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

Editor: Alison Benney

In this issue


Believe the women: the Easter message, by Reverend Paul Rock, Senior Pastor

Spiritual Pilates series, by Rev. Don Lee, Visiting Pastor

Expanding horizons: Journey and Learn with Dr. Reggie Williams

Our great multitude, our mission, by Kate Snipes, Pastoral Intern

Climate scientist on Earth Day: Stop burning stuff and the climate crisis is solvable, by Rebecca Brite

All-Congregation Meeting

Sycomore: Prison redemption, by Peter DeWit

Stairway to heaven, by Rose Marie Burke

A Camino translation of a dream, by Gigi Oyog

Ensemble Lumina: ACP fundraising concert, 14 May

What’s up in Paris, by Karen Albrecht

Giovanni Boldini: An Italian in Paris, by Karen Marin


Paris Outreach Youth Weekend

Alpha at ACP

Believe the women: the Easter message, by Reverend Paul Rock, Senior Pastor

Gospel lesson, Luke 24:1-12

A church this year advertised their Easter worship services on their website and Instagram like this: “We take the Bible seriously. So, in keeping with a literal interpretation of scripture, we are inviting only the women to come to the sunrise Easter service this year. After the service, we are asking the women to run home and tell the men about the resurrection, who then will not believe them.”

In Luke’s gospel lesson, the women met angels who reminded them of Jesus’ words that he would be crucified and then would rise again. They got it. They understood. Fully. And they were excited. They probably ran back to where the disciples were and eagerly explained to them what the angels said. They were the first to proclaim the good news of the resurrection! And the male disciples, those in charge, didn’t believe them: “Their words were like nonsense.” These men missed what God was doing because they didn’t believe the women.

Now, to be fair, there was a reason why the male disciples did not listen to the women, why they dismissed their words as nonsense. It is because women, in that part of the world in the first century, were viewed - intellectually and morally as children. While helpful and necessary, they were different, they weren’t taken seriously, especially in matters of life and death and salvation.

Thankfully, we have evolved in our understanding of each other and the precious gift each one is as a child of God. As Dr. King put it, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” Which means we must recognize and listen, not just to those who are familiar or traditional leaders, but to all voices. That’s how God speaks.

Sadly, we still make this mistake. We do not consider the words of some as worthy, to be taken seriously because of prejudice we hold in our hearts, biases we may not be aware of. Peter and the male disciples didn’t even consider they were wrong. And yet, because of their prejudice they were dismissing, did not listen to the ones who knew the truth. The first evangelists of the gospel – the first people to meet the resurrected Christ and understand that God was doing a new thing in the world – were not listened to, not because they were wrong, or foolish, but because they were women.

And here’s the thing: In our Christian tradition, God, Jesus, angels, all tend to speak and work most often through shepherds, teenagers, fishermen, tax collectors, prostitutes, immigrants, servants…women. That’s where God goes to reveal truth. When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus and lead him to the cross, most of the disciples fled. The women, on the other hand, stood near the cross weeping, while also making shopping lists of the oils and spices they would need to prepare Jesus’ body for the grave.

It’s important to note that Luke doesn’t just say “the women;” he names them, which doesn’t often happen in the Bible. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, who was probably Jesus’ aunt. She was there at the start of Jesus’ life and helped clean the infant Jesus, change his diaper. And now she was doing the work of preparing to wrap his body for the tomb. And so they arrive, early in the morning, still dark, their hearts broken, their hopes shattered, but they are faithful and there’s important work to be done. And these women, not taken seriously by the leaders of their day, are the ones to whom God reveals the revolutionary news that will change the world.

If Jesus were here to speak to us this morning, I think he would tell us, like Peter, “Don’t miss the new thing I’m doing. Open your hearts to see and hear the message, the truth, the people who are telling the world what God is doing!” Friends, we must tune our hearts to hear the frequencies, the voices that have been dismissed as nonsense, because that is often where God speaks: through the midwives, the servants, the dismissed who are ushering in the new thing, raising their voices to proclaim the good news of God’s justice and love.

Like Peter, we can stand, scratching our heads, wondering what is happening in our world. But the angels are saying to us through the overlooked, through the women, the immigrants, that truth and justice are not dying, they are being born.

Friends, that grating sound that we hear in the background is the stone being rolled away. May we choose to tune our ears to the message of the angels as they are proclaiming: Yes, Christ is alive, but we are his feet. We are Christ’s lungs. So, with tenacious hope, we breathe and we push. And help give birth to the Easter truth of healing, collaborative salvation, forgiveness, restorative justice and hope. Amen.

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Spiritual Pilates series, by Rev. Don Lee, Visiting Pastor

11 May to 15 June, Wednesdays 19h-20h30 via Zoom

It is well-known that spiritual practices help to deepen our faith experience, just as the practice of Pilates and other exercises can strengthen our bodies. We will explore a series of spiritual practices from the Protestant tradition that can enrich our daily living…and challenge us also. While we are using these practices in a group setting through Zoom, they are also useful for individual practice. The goal in each is to gain a deeper understanding of what God is saying to us and who God is calling us to be.

  • Introduction: Relaxing into the Spiritual Life
  • Lectio Divina à la Protestant and My Spiritual Type
  • Rule of Life and My Daily Routine
  • Four-Stranded Garland: A Prayerful Dialogue
  • Prayer of Examen: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going
  • Prayer for a New Earth: Prayer and Social Action

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Expanding horizons: Journey and Learn with Dr. Reggie Williams

Dr. Reggie Williams, our Resident Pastoral Scholar, is planning a couple of exciting opportunities to take our studies to the city streets. One focuses on the history of Black Paris, the other on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Lutheran pastor, theologian, and anti-Nazi dissident. Rough plans for each are as follows. Please note the dates, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with Pastor Reggie if you feel you can contribute to the planning and logistics of either. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tour (and attendant lectures) of Black Paris

Thursday 12 May, 19h30-21h: Zoom lecture with Reggie 

Thursday 19 May, 19h30-21h: Zoom lecture with Reggie

Saturday 11 June (all day): Walking Tour of Black Paris (coinciding with beginning of "Ubuntu" sermon series), with a picnic or other fellowship event.

Thursday 16 June, 19h30-21h: Zoom lecture with Reggie: follow-up to Walking Tour, and segueing into the Bonhoeffer series.

Bonhoeffer-focused Tour of Germany (and attendant lectures)

Thursday 23 June, 19h30-21h: Zoom lecture with Reggie

Thursday 30 June, 19h30-21h: Zoom lecture with Reggie

Saturday 9 July to Monday 11 July: Tour of Germany, led by Reggie

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Our great multitude, our mission, by Kate Snipes, Pastoral Intern

Sermon extract, 24 April, Gospel reading from Romans 12:9-18

We begin a new sermon series today, 24 April, for Easter-tide, that will finish in Pentecost in early June. We will discuss our diversity, how we are one but not the same, and what that means for the Christian church in the whole world and for us here at the American Church in Paris.

It is an appropriate day to speak about the diversity of the Church, because about 300 million members of the Orthodox churches follow a different religious calendar, and are celebrating Easter today. In Jerusalem the celebrations are bigger for Orthodox Easter than it was last week for the Western churches.

The point is that within Christendom we have different languages, differences in what is considered scripture or canon, and beliefs, although unified in Christ.

Is this a bad thing? No, indeed, it has been crucial in spreading the Gospel and serving people where they are. One concept that I find disturbing is the idea of a Christianity melting pot where we all get blended and end up all the same. This is not a scripturally-based image. Read Rev. 7:9: “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language.”

Within our diversity there are shared values upon which we can unite in conversation and in learning, such as those in the early church, with Paul’s letters to the Ephesians and Romans, that call us into relationship with each other based on shared principles of humility and respect and support, to live peaceably……so that together we can be the people Christ called for us to be.

In fact, the lack of sameness of the global church can be a source of strength for us, from which we can grow – like iron sharpens iron. The dissonance of different approaches provides creative force and movement, a creative tension.

Of course, those differences in the church at large can also lead to contentious issues. And divisions that are used to exclude others, by calling one person a better Christian than another, for instance, suffocate the creative breath of that tension.

Unfortunately, too often the world sees the church through its divisions, not the diversity. And fair enough, churches often by choice or by simple location don’t reflect diversity.

The idea that Sunday morning is a day of retreat into our own personal club is overstressed, while there are many gleaming examples of unity, of places where denominational differences strengthen and not weaken beliefs.

One example here in France is Taizé, what many call the siege, seat or spiritual headquarters of ecumenism. Ecumenical means relating to a number of Christian communities, and ecumenism is unity among those, an answer to the call of may they be one. The Taizé community is just four hours from Paris. It grew from the ecumenical vision of Brother Roger, and founded to serve those in need during World War II. It has grown to an international pilgrimage site for Christians.

But we don’t have to look that far. Let’s take a look at the American Church in Paris. We have an amazingly diverse community, with over 40-50 countries represented, different languages, experiences, and cultural backgrounds. Our congregation is made up of a wide variety of faiths, and even our clergy come from four different Protestant denominations.

Wait, you may say, we profess to be one in Christ, who believe in the saving power of the Gospel and reliance on scriptures to teach. YES! That’s true, but we do have different beliefs about how exactly the saving works, and how even we read and/or interpret scripture.

Within the community of diverse beliefs, we allow the space for spirit to move between us, not insisting on one doctrine or one method. One in Christ but far from the same, we are an example and a beacon of what that can be, a community of believers that leaves space for questioning but whose love of the community and each other binds us beyond these differences.

As a community, we participate in groups to learn and to teach each other, not to convert.

In our beautiful diversity we strengthen each other, teach each other, listen to each other, show humility, and respect the space between. We celebrate the liturgy together and then, united in service to Christ, although with vast differences in backgrounds, denominations, even beliefs, we are the church Paul called us to be.

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Climate scientist on Earth Day: Stop burning stuff and the climate crisis is solvable, by Rebecca Brite

To mark Earth Day 2022, the ACP Creation Care Task Force welcomed climate specialist Scott Denning, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

A former editor of the Journal of Climate and a past or present member of several climate advisory panels, Denning studies the interactions between the atmosphere and the biosphere to see how they affect exchanges of carbon, energy, and water on Earth’s surface. His battle cry, found both in his Twitter profile and in the presentation he gave, is “Stop setting carbon on fire!”

His presentation, attended by people from ACP and elsewhere, laid out why the climate is changing, why this change is so serious and how to solve the crisis – topics he sums up as “Simple. Serious. Solvable.”

“It’s a little odd that someone like me would say this issue, which I’ve studied all my life, is simple – because how come I still have a job?” he acknowledged. “But the basics are things you learn in grade school, not grad school.”

Simple. The sun warms the planet, then heat leaves the earth in the form of infrared radiation. But that radiation, to escape, has to go through air, and in the process it changes the properties of some of the gases that make up the atmosphere. The result, known since 1901 as the “greenhouse effect,” keeps the planet livable – but only up to a point.

“Earth is like a cabin with a stove,” Denning said. “If the attic isn’t insulated, heat escapes. If it’s insulated, not as much escapes.” CO2, a greenhouse gas (GHG), acts like insulation. Too much of it and the cabin gets too warm for comfort.

The process has been known about since 1856, when scientist and feminist Eunice Foote did experiments in her garden and published a paper explaining how CO2 in the atmosphere worked.

Serious. Decades’ worth of GHG build-up in the atmosphere will take centuries to dissipate. If people stopped all CO2, methane, and similar emissions right now, it would still take some 40 years, scientists guess, for the atmosphere just to stabilize. “We have to do a lot of work now that won’t pay off until our children are old,” Denning said.

Meanwhile, he emphasized, the consequences, many already apparent, include:

  • Reduced crop yields due to higher temperatures plus lower soil water content. Southern Europe and the Mediterranean basin form one of the world’s worst areas for projected drought. “The sort of thing that used to be the worst drought in a century comes around every decade instead.”
  • Higher risk of forest fires and wildfires. “In Colorado, where I live, there would be a 30-fold increase [in fire risk] per 1°C of temperature rise.”
  • Sea level rise, not just because of ice melting in the polar regions but also because warmer air makes the oceans expand. “Nuisance flooding from high tides will be more frequent, till it happens every day. [We can expect] water stress, forced migration, some 600 million people displaced in Asia alone, rising air pollution deaths…”

Denning added, “The whole human population will be affected – but not uniformly. Parts of the world, such as Canada, may be better off but most of the world will be worse off, and the poorest countries are the least resilient. If damage rises faster than income, it will end the unprecedented rise in human flourishing that began with the Industrial Revolution” of the 1880s, when humans began increasing the GHG levels in the atmosphere.

Solvable. “Stop burning stuff!” Denning repeatedly exclaimed. “We can live well with less energy, and make energy that doesn’t involve burning things.”

For example, take the building sector. “We use most of our energy in buildings – about half of all energy used goes into the whole life cycle of buildings. The bulk of our carbon footprint isn’t cars, like many people think. It’s housing, offices, factories. There’s a tremendous opportunity for improvement here, and efficient architects have been making great strides over the years.” Declining energy use trends in the sector represent savings of some $4.5 trillion between 2000 and 2030.

Such savings should make the cost of conversion to clean energy – estimated at 1% of world GDP or c. $850 billion – look less daunting. Denning noted that 1% of GDP was about what conversion to urban indoor plumbing cost in the early 20th century, “and wasn’t that worth it?”

Furthermore, when asked if a fast-enough energy transition was possible, he said, “Look at other big transitions in history – some were surprisingly fast, such as the transition from horses to cars and from landlines to cellphones (even though such transitions involved something like a tenfold increase in price). We’re fast to adopt new things that work better than old things.”

To watch the Zoom recording of Scott Denning’s entire presentation, see the Creation Care page on the ACP website, acparis.org/creationcare.

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All-Congregation Meeting

Save the date: Sunday 22 May

We will worship together in one combined service at 11h. The meeting will take place directly after the service both in person and via Zoom.

The agenda will include our financial reports, a final budget, and Council elections.  If you can’t attend, please send in a proxy.

Watch for more details in your weekly e-blast!

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Sycomore: Prison redemption, by Peter DeWit

It’s not every day you get to go to a maximum-security prison in France! I was invited by ACP's Prison Chaplain Carolyn Bouazouni. We went to witness the graduation of 14 female offenders, who had completed the six sessions of Sycamore, a course designed to help inmates recognize the hurt they have caused their victims and themselves and how to find healing and hope.

The program was designed by Prison Fellowship England and Wales in partnership with Prison Fellowship International and is in the pilot stage here in France. I was joined by 20 volunteers (facilitators, victims, and tutor) who had been with the women throughout the course. After a debriefing session and lunch, we were led into the prison gym to meet the participants.

Each offender who took part in Sycomore was to share a testimony or an object symbolizing the transformation started in their lives because of Sycomore. A few women made references to a significant breakthrough on week three, during the lesson on recognizing the hurt on the victim. Two victims of crimes shared their stories with the women that week. One had lost a son to gun violence and the other had experienced five robberies as a bank employee. Tears flowed as some of the women would embrace the victims after sharing a small part of their stories with us. 

One unforgettable symbolic act and testimony was of a beautiful painting of two vases made by one of the offenders. The first vase looked as though it was crying tears. It was explained that this was her life before Sycamore, guilt-laden and sad. The second vase had a beautiful bouquet of flowers symbolizing new life, freedom, and happiness because of the six weeks of learning that had transformed her heart. 

There were many special moments during the day, including a guest visitor who had spent over 20 years in prison, and over two years in solitary confinement. Imagine spending that long and most of those years without any visits from family members. Yet something special happened when he one day realized that he was missing the most important thing to him: spending time with his children. He joined Sycomore to bear witness to the women that reconciliation is possible, if people build bridges, are prepared to change, and show radical love. One of his sons joined him on graduation day. It was moving to witness their journey of forgiveness and reconciliation. When the son told the story, everyone listened closely and hoped again for their own families.

What a day it was! All of us present stood together to applaud each graduate. Who could think that spending a day in prison could be so moving and hopeful. 

The next Sycomore course will be offered again, starting 2 June, with men detainees.  À Coeur Ouvert, the French charity representing Prison Fellowship International in France and partnering with the French Ministry of Justice, needs a couple more compassionate volunteers for one day a week over six consecutive weeks.  If interested, please contact me, Peter DeWit, Mission Chair, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Stairway to heaven, by Rose Marie Burke

Photo: © Andreas Praefcke (public domain)How do we imagine the Ascension?

As Christians, we believe that Jesus ascended into heaven 40 days after Easter. The importance of the event makes its way into the Apostles’ Creed:

He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

The Bible offers us these details of the Ascension, in Luke and Acts, with more or less detail:

  • Luke 24:50: Jesus leads the 11 remaining disciples to Bethany, a village on the Mount of Olives, and instructs them to remain in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit: "And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy."
  • Acts 1: Jesus tells the disciples to remain in Jerusalem and await the coming of the Holy Spirit; he is then taken up from the disciples in their sight, a cloud hides him from view, and two men in white appear to tell them that he will return "in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

Most traditional paintings of the scene, such as from the Middle Ages, give the impression that these very clouds elevate Christ into the heavens, assisted by angels, to the amazement or fear of a mostly male crowd. These renderings reflect more of the narrative in Acts. And it’s the one I think of when I visualize the Ascension.

Departing from this symbolism is one of the earliest depictions of the Ascension. It appears to follow more closely Luke’s version of events. It’s the “Reidersche Tafel,” also called, “The Women at Christ's Tomb and the Ascension.” The collector Martin Joseph von Reider (1793–1862) donated it to the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum in Munich. Some believe it was made in either Rome or Milan in about 400 AD.

Most of the scene depicts the Resurrection, where women figure prominently – perhaps including Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary. But who is the third woman?

Curiously, in the top left corner is a tree. This feeds two birds, symbolizing the Jews and Gentiles now brought together in Christ, according to Nigel Halliday, writing for ArtWay.

But it’s the Ascension that commands attention in top right of the piece. Christ walks briskly up the Mount of Olives, as if it were a stairway into heaven. This is not the passive Jesus that we see in depictions of the Middle Ages. He is modestly dressed and wears no crown. This is a very human Resurrected Christ.

He tightly grasps a scroll, which according to Mr. Halliday is presumably Revelation 5, regarding the judgment of God on sin, which only Jesus has the authority to open. He is close to a cloud, out of which comes the mighty hand of God – pulling Jesus toward Him. As He does so, one male discipline hides his face in fear and the other looks up in awe.

How do we look at this sight, in fear or awe? As Christians, we take comfort in the Ascension. Christ has died for our sins – he’s even keeping judgment close to the vest – and while ruling with God, remains with us in the Spirit. It’s not how Jesus has ascended, but that he has.

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A Camino translation of a dream, by Gigi Oyog

Although I have yet to take a step towards Compostela, my path has put me right on the Camino. And along the way, a slice of a dream came true.

Ten months ago, a friend told me that he was writing a short book on pilgrims and pilgrimages to Santiago-de-Compostela in the Middle Ages. Jean-François Demange, a French author, has accumulated a vast knowledge of the Medieval period during more than 30 years of sculpting made-to-order pilgrims’ staffs. He is also the sculptor of the bourdons, or staffs, given to Scott and Kim Herr as farewell gifts.

Not a translator by training, I dared offer to translate his new book into English but only after much hesitation. I feared falling into the same trap as the person – unknown – who incorrectly translated “carottes rapés” as “raped carrots” instead of “grated carrots”. Jean-Francois was not at all soliciting a translation, but I felt the urge for a new adventure. With a past career in journalism, a current job among translators and revisers in a Paris-based international organization, and respectable fluency in French, I thought that the blend of all three could help me produce decent work.

And so I flew back, while translating, some nine or 10 centuries in time, when pilgrims left to pay for a sin or a crime, in gratitude or supplication, hid the little money they had under the lining of their clothes, carried their shoes to keep them from wearing out, slept four by four on a bed beside the healthy or ailing, when monk-knights defended the pilgrims or when pilgrims walked back home. Traces of that old world have disappeared, but some have endured, like people’s hospitality or vestiges of the ancient Roman roads. American Pilgrims on the French Way may have even stumbled upon them.

A few weeks ago, I received an image of the front cover of The Camino, the mythical path. My name was where I had not expected. Jean-Francois chose the ultimate place of honor – under his on the front cover. Every writer dreams of publishing books but I have none to my name. This was then the closest I have gotten to seeing my name on a book’s front cover. The moment was sacred, almost like, I would imagine, finally walking through the Cathedral and in this Jubilee year at that.

The book is available at https://www.le-bourdon-du-pelerin.com


Women’s Pilgrimage Walk: A small group will walk from Chartres to Vendôme from 3-8 June on a pilgrimage. We hope this will be a unique opportunity to delve into challenging issues regarding one’s relationship with God, personal relationships, love and living life abundantly. Because space is limited, those interested should request a registration questionnaire as soon as possible from Caroline Cuozzi at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Ensemble Lumina: ACP fundraising concert, 14 May

Come on a journey and be inspired by the eclectic selection of a cappella choral music sung by Ensemble Lumina, under the direction of Caroline Drury. This season's repertoire will take you to Sweden, Estonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, England, and the Americas, and features a World Premiere by American composer Ryan Oldham.

This fundraising concert takes place on Saturday 14 May at 20h. Tickets are €20 for adults and €15 for students and children and may be purchased online at acparis.org/lumina-14may2022 or at the door.

Ensemble Lumina (ensemblelumina.fr) was formed in the fall of 2014 and is an auditioned, volunteer a cappella chamber choir. With members having several different nationalities, the group ambiance lends itself well to an international blend of sacred and secular repertoire, including compositions in English, German, French, Finnish, Latvian, Russian, Bulgarian, Gaelic, and other languages, written by composers from around the world and across all eras.

Founder and conductor of Ensemble LuminaCaroline Drury, is an astute musician and has made a number of appearances as conductor, soprano, and pianist, in the US, Europe, and the Middle East. Caroline has a strong background as both a formally trained singer and a skilled instrumentalist. When she officially picked up the baton in 2014, she realized this unique combination of perspectives brings an added depth to her abilities as a choral conductor.

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What’s up in Paris, by Karen Albrecht

Photo: © Nobuyoshi Araki, courtesy of Taka Ishii GalleryThe look of love

Billing itself as "a deliberately romantic proposition for rethinking the history of photography," the spring show "Love Songs" at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie brings together works spanning the 20th and 21st centuries, all exploring love and intimacy. Nan Goldin's super-charged "Ballad of Sexual Dependency," infamous for its gritty yet glam glimpses into 1980s couplings and uncouplings, shares the stage with Nobuyoshi Araki's delectably delicate "Sentimental Journey" and countless other overtly (or more subtly) amorous camera angles. The selection is meant to resemble a playlist of tunes lovingly assembled for the object of one's affection. What's not to love?

Until 21 August, www.mep-fr.org  


Photo: © Art Institute of ChicagoA wide array of Rays

The twin shows at Centre Pompidou and Bourse du Commerce honoring major American sculptor Charles Ray (born 1953) have, between the two of them, brought to Paris over one-third of Ray's creations, including some of his most notable, and representing his wide range of styles. Ray's sharp eye for paradox and wry sense of humor generate a very distinctive vibe, where realistic detail somehow calls reality itself into question, and seemingly mundane details reverberate with discreet, yet distinct, classical references and a sort of bemused wonderment.

Bourse du Commerce until 6 June, www.pinaultcollection.com; Centre Pompidou until 20 June, www.centrepompidou.fr  


Photo: © Vincent BlesboisDown to Earth

“Reclaim the Earth” at the Palais de Tokyo is intended as a wake-up call, responding to the current environmental crisis by daring to reimagine entirely new paradigms for the relationship between body and earth, between humans and other species. 14 artists from different generations and cultural origins tackle the complex political, economic, scientific, moral, societal, and aesthetic issues involved, via media ranging from painting and video to sculpture and installations. The show collectively explores themes inspired by ecofeminism and Indigenous cultures, reaching beyond Eurocentric approaches, and seeking healing and harmony through a genuinely global vision.

Until 4 September, http://palaisdetokyo.com   



Photo: © Christian Crampon / Sophie CrépyGloriously Gaudí

The Musée d'Orsay is hosting a celebration of visionary architect Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926), creator of Barcelona's iconic and monumentally whimsical Sagrada Familia church (1883-1926). There's plenty of historical and biographical material, along with a representation of Gaudí's workshop and library, plus sketches for the seriously fanciful Güell Palace and Park, and designs for the ebullient "casas" Gaudí created. Perhaps most beguiling are the audaciously curvaceous screens, sofas, and other lavish Art Nouveau furnishings, including wonderfully wacky wall mirrors, voluptuous vases, and a boldly bejeweled, mosaic-studded planter. 

Until 17 July, www.musee-orsay.fr  



Photo: © BPK, Berlin, dist. RMN- Grand Palais / Jürgen Liepe

Dynastic drama

In around 730 BC, the Nubian capital of Napata (located in modern-day Sudan) gave rise to the 25th Dynasty of Kushite kings, who conquered Egypt and ruled over a vast realm stretching all the way to the Nile Delta. "The Pharaoh of Two Lands" at the Louvre features statues, jewels, hieroglyphics, and other artefacts that bring their story to life. Stunning replicas of seven statues, unearthed in 2003 by French, Swiss, and Sudanese archaeologists and depicting the Pharaoh Taharqa and other kings of the period, are on display here; the originals, thankfully, have remained in Sudan.

Until 25 July, www.louvre.fr  




Photo: © The National Gallery, London

The Finnish line

The Musée Jacquemart-André has gathered nearly 70 canvases by Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865-1931), who trained in Paris but is most famous for his magically lyrical landscapes depicting his native Finland. Entitled "Myths and Nature," the show ranges from winter snowscapes, glassy frozen waters, and sunny summer scenes, to the mystical Symbolist representations of the painter's later years. Gallen-Kallela's works feature moody skies, bold colors, and a distinctively Northern play of angled light and sharp shadow, in compositions that are marvelously self-contained yet overflow with radiant energy.

Until 25 July, www.musee-jacquemart-andre.co



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Giovanni Boldini: An Italian in Paris, by Karen Marin

Fans of the Belle Epoque must make their way to the Petit Palais to see the major retrospective dedicated to the works of Italian painter, Giovanni Boldini. Perfectly titled “Pleasures and Days,” this exhibit takes us on a nostalgic journey to an enchanting era where the pleasures of la Vie Parisienne are captured for eternity.

Although the artist lived most of his life in Paris and was the favored portraitist of the privileged class, it’s been over 60 years since France last hosted an important exhibit in his honor. The curators have pulled out all the stops, bringing together paintings, drawings, engravings, and fashion on loan from such prestigious museums as the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Giovanni Boldini Museum in Ferrara, the Musée d’Orsay and many private collections.

A contemporary of both John Singer Sargent and James Tissot, Boldini left his native Ferrara in 1864 for Florence, then the cultural and artistic hub of Italy. He fell in with fellow artists, including the Macchiaioli – the Italian version of Impressionist painters – although his style veered towards interior paintings, while their works are characterized by landscapes and outdoor tableaux. Boldini was soon under the wing of Isabella Robinson Falconer, a wealthy Englishwoman, who presented him to the best families of Italy and the well-to-do expat community, effectively launching his career.

Boldini settled in Paris after the Franco-Prussian war, when he befriended Edgar Degas and Marcel Proust. Initially producing genre paintings depicting the café society in the early years of his career, he is best known for his portraits: life-sized, sinuous representations of the crème de la crème of European aristocracy, as well as artists, writers, and celebrities. After exhibiting 12 works at the Universal Exposition of 1889, he became the most in-demand painter of the rich and famous.

One can imagine the sensation that was caused by the Portrait of Emiliana Concha de Ossa, a young Chilean aristocrat. Her luminous dark eyes and hair are juxtaposed against a pale grey background; she is dressed in a gauzy, airy gown which sets off her long arms as she leans forward towards the viewer. Boldini was an observer of the world he lived in, a lover of beautiful things, beautiful places, and above all, beautiful women. He captured their mood, their expression, their emotions, while simultaneously chronicling their clothing and accessories – often created by top couturiers such as Worth, Paul Poiret, and Jacques Doucet.

His works are characterized by rapid brushstrokes, intense swashes of color and undulating poses that, though providing enviable silhouettes, beg the question, could one possibly hold that pose for any length of time? Consider the Portrait of Lady Colin Campbell, deemed the representation of a femme fatale, in which the subject holds her head, elbow on armrest, as she gazes directly at the viewer. Or even the Portrait de Miss Bell, where the sitter assumes a serpentine pose which highlights her small waist and flatters her décolleté. Like Tissot, Boldini’s works are narratives that allow the viewer to imagine a story, to step into the era of a Proustian novel, to live for a moment in the romanticized fin de siècle Paris, to ponder what was happening behind the scenes between the artist and his subject.

Boldini has actually been in the headlines more recently. In 2010, his portrait of actress Marthe de Florian, his muse and lover, was discovered in her 9th arrondissement apartment which hadn’t been entered since the Occupation. The painting was sold at auction for approximately $3.4 million.

Boldini: Pleasures and Days, Petit Palais, through 24 July

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


ACP Café: 20 May at 19h30 in the Theater. Live music featuring singer-pianist  Alexia Rabé, singing guitar and percussion duo Paolo and Jibson Panganiban, and more.  Drinks available.  Free entry with free-will offering to support the ACP.


Interested in learning more about ACP? Join the meeting on Thursday 26 May at 19h30 via Zoom. If you are interested in learning more about who we are and what we believe at ACP, you're welcome to join our membership inquiry class. Register on acparis.org/signups to get the Zoom link and materials ahead of time.


Engagement Day, Saturday 4 June: Join our mission partners and the Mission Outreach Committee for a reinvigorating day of culture and challenge like no other at ACP. The festivities will include Ted-talk style presentations, refugee stories, a workshop, art, photography, presentations from some of our mission partners, cultural dance, and FOOD. Come for 10h and stay with us till late afternoon. Not to be missed! Tickets will be sold for this event. Details to follow soon, or write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


ACP concert offerings in May

Sunday 8 May, 17h30: John Muratore, guitar, performs works by Rameau, Mozart, Debussy, Ravel, and others.

Saturday 14 May, 20h: ACP’s Ensemble Lumina performs an international repertoire, plus a World Premiere by American composer Ryan Oldham. This is a church fundraiser.

Saturday 21 May, 20h: Juliette Sabbah, piano, and Marie Engle, mezzo-soprano, perform works by Robert Schumann, Gabriel Fauré, plus Barber, Copeland, and Vaughan Williams.







Women's Monthly Fellowship: Sunday 8 May 16h30 via Zoom. Monica Bassett will speak about her journey to her eco-farm. Register for zoom details at acparis.org.
If you are interested in participating in the American Church in Paris' Women's Fellowship just once or regularly, please register at acparis.org. We would love to welcome you and hope you will find the monthly fellowship inviting and illuminating.


Monthly Women’s Bible Study – Sunday 15 May 12h30. Women in Parables: we will discuss the Prodigal Son's mother. For more information, contact Teri Lee Valluy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



ACP Today radio shows in May

Monday 2 May: In honor of World Laughter Day, Jörg Kaldewey and Kate Snipes explore the lighter side of religion – does God have a sense of humor?  

Monday 16 May: Amit Pieters tackles the subject of Ascension Day, and explains today’s Lunar Eclipse.

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


ACP Movie Discussion Group Thursday, 19 May, at 19h30, via Zoom and/or in ACP room G2

Films to choose from on Netflix: Apollo 10½, Les Gardiennes, Hippocrate, Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love

Films to choose from in cinemas: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent/Un talent en or massif, Hit the Road, L'école du bout du monde, The Duke.

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


Sunday Evening Adult Bible Study: 17h30-19h30 on Zoom. We are studying the book of Hebrews. Please note that this study will take a break on 17 and 24 April. Register for Zoom, details at acparis.org.


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


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

Let's welcome newcomers! If you have a desire to contribute to a warm and hospitable welcome for newcomers at ACP, please consider volunteering at our welcome table. We are rebuilding this ministry and are happy to find more table hosts for after the 11h and 14h worship services. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you'd like to volunteer.

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: ACP is pleased to announce the hiring of Kelsey Poe as our new nursery coordinator. With Kelsey in place, we plan to open the nursery for use during the 11h and 14h services but will need many new volunteers to do so. 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 wonderful new audio-visual system is in place! If you’d like to be a part of our worship tech and A/V team, please contact us at avmThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Tech help needed for 14h service: Calling all techies! If you are interested, please contact Natalie Raynal at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

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 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.

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

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

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Paris Outreach Youth Weekend

Join us for a weekend in Paris as we embody the hands and feet of Christ.  We will spend time together in fun and games while also working with Serve the City to provide humanitarian relief. This will be an opportunity to learn how to love like Jesus.

For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Alpha at ACP

Ever wanted to explore the meaning of life or ask challenging questions about the Christian faith? Do you have a family member, friend, neighbor, or colleague who is asking questions about life? If you've answered "yes" then the Alpha Course is for you.

Alpha is an opportunity for anyone to explore the Christian faith in a relaxed, informal, and friendly way. It welcomes all those big questions – and it's free.

The course runs in English and French every Thursday from 7 April, from 19h to 21h. Over 11 weeks, you’ll get the opportunity to explore the basics of the Christian faith. For instance: Who is Jesus? How can I have faith? How and why should I pray? Does God heal today?

Each session starts with a meal followed by a short video, and small group discussions where you can ask questions and share some great conversations with other people. Whether you’ve never heard of God, you’re new to the Christian faith, or you’ve got questions and you’re looking for answers, Alpha is for you.

For more information, and to register for the course, please contact the Alpha team at acparis.org.

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