in the Theater. Pianist and singer Alexia Rabé is back to headline this cafe-style concert. Free entry. Drinks and dinner for purchase.

Children’s Worship: Children's Worship is held during the 11h and 14h services during the school year. First-time visitors: For safety reasons, all children must be signed up in our system to be a member of Children’s Worship and to be kept informed of activities. Please register here: acparis.org/cw-registration.

Weekly: Please register your child's attendance in advance for each Sunday at acparis.org/signups. If you are an adult and are interested in joining our Children's Worship leadership team, contact Mala Moktar at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Are you an electronic basket contactless bank card donor? Please note that the electronic offering baskets do not capture information to identify the donor. No worries, if you would like to have your electronic basket giving count toward your French tax receipt, please contact Lucy Jamin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can arrange a moment with Lucy to capture a code that will allow us to identify your card. It's quick and easy and we'd love to help you make all your donations count.

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

Journée du Patrimoine, Saturday 17 September: The docent team will be giving tours of the Sanctuary to the community. We need welcomers for a few hours that day. If you can help out, please contact Alison at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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..

Nursery Volunteers Needed: In order for Kelsey Poe to welcome children into our nursery and toddler rooms at both the 11h and 14h services, we will need many new volunteers! If you would like to serve, contact Kelsey Poe at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Our new audio-visual system: 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..

Serve the City Paris: ACP’s sister association, FACCP, supports Serve the City-Paris, an NGO focused on helping asylum seekers, refugees, the homeless, and underprivileged foreigners in Paris, with ACP Mission Outreach Committee members in leadership positions. This humanitarian group serves sandwiches and hot drinks three times a week: Tuesdays and Fridays at 9h30, and Saturdays at 10h. You are invited to join them at Jardin Albert-Schweitzer (75004). They also need instant coffee, tea, sugar cubes, sardines, packs of kleenex, and socks. Donations can be left at Reception during the weekdays.

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..

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

Back to "In this issue".