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

Editor: Alison Benney

In this issue

The unexpected gift of the Nurse Tree, by Reverend Paul Rock, Senior Pastor

Alpha at ACP

Seeking Light in Lent, a Lenten journey toward Resurrection, review by Kate Snipes

Whole mission: a new perspective, review by Tiana Ranaivoson, Mission Outreach Committee

Merci beaucoup to the Fondells, by TL Valluy

Mind our gap: A step up in giving, by Rose Marie Burke

Be the Bridge at the American Church in Paris, by Kym Stewart, Community Life

ACP Scholar in Residence, Dr. Reggie L. Williams

The Innovative Church, a Thurber Conversation with Scott Cormode

Meet climate expert Scott Denning on Earth Day, by Rebecca Brite

Living Lent Challenge

Ukraine aid with Serve The City, by Tom Wilscam

Thank you, ACP volunteers! by Kym Stewart

What’s up in Paris, by Karen Albrecht

Pioneers: Women artists, Paris, and the Roaring 20s, by Karen Marin


The unexpected gift of the Nurse Tree, by Reverend Paul Rock, Senior Pastor

Timing and perspective are everything. In my recent sermon from Romans 5, we talked about how a simple and pithy application of victorious scripture texts can sometimes do more damage than good. But we can’t help ourselves. We want quick answers. We want problems solved, yesterday if possible. Raised in cultures of perfection and success, we’re also overly eager to help others move on from their pain and suffering, partially because it serves as an uncomfortable reminder to us! This is one of the reasons I have grown to be such a fan of all the lessons God can teach us through God’s good creation.

In Dr. Kate Bowler’s book Good Enough, she shares the story of a tree she encountered in a walk through the woods; it had broken at the trunk and was hanging into a gorge, still precariously attached to its roots. The tree reminded Dr. Bowler of her own life as a young mother recently diagnosed with stage 4 terminal cancer. As she stood looking at the tree she was inspired and amazed to the point of tears, thinking about the decades it had taken this broken but persistent tree to:

  1. Deliberately reestablish its root system and thicken its trunk around the remaining bark and splinters that held its fallen canopy
  2. Use its newly strengthened roots and broken trunk to send nutrients to the top of the tree which began, initially, growing downwards into the gorge
  3. Begin to audaciously reach sideways and begin to grow perpendicular to the ground, and finally
  4. Begin arching back toward the sun and an entirely new life as a U-shaped, broken tree - alive and growing in the same direction but in an entirely new way.

All of us can relate to the time, pain, and work it takes to slowly walk through that process of restarting life after breaking. Lent is a season for us to remember and to be reminded, daily, that we actually do not need to fear breaking, falling, or even death, nearly as much as we do. Even trees that completely fall over in the forest serve as conduits of growth for multiple trees that spring up through the old root system or even out of the fallen trunk. A woman with training in forest management recently told me that such broken and fallen trees are called “Nurse Trees.” I love that. A fallen tree that gives life. Sounds like our faith.

The American Church in Paris is walking through a season of breaking, pruning and falling. Covid, in a way, has broken who we used to be. As a result, ACP won’t be filling the Associate Pastor position just vacated by Jodi and Doug Fondell. We also won’t be rehiring a wedding coordinator or childcare helpers. We’re pruning back all of our ministries and some of our largest branches have been allowed to fall to the forest floor. And while this is upsetting and challenging, we would do well to not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by fear or dread.

It will be hard, but those of us who have held on, those of us committed to this beautiful community are needed more than ever. And as we give and serve, sacrificially, we will, in the years ahead, watch and be amazed by the ways that death gives way to life, the new growth emerging from old branches, and the precocious ministry saplings that shoot up.

ACP will not be the same. But the Spirit is deeply and richly at work in and through us. And Jesus, the ultimate Nurse Tree, through whom we live and grow, will continue to call this broken church outward and upward as he provides strength for continued growth. It won’t be quick, and it won’t be perfect, but that’s how true growth happens. We’re just called to do our best to acknowledge the fall, loss, and breaking, and keep bending and growing. God will do the rest. And that’s good enough.

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Alpha at ACP

For the first time since 2019, Alpha is back live in person 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 will run 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.

No question is too simple or too hostile, and there is no pressure, no follow-up, and no charge. We’d particularly like to encourage regular members of ACP’s congregation to invite someone you know to try Alpha. The Alpha Course is a great introduction to the Christian faith and if you’ve heard us talk about it but never tried Alpha yourself, then why not invite someone you know and come along too?

The Alpha course kicks off on Thursday 7 April. Keep up to date with details about the course by checking the ACP website and social media channels. For more information, and to register for the course, please contact the Alpha team at acparis.org.

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Seeking Light in Lent, a Lenten journey toward Resurrection, review by Kate Snipes

On Saturday 5 March, 40 women gathered in the Thurber room to share in a day of prayer, reflection, and celebration of fellowship. We were led by the Reverend Carrie Ballenger, a Lutheran pastor who serves in the Old City of Jerusalem at the Church of the Holy Redeemer. She shared stories of challenge and hope from her eight years serving in Jerusalem – the complex, sometimes violent, and incredibly vibrant city which is a holy land for three religions. Reverend Carrie explained the particular challenges of being a woman pastor in that context, giving testimony of profound forgiveness and desire for peace, even when personally wounded by violence.

Reverend Carrie led us in a combined practice of Lectio and Imagio Divina. After eating lunch together, we combined our efforts to create a work of art with recycled goods modeled on the sunflower works of Vincent van Gogh. The art project was planned months ago, but we realized as we worked that the sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine, and we finished the day with prayers of thanks for our time together and intercession for the people of Ukraine.

The organization team of Chinwe, Selina, Sharon, and Yvonne created a lovely space in Thurber for the event, and Chinwe and Selina opened the event in song and prayer. For those seeking light in Lent, we hope some of the light and laughter was found in Women’s Fellowship that Saturday.

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Whole mission: a new perspective, review by Tiana Ranaivoson, Mission Outreach Committee

Thurber speaker Dr. Al Tizon’s discussion on “Reconciliation and the Great (Whole) Commission” on 15 March was subtitled “Gospel, Church, and Mission in a Fractured World.” While recognizing much abuse committed in the name of mission and Jesus Christ, such as colonialism, Dr Tizon’s message redefined mission: “Jesus is inviting us to participate in God's whole mission to reconcile all things” (Col. 1:15-20).

The ministry of reconciliation, to which God has called the church (2 Cor.5:18-20), refers to our participation in God’s big vision “to reconcile all things in Christ”. The “whole” mission of the church is practicing these three ministries in the world:

  • Evangelism, facilitating reconciliation between God and people;
  • Peacemaking, facilitating reconciliation between people and people; and
  • Stewardship, facilitating reconciliation between God, people, and creation.

Church as Evangelist (based on 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

Evangelism is the embodied communication of the good news of the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ the king to those who have not yet appropriated God’s love and forgiveness in their lives, paying attention to both what we proclaim (what is the Gospel?) and how we proclaim it (how do we preach the Gospel to this generation in this culture?).

As followers of Christ, during our faith journey we have experienced one or several special encounters with Jesus. Dr. Tizon encouraged us to share with others these experiences that mark our faith journey with Jesus Christ and to be enriched from others' stories.

Church as Peacemaker (based on Revelation 7:9-10)

Peacemaking strives in the Spirit to reflect nothing less than the shalom of God in social relationships, going beyond the mere absence of conflict to full-on, relational embrace between oppressed and oppressor, victim and victimizer, abused and abuser.

Evangelist and peacemaker Pastor John Njaramba Kiruga said a few days before he was killed for his faith in Jesus Christ that “we must preach peace at all cost.” Dr. Tizon explained that we are not all called to die for the sake of peace; however, we are all called to seek shalom and be peacemakers where we are, within our sphere of influence. All of us are called to love our neighbors despite their imperfections, and to forgive those who wronged us. This is, of course, not easy, but we can only do it by leaning on Jesus, on God's unconditional love for us and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Church as Steward (based on Isaiah 65:17-25)

The church as steward has been entrusted by God to care for, manage, and cultivate that which belongs to God. This includes everything from financial holdings to the environment and everything in between. “From coins to creation, the call to be good stewards is an integral part of authentic Christian discipleship.”

Mission touches all areas of the church, said Dr. Tizon. It will impact the way we worship, the way we manage finances, the way we make decisions. Mission also touches all areas of our lives: the way we manage our finances, our relationship with our enemies, friends or colleagues, our care for the whole of creation. Being disciples of Christ means that everything we do is under the lordship of Jesus.

Dr Tizon was reminding us that mission is not restricted to supporting ministries or organizations simply by writing checks. He said it also involves engaging in relationship/partnership with them, serving hand in hand with them in the field, and learning from each other's experience. We can do this locally and globally.

We all need to be open to God’s call. Just like Gideon and Moses, he explained, we might be reluctant to take up God’s call but let’s not dig our talent into the ground (see the parable of the talents in Matt 25:14-30). He urged us to use it for the common good, to serve others, to love others as God loves us, because God doesn’t just want us to stay in the church pews every Sunday and listen to beautiful worship music and sermons.

Dr Tizon concluded by inviting us as a church to join Jesus Christ, to be filled by the Holy Spirit and join the cause of the Kingdom of God; to find real life for heaven’s sake; and to realign our lives to God’s call to the poor, the marginalized, and the traumatized.

So now, in the light of this new perspective of the whole mission of the church, what if we pray (individually and corporately) and ask God what mission means for our congregation and what it implies for each of us? How will it impact the way we serve, the way we live out church? And how can the Holy Spirit work through us in all the areas of our lives, in our church, and in the way we care for the whole of creation?

The video recording of Dr. Al Tizon’s Thurber lecture can be found at the Thurber Conversation Archives at acparis.org.

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Merci beaucoup to the Fondells, by TL Valluy

Our beloved Associate Pastors Jodi and Doug Fondell served ACP faithfully from February 2020 to April 2022. They saw us through three senior pastors, led numerous Bible studies, fellowshipped with us, encouraged us and taught us about Christ's love through their words and deeds.

When they first arrived in 2020, they only had a few in-person services before the pandemic lockdown hit. Then they became techies as well as well as pastors, grappling with video editing and Zoom calls, bringing us “talking knees” and puppet shows, hosting a Lenten service from their home and sharing their lives with us, reminding us that even in our dark hours, God is still here, and we can still smile.

They did tremendous behind-the-scenes work, reorganizing committees, training leaders, even cleaning out closets! Jodi and Doug worked closely with all fellowships (men's, women's, African, and Filipino), provided guidance to lay care, and oversaw both Christian Education and Community Life.

Once ACP reopened, they restarted the welcome table and were amazing Vacation Bible School storytellers. Then, of course, there were monthly Spire articles, prayers, kitchen help — just a few of the many ways that they constantly stepped out and stepped up.

It's impossible to give them the send-off that they deserve, as they deserve so much, but with all of our hearts, Jodi and Doug, your ACP family and friends love and thank you. You brought joy; you brought wisdom; you were wonderful ambassadors for Christ.

May the Lord continue to bless and keep you, and may you come back as visiting pastors!

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” – Philippians 1:3

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Mind our gap: A step up in giving, by Rose Marie Burke

In pre-Covid times, the ACP Council would bring a balanced budget to the congregation for a vote at its spring meeting. But the global pandemic has profoundly shifted ACP’s funding, and achieving balance has so far been elusive, so on Sunday, 27 March, the congregation was asked to consider something else entirely.

Despite countless hours of work by the finance team and all of the Council committees, ACP was looking at a €41,000 budget shortfall. After two years of deficit budgets, “we could not in good conscience bring an unbalanced budget up for a vote,” said Council Moderator Mark Primmer.

Instead, the Council launched a “Mind our Gap” campaign to ask ACP members to reconsider their giving for 2022 and ‘’step up.’’

“The Council is committed to closing the gap in order to present a balance budget at the next congregational meeting on 22 May,” Mark said. “To do this, we will need to increase our funding and/or further reduce some of our expenses. We are launching the campaign because it is the Council’s belief that we have the resources in our congregation to strengthen our funding and achieve a balance."

It could have been worse. When the church’s furnace broke down last year, the AFCU donated €40,000 to replace one of the main boilers. The US-based group also pays the senior pastor’s salary as well the taxes and insurance on the ACP facility, which total around $250,000 per year. Plus, several members and friends of the AFCU raised the additional funds for the new sound and light system in the sanctuary. And our congregation generously gave €210,000 extra in a special matching campaign at the end of 2021.

The Council has cut expenses close to the bone, deciding even to forgo filling the Associate Pastor position, when Revs. Doug and Jodi Fondell depart in April. Putting this position on pause will save about €100,000 in total, including French social charges, relocation costs, and other benefits. Also, the budget for ACP missions is being cut by about 40% from 2019 levels. While major property projects were put on hold over the last two years, a few will go forward this year because if unfixed they could become more costly — such as a leak in the chapel roof.

‘’The pandemic taught us some lessons,” said Mark. First, the church can no longer depend on revenue from the Wedding Ministry. Second, related to that, structural changes are needed in ACP’s ministries and operations. In other words, ACP must learn to live without this income, which totaled about €430,000 in 2019.

Another trend is a changing pool of donors. Projected giving for 2022 is down about 13%, partly because some big donors have left Paris and ACP.

The big picture is that after the cuts to expenses, it will cost €1.4 million to run the church in 2022, down from €1.9 million in 2019 (including annual costs borne by the AFCU).

“We don’t want to reduce costs further,” said Mark, “and we do not plan to run an end-of-year matching campaign in order to cover 2022 operational expenses.” So, the Council decided to go back to the congregation to ask for an increase in giving. “The time to close the gap is now.”

To that end, the Council launched the “Mind Our Gap Campaign” to call on the congregation to increase giving for 2022. “We need to increase the donor pie,” said Pam Bohl; it now comprises 298 donors (individuals or families) who give anywhere from €10 to €50,000 a year. “If everyone increased their giving by 10%, we could close the gap.”

Senior Pastor Paul Rock asked the congregation to reflect on their giving practices. About 20% don’t give at all, while some are “extravagant givers.” Can we step onto the ladder of giving? Can we move up a rung? Can we do it from a place of joy and expectation? “We’re not going to be bailed out,” Pastor Rock said. “The future of this room is sitting in this room.”

The future at this hybrid meeting was also in the Zoom room of about 30 online, which brought together AFCU members living abroad and others unable to join the 80 people in the sanctuary. A technical glitch forced a 10-minute break, where people finished their box lunches, mingled, and enjoyed the bright sunshine that streamed through the sanctuary. It was a scene from a post-pandemic church in the making.

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Be the Bridge at the American Church in Paris, by Kym Stewart, Community Life

Are we the American Church or are we an international church? How can we better welcome people to our diverse community? Why do some communities come to our church and why may others avoid it? How do we show who we are, and dismantle any preconceived notions about what it means to be an American church? These are the questions that were raised and discussed during a recent book study at the American Church of Paris.

Over the course of four Zoom sessions, ACP churchgoers engaged in discussions based on Be the Bridge by LaTasha Morrison. The book is dedicated to shaping difficult conversations about race, identity, and healing within the church.

We spoke frankly and deeply about our own experiences, our feelings of frustration or sense of inadequacy, and grew close as a church community. We met every other week in order to give ourselves time to read and digest what the author was saying to us.

Major themes included: How can we better build bridges at the ACP? How do we reconcile past injustices? How can we make cultural shifts to ensure we are leading with inclusion and not just following the world? How do we move away from shame, blame, and guilt into action? Should we ask people their origins? How sensitive is the question of identity?

We often consulted scripture to help guide us through our journey and enlighten us. We did not come up with all the answers, but we opened a door on discussions about how to grow closer as a church community. We collectively decided that we want to continue to work to be an even more welcoming church, by welcoming in the local community, reaching out to visitors, and making space for all people to find their place at the ACP. By the end of the series, we had only begun to touch on how we can make this vision a reality.

We focused on keeping a posture of humility, listening to the stories of others, engaging in transformative listening, and sharing our own journeys. The group will meet again this spring to continue the discussion. This was the first of many more we will have as we continue to grow and shape ourselves as a church community.

To learn more, sign up for the Community Life mailing list at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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ACP Scholar in Residence, Dr. Reggie L. Williams

Shaking things up a bit, we have invited Dr. Reggie L. Williams to serve as Scholar in Residence for four months. He arrives on 10 April and will serve as a pastoral theologian in residence, helping in worship and leading a number of adult education offerings.

Dr. Williams, who visited us as a Thurber speaker in 2019, is associate professor of Christian Ethics at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. His book Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of Resistance (Baylor University Press, 2014) was selected as a Choice Outstanding Title in 2015, in the field of religion. The book is an analysis of exposure to Harlem Renaissance intellectuals, and worship at Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist on the German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, during his year of post-doctoral study at Union Seminary in New York, 1930-31.

Dr. Williams’ research interests include Christological ethics, theological anthropology, Christian social ethics, the Harlem Renaissance, race, politics, and Black church life. His current book project includes a religious critique of whiteness in the Harlem Renaissance. In addition, he is working on a book analyzing the reception of Bonhoeffer by liberation activists in apartheid South Africa.

Dr. Williams received his Ph.D. in Christian ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary in 2011. He earned a Master’s degree in Theology from Fuller in 2006 and a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from Westmont College in 1995. He is a member of the board of directors for the Society for Christian Ethics, as well as the International Dietrich Bonhoeffer Society. He is also a member of the American Academy of Religion and Society for the Study of Black Religion.

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The Innovative Church, a Thurber Conversation with Scott Cormode

Thurber Conversation: Tuesday 5 April at 19h30 (via Zoom)

Dr. Scott Cormode, the Hugh De Pree Professor of Leadership Development at Fuller Seminary, will speak on his book The Innovative Church. At its core, it asks one simple question: How do we embody a never-changing gospel in an ever-changing culture?

Scot founded the Academy of Religious Leadership, an organization for professors who teach leadership in seminaries, and its Journal of Religious Leadership. Author of the book Making Spiritual Sense: Theological Interpretation as Christian Leadership, Cormode has also published numerous articles on leadership, organization, and technology. He maintains case studies and other resources on leadership.fuller.edu, a website for developing Christian leaders.

Register for zoom details at acparis.org.

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Meet climate expert Scott Denning on Earth Day, by Rebecca Brite

Earth Day this year is the Friday after Easter, 22 April, and to mark the end of the ACP’s Creation Care Lenten campaign, the Creation Care Task Force has invited a prominent climate scientist to meet that day with members, via Zoom.

First held in 1970 in the US, Earth Day is now observed worldwide. Its organizers say more than 1 billion people in 193 countries will take part this year.

The ACP event in this movement, which has become more urgent than ever, is a talk and Q&A with A. Scott Denning, Monfort Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. ACP members participating will be joined by other English-speaking groups in Paris and elsewhere in Europe. The event, adopting a favorite theme of Dr. Denning, is titled “The Three S’s of Climate Change: Simple, Serious, and Solvable.”

Dr. Denning has written or co-written over 100 publications in peer-reviewed climate literature and is a former editor of the Journal of Climate. In addition to filling the founding Science Chair of the North American Carbon Program, he has served on advisory panels for NASA, NOAA, the US Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation.

His particular interests in climate science include the interactions between Earth’s atmosphere and the terrestrial biosphere and how they affect the exchange of energy, water, and carbon dioxide, one of the key greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.

Known as an engaging and easy-to-understand speaker, he will explain:

  • The reasons for climate change, which are simple and easy to demonstrate.
  • Why climate change is so serious as we acknowledge the consequences of even a few degrees of warming, on average.
  • How solvable the climate crisis is, if we have the moral courage to act.

The Zoom meeting will begin at 7:30pm Paris time on 22 April. It will start with Dr. Denning’s talk, and participants will then be able to ask him questions. Note that his university website says he “takes special delight in engaging hostile audiences”!

In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about what he does, his research group’s work is described on its website: https://biocycle.atmos.colostate.edu.

The link to join the Zoom meeting is https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85359462610.

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Living Lent Challenge

Lent is traditionally a time of prayer, fasting, and giving to the poor. This year, ACP is doing it with creation in mind. The world is facing a climate crisis, which some theologians say is primarily a spiritual and moral crisis. God created the Earth, deeming it good, and humans are called to be stewards, not destroyers. What can we as Christians do in the face of destruction?

Even committing to do one thing is “Good Enough,” the theme of ACP’s Lenten journey this year. Join us in pledging to accept one or more of the six challenges below, one for each week of Lent. Or do all six for all of Lent! Make your pledge here (acparis.org/give-it-up-for-creation) so we have an idea how many are participating.

  1. Pray for creation.
  2. Eat plant-based meals or fast one or more days a week.
  3. Go to a park and walk or pray.
  4. Reduce your energy use.
  5. Buy nothing new this week.
  6. Donate to the poor, often hurt more by climate change.

Our Lent Challenge was inspired by LivingLent.org, which held challenges in 2019 and 2020. ACP’s challenge is organized by the Creation Care Task Force, which the ACP Council established in December 2021 to uphold the church’s core value of creation care. Look for the task force’s next activity, a Zoom talk by climate scientist Scott Denning at 19h30 on Earth Day: Friday 22 April. See our webpage at ACParis.org/creation care. Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Ukraine aid with Serve The City, by Tom Wilscam

We are all watching and reading the news, feeling compelled to do something – anything – to help our fellow human beings.

There are now over 10 million displaced Ukrainian citizens and over 3 million migrating from Ukraine to other European countries. Many Ukrainian women and children are now on their way to Paris to seek asylum, but there is a lack of shelter and basic necessities, as well as a lack of medical support, legal support, and employment opportunities for asylum seekers.

Our goal at Serve The City Paris is to provide shelter for these Ukrainian women and children at a 215-square-meter community center that can house up to 10 families. We will also use donations from our volunteers, our friends, and our families to purchase provisions such as blankets, beds, canned goods, hygiene products, legal support, transportation, women’s and girls’ clothes, and toys for this new group of displaced refugees in Europe.

Our partner, UPS (United Postal Service), has also offered to transport, at no charge, some of these items to our Serve The City offices in Poland and Romania.

We’ve set up an emergency GoFundMe.com fundraising campaign to provide shelter and living necessities to Ukrainian women and children.

The link to see more information and to donate is here: https://gofund.me/f6346961

How can we help? How can you help? Donate whatever amount you can, and pass this message onto three other people (friends, family members, and fellow volunteers).

We cannot change what has happened in the past, but we can change what is to come. There is nothing stronger than a group of people working together.

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Thank you, ACP volunteers!, by Kym Stewart

Are you a volunteer at the American Church in Paris? If not, please join us! On 20 March, we took some time to recognize and thank all the volunteers who keep the church running. This includes the ushers, choir, Alpha team, kitchen team, children and youth worship helpers, musicians, Bible study leaders, scripture readers, finance team, Council, the prayer team, mission outreach – and the list goes on; we have over 150 volunteers who help out at the ACP.

Roughly 70 of us gathered to break bread and take a pause for fellowship. In the upcoming season, we will need to call on even more volunteers to fill in the gaps. All congregants are welcome to volunteer and no experience is needed. All ages, including children and teens, are encouraged to volunteer.

We need people to help in all areas of the church. If you are an amateur cook, we need you. If you are an accountant, we need you. If you are good with children, we need you. If you can read, we need you. If you have a caring heart, we need you. No training is necessary, we will find a space for you.

Volunteering at the American Church in Paris gives you a chance to enjoy fellowship, to grow closer with other congregants; it gives you a chance to help your church community and to praise God with the gifts you have been given. Here’s a list of the committees at ACP; see what would be the best fit for your skillset and we will get your started with the right team.

We hope to see YOU at the next volunteer appreciation party! To sign up to volunteer or to learn more, join the Community Life mailing list at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Christian Education – CommunicationsCommunity LifeFinance, Stewardship, and DevelopmentHuman ResourcesPropertyMission OutreachWorship and Music

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What’s up in Paris, by Karen Albrecht

Photo: © Aurore VinotArabian knights

Eric Bouvron's theater piece "Lawrence d'Arabie" retells (in French) the fabled tale of the young Englishman who rallied the Arabs in their revolt against the Ottoman Turks during World War I. The endlessly inventive director, born in Egypt to French and Greek parents, traveled to Jordan to research the subject, and his production is at once minimalist and monumental. The actors share the open stage with a singer, accordionist, and violinist, and put their simple yet evocative costumes and stripped-down props to surprisingly stirring effect, infusing the old story with gripping drama, well-timed humor, and an achingly human ambiguity.

Until 8 May, theatredugymnase.paris



Photo: © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice SchmidtMamma mia!

A precious handful of masterworks by the American painter James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) are on loan to the Musée d'Orsay while New York's Frick Museum is undergoing renovations. The luscious portraits, landscapes, and sketches are reunited in a single room with Orsay's own treasure, the celebrated canvas widely known as "Whistler's Mother." Its official title, "Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1,” like the titles of "variations," "symphony," or "nocturne" that Whistler gave to several of his creations, reveals the artist's penchant for composing his works as if they were intricate musical compositions. 
Until 8 May, www.musee-orsay.fr





Photo: Karen AlbrechtAll about Yves

The show marking the 60th anniversary of legendary couturier Yves Saint Laurent's very first collection in 1962 is spread out over six Paris museums. In addition to stunning sketches and other archival material at the YSL museum, his garments are on display amid the collections at Centre Pompidou, the Louvre, Musée d'Art Moderne, Musée Picasso, and Musée d'Orsay. At Pompidou, playful yet elegant frocks hang right next to the iconic artworks by Picasso, Mondrian, Matisse, and others that very obviously inspired them. 

Until 15 May (Musée Picasso until 15 April); museeyslparis.com, www.louvre.fr, www.mam.paris.fr, www.museepicassoparis.fr, www.musee-orsay.fr, www.centrepompidou.fr



Photo: © Nicolas Joubard

The year of the dragon

The "100%" festival at La Villette really goes all the way, with eclectic events spanning many media. "Sorties d'école" features a free outdoor program of installations and performances by students from top art, photography and design schools. Acclaimed theater director Thomas Jolly's "Le Dragon" revives (in French) a 1943 satire by Russian playwright Evgeny Schwartz, in which a three-headed dragon's reign of terror over a small town is challenged by a crusading Lancelot, who turns out to be equally despotic. The play, which infuriated the Soviet regime, seems eerily relevant today.

Festival 100% until 20 June, "Le Dragon" 14-17 April, lavillette.com



Photo: © Federico Ciameic

Fresh angles

The annual "Circulations" festival at trendy art space Le Cent-Quatre celebrates emerging photographic talent from across Europe. Run by a collective of ten independent curators, the event is a chance to take in some truly eye-opening visions, ranging from the unnervingly edgy and the politically charged to the fresh, simple, and fun. Check out Ana Núñez Rodríguez's intriguing "Cooking Potato Stories," which look at history and national identity via the humble potato; Federico Ciamei's self-consciously surrealistic "Travel Without Moving" series; and Sari Soininen's otherworldly "Transcendent Country of the Mind."

Until 29 May, www.festival-circulations.com



Photo: ©Alexinho Mougeolle

Tapping a new energy

The spirited young dance company founded by Romain Rachline Borgeaud, a veteran of several top Broadway musicals and finalist on "La France a un incroyable talent," comes to Paris with "Stories," an ebullient 75-minute show featuring an original musical store. The tale of young actor Icare's battle of wills with his overbearing director comes to life in a series of tableaux, complete with elaborate sets and costumes. This is definitely not your grandma's tap-dance musical: the expertly executed tap-dance moves are overlaid with an artful intensity and an ultra-cool, 21st-century urban-jazz vibe.

14-30 April, le13emeart.com


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Pioneers: Women artists, Paris, and the Roaring 20s, by Karen Marin

Back in 1971, art historian Linda Nochlin asked the question in her article “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” At the exhibit, Pioneers: Women Artists in the Paris of the Roaring Twenties, we learn that for centuries women were denied training, and they were refused access to galleries – and in some cases to collectors and museums, complicating matters to say the least. And yet, women artists persevered, and are now recognized as having made important contributions to major artistic movements of the early 20th century, as well as to the worlds of fashion, dance, design, literature, and architecture. The story of this journey is told across nine exhibit rooms at the Musée du Luxembourg.

The Roaring 20s – les Années folles in French – brings to mind flappers, the Charleston, and wild parties. Women cropped their hair, hemlines rose well above the ankle, and they smoked cigarettes from rouged lips. It was also a time of cultural exuberance in art, when Fauvism gave way to Abstraction, Cubism, and Surrealism. Paris in the 1920s openly embraced the avant-garde, and so it attracted artists in the fields of painting, sculpture, and film along with writers, poets, and all kinds of other creatives. The city welcomed women in private academies, women were running their own businesses – think of Coco Chanel and Sylvia Beach - and they were enjoying liberties gained since the demise of the Victorian age. Women in Paris dared to live like men.

The pioneering artists from this period depict a very free woman, one who has made a break from restrictive fashion and is unafraid to show the realities of life. Take, for instance, Jacqueline Marval’s La Baigneuse en maillot noir, which depicts a woman lounging languidly on the beach in a very brief swimsuit, while the mother in Marie Blanchard’s Maternité appears fatigued and worn out by the pressures of motherhood. Marie Laurencin’s portrait of Mademoiselle Chanel shows a melancholic side to the couturier: is she mourning her lover or is she contemplating the woes of running her business?

Rare works by the artist Gerda Wegener portray elegantly dressed women who are somewhat aloof. In fact, one of the women in the painting, Lily, was Gerda’s husband – the first person to undergo transgender surgery back in the 1920s (whose story was famously told in the movie, The Danish Girl).

One room of the exhibit is devoted to Tamara de Lempicka, a brilliant artist whose unique style, which blended Cubism with theatrical lighting in dramatic portrayals of women, became synonymous with the Art Deco movement. Although the narratives of her work recall classical compositions and give a nod to the old Italian Masters who greatly influenced her, de Lempicka’s tableaux are absolutely modern and graphic with the use of intense colors. Her success was also her downfall once Art Deco was no longer fashionable; but she was rediscovered in the 1980s when celebrities such as Barbra Streisand and Madonna put her back on the map.

Women of this period also made great strides in such fields as sports and the performing arts. For instance, French tennis player Suzanne Lenglen was the Serena Williams of her day, a six-time champion at Wimbledon and an Olympian. She created a scandal when she showed up on the tennis court without a corset in a “skimpy” low-necked dress that fell just below her knees. Dressed by Jean Patou, she was his original inspiration for sportswear, and an assortment of photos show her winning style. Meanwhile, Josephine Baker was displaying her unique style of entertainment in the dancehalls. Visitors can see short film clips of her famous show, as well as excerpts from movies in which she appeared.

The last room is dedicated to diversity and to women artists from around the world, at a time when colonialism still existed. Juliette Roche’s monumental American Picnic depicts a utopian landscape in which people of all colors come together in peace, harmony, and a celebration of life, an inspiring message on which to close.

At the Musée du Luxembourg, through 10 July 2022. For more information visit: www.museeduluxembourg.fr

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

Post-Pandemic Me: Helpful resources can be found at acparis.org/post-pandemic-me

ACP Council positions opening for 2022-2023: The ACP Nominating Committee prayerfully discerns and nominates leaders to Council, to ensure the smooth running of the church. For the 2022-2023 Council year there are positions to be filled in HR, Property, Communications, Worship & Music, Christian Education, Finance/Stewardship & Development, and Council Secretary. Do you know someone from our congregation who could be a great fit for the Council? We would love to hear your suggestions at acparis.org/leadership-suggestions.

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

3 April: Debussy in Resonance: pianist Joanna Goodale: performs works by Debussy and original pieces.

10 April: Un Homage à Martial Singher: baritone Matthew Carey and pianist Thomas MacFarlane perform works by Rameau, Mozart, Debussy, Ravel, and others.

24 April: Pianist Raj Bhimani performs works by Bach, Franck, Ravel, Brenet, and Schubert

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..

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.

ACP Today radio shows in April

Monday 4 April: John Price hosts, and discusses the Mind the Gap campaign, chats about early church history with Kate Snipes, and brings us up to date on ACP events.

Monday 21 April: Alison Benney hosts this Easter Monday show, chatting with ACP Scholar in Residence Reggie Williams, and interviewing Rose Marie Burke on Creation Care.

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

ACP Movie Discussion Group - Thursday, 21 April, at 19h30, via Zoom and/or in ACP room G2

Films to choose from on Netflix: Le chant du loup, People Places Things, Règle de trois/Ajeeb Daastaans.

Films to choose from in cinemas: Notre-Dame brûle, En corps, Contes du hasard et autres fantaisies (6 April), A Chiara (13 April).

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

Monthly Women’s Bible Study –– If you've been attending the series Women in Parables, please note that we will not be meeting in April. At the next gathering, at 12h30 on 15 May in room F2, 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.


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 Pastor Jodi at 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 acparis.org/announcements.

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