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

Editor: Alison Benney

In this issue

A year in, by Reverend Paul Rock, Senior Pastor

Music program going forward, by Natalie McConnell, Contemporary Music Director

Youth and Children's Choirs

Movie Night at ACP: Documentary about Rhobi Samwelly’s human rights work

Ghana: Living Truth Foundation Ministries, by Carolyn Bouzouani

People we met on a Protestant history tour of Paris, by Rebecca Brite

Appreciating ACP heritage, by Alison Benney

Steps on the Way Home, by Jim Hobbs

Concert tribute to Fred Gramann in photos

Atelier concerts in October

What’s up in Paris, by Karen Albrecht

Mirror of the World: Masterpieces from the Dresden cabinet of curiosities, by Karen Marin

Announcements

Bloom Where You’re Planted


A year in, by Reverend Paul Rock, Senior Pastor

Dear ACP Family, it’s wild to think that Stacey and I have been here for one year. And what a singular year it has been; filled with immense gifts, transitions, challenges, loss, and deep growth. Looking back at my journal from last fall, I wrote these words, inspired by my reading and re-reading of John 15: … Jesus is the vine, we are the branches and God is the Gardener, pruning branches that produce fruit, promising that “if you remain in me and I in you, you will bear more fruit.” Which means, our job is to remain rooted in Christ as we lean into the important, slow work of pruning, adjusting, and rebuilding the post pandemic church…

We couldn’t have imagined the amount of pruning we would endure one year ago. I thank God for the way your love and faithfulness have held our ACP family together. Your words of encouragement, prayers, and generous support have been sustaining. Thank you. As you know, over the last years ACP has endured significant loss. While 2019 provided close to €500,000 in revenue, the pandemic handed us what is now a third year of almost no wedding income. While rental income is making its way back to pre-pandemic levels, we’ve also seen some significant givers move on. And yet, this has given us an opportunity as a congregation to cultivate a new commitment to congregational giving, and your commitments and gifts are slowly bearing fruit. Thank you. Soon we will turn our eyes to 2023 and building a more sustainable model of giving for years to come. 

In light of our income challenges, we eliminated many part and full-time staff positions and indefinitely paused our search for a new Associate Pastor. And last month we said goodbye to Fred Gramann, ACP’s adored Director of Music for over 46 years. To say this has been difficult would be an understatement. 

And yet… and yet, despite the challenges and pruning, Christ continues to do amazing and eternal things in and through this amazing and unique community. Despite the challenges, we re-opened our 100 Nights of Welcome in January and February. We’ve all been enjoying our greatly improved sound and lighting system which has made our services, concerts, and events more inspiring and discernable! - thank you, AFCU. Our reinvigorated youth group is thriving (30 kids this past week!) and this past Tuesday Stacy and I shared reflections with over 20 fantastic young adults in the Catacombs. 

What else? At the end of August, we had an enthusiastic week of Vacation Bible School, in September we installed a most diverse and talented new Council, and this month we’ll re-launch our first in-person Bloom since 2019. Not to mention the African and Filipino Fellowships which are meeting in person again regularly, which is a huge blessing. We could go on.  

Friends, walking through seasons of pruning and loss is not a lot of fun, but eventually, as we remain in Christ and he remains in us, we learn to yield, shift, and experience the signs and shoots of joyous new growth: rich, healthy, different, and more beautiful than we could have imagined. 

It’s been quite a year. Thank you, thank you, ACP family for your endurance, adaptability, faithful love, and support. It has not been easy, but it has been good. I’m so very glad God called us here. 

With love,
Paul

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Alpha Course: Got questions about life? Try Alpha! You have two opportunities to join the course: in-person on Wednesday evenings (with dinner at 19h and ending at 21h), and online on Thursday mornings (10h30-12h). More info and registration at acparis.org/alpha or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


 

Music program going forward, by Natalie McConnell, Contemporary Music Director

In October, a team of ACP musicians, continuing music directors and visiting artist Aeri Lee will lead the music ministries overseen by Fred Gramann prior to his retirement in September. Our Contemporary Music Director, Natalie McConnell sat down with a few of these musicians to learn more about their backgrounds and perspectives they'll be bringing to this new season.


Introducing our Visiting Artist Aeri Lee, interim Adult Choir Director

Aeri Lee brings a lifetime of experience expressing her faith through music in the church.

A classical pianist with masters’ degrees in choral conducting and piano from Yale, she also holds a Masters of Arts and Religion, with a concentration in worship and music from Yale Divinity School, and a Certificate from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, with degree projects on Olivier Messiaen and Hildegard von Bingen. She is an editor with the Global Praise Initiative and will give several talks at ACP about multicultural worship through music.

She will conduct ACP’s adult choir from October to the end of December. She will be accompanied by her husband Ben.

I spoke with her about her musical origins and inspiration.

I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea until age 11 and then my whole family immigrated to Los Angeles. I went to a private arts high school. My piano teacher’s husband was the headmaster. My family was not well-to-do, they were a typical immigrant family with all the financial and cultural struggles new immigrant families go through. But I was blessed to have met this piano teacher who took me under her wing and gave me free lessons all the way through until I went away to college at UCLA.

When did music first come into your life?

I grew up in church, I’m a Sunday school rat, as I say: “church mouse,” because my father was a Presbyterian minister; I’m probably fourth generation Presbyterian. My father was a great lover of music. I began piano at 5 and my first gig was children’s choir accompanist, starting in the first grade (age 6!). I had memorized the entire Korean hymnal by third grade.

My Dad is an “amateur” in the true sense of lover of classical music; my younger sister is a violist in the San Francisco Opera and Ballet orchestra. But my dad probably loves music more than the two professionals.

I asked her about what led her to her projects on Messiaen and Hildegard von Bingen at Yale.

I wanted to find out, as a classically trained pianist, what does it mean to have a central motivation for making music as your faith? That was the search that led me to graduate school at the Yale Institute of sacred music. I was searching to understand how to make my work as a classical pianist intrinsically God-centered.[Messiaen] caught my attention; here was a French composer, a modern composer who tried to bring his faith as a central expression into his writing and he wrote extensively about it.

She began conducting at Yale, where, inspired by the beautiful acoustics of their chapel, she started a student choir.

While preparing for her graduate recital, Aeri developed severe tendonitis in both arms and although classical pianists cannot afford to take time off, she was forced to, and took the opportunity to do some volunteer work. She was invited to teach music at a seminary in Uganda and she spent the semester in Kampala. Aeri has been volunteering at the music college in Uganda for a month or two every year since.

After her choral conducting studies at Yale, Aeri moved to Washington, DC where she taught at the National Cathedral School for Girls. She directed a 100-piece children’s choir and also served at a local United Methodist Church. During this time, she also volunteered to teach music and arts in Adams Morgan neighborhood with many poor and immigrant families.

This was really a transformative experience for me because here were the National Cathedral children; probably the most privileged kids; and then you have children in Adams Morgan who didn’t have electricity. They would take refuge at the center, not just for piano and music but because it was warm. It was such a contrast. It was a very meaningful and powerful experience.

After returning to California, Aeri became a music director at a Chinese American church, and an adjunct professor and music director at the Pacific School of Religion. She became director of a group that trained Methodist pastors. It was during this time that she was invited to join an initiative of the General Board of Global Ministries.

The hymnal editor Carlton Young spearheaded a project to gather indigenous worship music from many cultures to bless the global church.

The mission effort up until then had been Europeans and Americans bringing their music to the worship life of other cultures; so it’s mission, but it’s also a little bit cultural colonization.

They wanted an understanding of mutuality in mission; to share Christian music that was not exported exclusively from European and American sources, but to have music that is indigenous to people worshipping everywhere else.

Aeri was invited to join their team. The first task was to collect and publish music global praise music and to do workshops on how to teach, integrate, and disseminate multicultural worship music.

Aeri will give a hands-on workshop entitled Global Praise: Learning to Sing Each Other’s Prayers, immediately following the 11h service on Sunday, 23 October in the Theatre and during the 14h service on the same day. A second workshop will take place on 27 November.

I’m coming to ACP with a completely open mind and no agenda, but watching out to see what God will do.

For more information on the talks or joining the adult choir with rehearsals Wednesdays from 19h30 to 21h30, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Getting to know Fran Michalek, Interim Handbell Choir Director

Many of us know that Fran is the spouse of our Visiting Pastor, Dan Michalek, without knowing about her vast experience as a professional musician and music director.

Fran will be bringing her passion for music in worship to directing our bell choir this fall, so I asked her about her background and her hopes for the coming year at ACP.

I grew up in smalltown Pennsylvania and music was a huge part of my life from very early on. My grandparents were first-generation Polish and everyone in my family played an instrument for the polka band. My mom played drums and violin, my sister and I played piano and sang.

Fran also grew up in the church, lending her many musical gifts to worship. In high school she not only played piano, sang, and did musical and summer theater, but also composed choral pieces, one of which was published.

She was singled out for her abilities by her wonderful music director, who taught her piano and exposed her to a wide range of repertoire. He introduced us to major choral works and modern pieces and allowed the class to decide what we would perform. It was inspiring.

She earned a degree in Music Education from Clarion University, in voice, having initially started out a piano major. She taught music for nine years in elementary and middle school, where she directed musicals, some of which she also composed and choreographed.

Moving to Brighton, Michigan in 1996 and joining First Presbyterian Church of Brighton, Fran directed their teen choir as a volunteer, composing the musical, The Gifts of God.

In 2003 she went on staff as the music director, leading three vocal choirs and three bell choirs for adults, teens, and children. She eventually started a band when the church added a contemporary service.

I loved working with Dan, because I could pick his brain about the services; he allowed me to craft really creative services, tweaking things to draw people’s attention so they could hear something new even in something that had become a little rote. One year we did a year of prayer and built a prayer labyrinth. I’m one of those 3% of people who are energized by change.

Her choirs performed major traditional works with orchestra and did two choir tours of Scotland, although she’s versed in and loves many genres of music. She brings her eclectic skill set and a passion for creative, meaningful worship to ACP.

Fran will direct our ACP bell choirs this fall. All are welcome!

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


All about Sara Barton, Director of Children and Youth Music Ministries

I sat down with Sara to learn more about her life in music and what she’s excited about for the coming season.

Born in Geneva Switzerland to British parents, Sara moved to the US at age 2 and grew up in the south Florida. She recalled her first piano teacher: He was an amazing violinist who used the Suzuki method and taught general music to anyone who wanted to learn. He was this incredible character, incredibly encouraging, who taught me to play so many pieces so quickly, and yet at 12 or 13 when I began playing organ I suddenly had to learn to read sheet music for the first time! …and under great duress.

There weren’t very many organists in South Florida, so at 13, after playing for her church, she was quickly in demand. She added organ lessons to piano and became an Organ Scholar at the prestigious Cambridge University Saint Catherine’s chapel. An Organ Scholar chooses all of the music for the chapel, plays and directs the auditioned student choir, and this, in addition to their degree program.

Cambridge was very much a baptism by fire. The whole church service is constructed around music in that tradition; very music heavy…they sing everything. It was a style I’d never played before and suddenly we had to play three times per week! So I learned this incredible repertoire; it was a wonderful experience.

After graduating from Cambridge with a degree in English literature, Sara worked at a church as an organist and directed their bell choir. She did a master’s degree in collaborative piano while also working as a repetiteur for an opera company.

Sara came to Paris in 2008 and has been our wonderful youth music director and a regular organist since 2015. She teaches music to college-level kids at the École Jeannine Manuel.

I asked about her favorite part of her musical experience at ACP and she said: I’ve loved finding solutions for how to include more kids from our community, by having the Son Day choir for example, so that we can have a cross-section of our whole church up there singing together for Easter and the services. Also, prior to COVID, we would do a musical at the end of the year. It was great fun. collaborating with Allison, and we look forward to doing that again.

The children and youth will sing in this year’s Christmas Concert on 10 December at 17h and 20h. Sara will play organ and the children will sing in worship at 11h on 9 October.

For more information on children and youth music, contact Sara at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Youth and Children's Choirs

Sing in church once a month. All children and youth are welcome! No sign-up is necessary; please come to our Wednesday rehearsals (except during school holidays) and give it a try.

See the schedule below for details, and get in touch with Sara Barton at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions.

  • 13h30-14h00 Angel Choir (ages 3-6);
  • 14h00-14h45 Spirit Choir (ages 7-18);
  • 14h45-15h15 Choirchimes (ages 7-18);
  • 15h15-15h45 Ethereal ensemble (audition-based, ages 10-18)

More information here.

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Movie Night at ACP: Documentary about Rhobi Samwelly’s human rights work

On 20 October at 19h30, join us in the Thurber Room for a free, private screening of the award-winning documentary, “In the Name of Your Daughter” (85 minutes), to learn about girls trying to escape female genital mutilation (FGM) in Tanzani. Rhobi Samwelly, who runs safe houses in the country, features in the film and joins us to discuss the economic and social forces at work.

Read more about Rhobi in the September Spire. She was brought to France this year by the Marianne Initiative, and has been worshipping at ACP. Note that the film does not show the practice and that while Rhobi encourages young people to attend (13+), parental discretion is advised (see the trailer and synopsis on the registrations page). Popcorn and beverages offered.

Contact Rose Marie Burke at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details. Register at acparis.org/signups.

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Ghana: Living Truth Foundation Ministries, by Carolyn Bouzouani

Being Christ’s missionary has always been a challenge, but think about bringing the word of God to those in prison. The Living Truth Foundation Ministries (TLTFM), supported by the American Church in Paris, is in its 20th year of serving in the prisons, hospitals, and schools in southern and central Ghana; our Prison Ministry has been the main pillar of this ministry. ACP’s missionary Anna Cobbinah and her late husband Francis and their team started with one prison in 2003 and have grown their outreach to nine prisons in 2022.

Prior to the arrival of Covid-19, Anna and her team had been faithfully visiting the Ghana prisons, preaching to inmates and officers, and each week holding year-long Disciple Bible Study programs in seven of the prisons: the Ankaful Maximum Security Prison, Main Camp, Annex, and Contagious Disease Prison; and the Secondi, Kumasi Central and Koforidua prisons. At the completion of each year-long program, graduation ceremonies are held, and certificates are awarded.

The Covid-19 restrictive protocols put in place by the prison authorities in Ghana in 2020 created a pause of the Disciple Bible Study program in most of the prisons for the past two and a half years. But studies did continue in three of the prisons, led by inmates themselves who had already completed the first and second years of the Disciple program, under the guidance of a TLTFM pastor. Several graduation ceremonies were able to be held during this time, at the Maximum-Security prison and the Annex prison.

For released inmates from the Kumasi Central Prison who had not been officially graduated, a special event was held on 28 May of this year. This was the first time a Discipleship Graduation for ex-convicts was held outside prison walls. It was attended by 10 ex-convicts who are now Evangelists.

There was a session for testimonies. The ex-convicts who were once sentenced to various degrees of prison terms of 15 years and above – mostly for robbery, car theft, and many other second-degree felonies – testified to the goodness of the Lord and the transformative power of the Word of God and the positive impact of the well-tailored Discipleship Program.

These ex-convicts are now involved in Evangelical programs on local TV and radio stations, bus terminals, and open markets. Many are involved in spreading the Gospel in villages; all with amazing and fascinating testimonies. There was even an instance when a fetish priest abandoned his shrine and gods, and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior. A number of the graduates are Deacons in their denominations. Here are two testimonies sent to us:

“The Ghana police arrested me to charge me for defilement and I spent two months in police cells. That was the first time I started to pray and search for Jesus Christ. They convicted me to spend eight years in prison. God has been so good. I got a chance to study the Bible with the Discipleship Bible Study program, first and second levels, and I have my Certificate. Now I am out from prison, and I have started spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ the same as the woman who met Jesus Christ at the well. Now I preach at schools, hospitals, on roadsides, on the radio, and also go to some churches.

We appreciate you for giving us the chance to study the Bible. God richly bless you all. Amen.” Evangelist GKA from the Ashanti Region

“I am 38 years old, and l met the Discipleship Bible Study program in the Kumasi Central Prison, completing the first and the second levels. l now preach the Gospel at Sunsum radio FM 98.7 every Saturday morning from 9:00-10:00am. l also preach at the Information Center and do outside evangelism. I am grateful for the discipleship training for us. If not for this l would not be as l am today.

God bless you all. Thank you.” Evangelist KO

TLTFM team members are meeting with authorities of each of the prisons that temporarily paused the Discipleship programs, to schedule new programs. TLTFM Pastors and Evangelists have been identified to lead the classes in each of the prisons and are eager to get started. May God continue to bless their efforts. God is sowing many seeds in Ghana!

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People we met on a Protestant history tour of Paris, by Rebecca Brite

In August, to mark the 450th anniversary of the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, we embarked on a tour about Huguenot (French Protestant) history. The 15 or so participants made the acquaintance of a host of interesting characters, all players in the history of the Protestant movement in France.

Here is a brief selection of Huguenots we encountered as we wended our way through the northern 6th and southern 1st arrondissements:

In the square abutting Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the ancient Catholic church where we began our tour (see August Spire), we met an early Huguenot artisan. Bernard Palissy (c. 1510-89), a ceramic artist with many noble and royal clients, ended his life cold and starving in the Bastille for refusing to abjure his faith. The city erected a bronze statue of him here in 1883, and a similar one stands at the Sèvres ceramic museum just outside Paris. Nearby, at the end of the square, stands a glorious, enormous Art Nouveau portal made of Sèvres ceramic for the 1900 World’s Fair.

After walking widdershins not quite all the way around the church (tradition has it that completing such a counterclockwise circuit leads to very bad luck indeed), we heard about Henri of Navarre, who began life as a Catholic prince in 1553; was raised Protestant; converted to Catholicism for his marriage to the French princess Marguerite of Valois and thus survived the massacre of Huguenots after the wedding in 1572; fled wife and court to resume his Protestant faith and wage war against the Catholic League; abjured the reformist faith one last time to become Catholic king of France as Henri IV in 1589; promulgated the Edict of Nantes in 1598 to give Protestant rights; and died in 1610 at the hands of a Catholic fanatic protesting a royal plan to invade Catholic Spain’s holdings in the Netherlands.

Next to one of Paris’s oldest chocolate shops, Debauve et Gallais, we saw the name Conrart on a plaque commemorating a Protestant cemetery that existed on the site from c. 1604 until Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Soon thereafter, at the Institut de France, we met Valentin Conrart (1603-75), the Huguenot author and grammarian whose literary salon was taken under the wing of Cardinal Richelieu in 1635 and became the Académie Française, with Conrart as its secretary for the last 43 years of his life.

From the Institute, we crossed the Pont des Arts and looked upstream at the Pont Neuf, designed by Baptiste Androuet du Cerceau (c. 1545-90), member of a dynasty of Huguenot architects. His nephew, Salomon de Brosse, was one of the names on the plaque marking the old Protestant cemetery site; it was de Brosse who built the Luxembourg Palace for Henri IV’s second wife, Marie de Medicis. The Pont des Arts also afforded us a glimpse of the equestrian statue of Henri IV, a copy of the original (destroyed in the Revolution) commissioned by Marie after her husband’s assassination.

Our next stop was the Cour Carrée, the oldest aboveground part of the Louvre, from which bells rang out on the night of 23-24 August 1572, the feast of Saint Bartholomew, signaling the massacre of thousands of Huguenots gathered in Paris for Henri of Navarre’s first wedding. A few days earlier, someone had tried to kill Gaspard de Coligny, a Protestant military commander; it is thought that the court, fearing a revenge attack, decide to take preemptive action.

Our tour ended at the statue of Coligny at the back of the Oratoire du Louvre, the Protestant temple where, in 1814, English-speaking Protestants began holding regular worship. An offshoot of that group would become the American Chapel, forerunner of ACP.

A final poignant link between Huguenot history and ACP: After the massacre, around a thousand bodies washed up on the Ile Maquerelle, an island in the Seine some 2 km downstream from the Louvre. A Protestant cemetery was founded on the spot. Later joined to the Left Bank, the island became the site of the American Church in Paris.

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Appreciating ACP heritage, by Alison Benney

ACP’s docent team welcomed over 300 visitors for Journées du Patrimoine tours last month on 17 September, with guided tours of the Sanctuary from 10h to 17h30. Almost 90% of our guests were French and living in or around Paris. We had a handful of visitors from Germany, Spain, the UK, and Croatia, along with a few from the US, Mexico, Lebanon, and Vancouver.

Most identified as Catholic or simply Christian, with five specifically Protestant, and while there were also five self-proclaimed atheists, 72 people wrote in that they had no religion at all. Plus, we counted two Muslims, a Gregorian, and a Christian Scientist.  

All were very curious about the American Church in Paris, especially to hear the history of the windows. The question most often asked was, as usual, “Do you have to be American to come here?” To which the answer was, as usual, “Our congregation is made up of over 60 different nationalities speaking as many different languages.”

Leading these tours is exhilarating and exhausting, so many thanks go to the volunteers who welcomed and informed our guests: Shahram Ameri, Rebecca Brite, Patti Lafage, Stacey Rock, and Kandice Vettier. If you’re inspired to join the docent team and would like to share the treasures of the Sanctuary with visitors on Sundays, please write to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Steps on the Way Home, by Jim Hobbs

For many of us, at the heart of addiction is a longing for home. We find ourselves longing for a place to feel safe, to feel normal, and to feel loved in a way our heart truly desires. Unfortunately, the alcohol, drugs, and prescription medicines we use to cope with our pains and the sufferings of this world many times lead us further away from the intimate, loving relationships we desire. We can begin to find the seeds of hope in a community of others who have walked the journey before us, and can compassionately support and care for us in the next steps of healing and recovery. 

We invite you to join us on a month-long journey, as I will spend time on the healing power of the 12-step program, taking the steps toward making sense of your addictions, your longings, and God's desire to reconcile and restore your pain and suffering into a safe space of love and hope for yourself and your loved ones. Every Sunday at 12h30 in room G5 through 30 October, Jim will lead a discussion on how addiction can serve as a doorway into a deeper relationship with the divine. The only requirement is to bring your guilt and shame, your grief and loss, your pain and suffering, so we can together help heal the wounding of our lives, with Jesus at the heart of our recovery.

Sign up at acparis.churchcenter.com

Jim Hobbs is a part-time spiritual care counselor at Caron Treatment Center, one of the world's leading addiction rehabilitation centers. He is currently a Master of Divinity student at Fuller Theological Seminary and a graduate of Caron, where he did his treatment in November 2017 after 35 years of living in active addiction to alcohol. He and his wife Marta have been coming to ACP since 2010. Jim also serves on the board of the AFCU.

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Concert tribute to Fred Gramann in photos

On Saturday 10 September, the Friends of Fred organized a tribute concert to celebrate Fred Gramann’s 46 years of service to ACP as Music Director. He retired on 30 September. Photos thanks to Francois Pierre.

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Atelier concerts in October

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

9 October: “Reimagining Song” – Soprano Malinda Haslett and pianist Scott Wheatley perform works by Undine Smith Moore, Poldowski, Claude Arrieu, and more.

16 October: Pianist Gerardo Tessonnière performs Fauré, Schubert, and Beethoven.

23 October: Sopranos Rebecca Hays and Nicole Hanig, bass-baritone Allen Saunders, and pianist Susan McDaniel performs Purcell, Rodgers, Bernstein, and others.

 

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Going to Church: An exploration of what it means to be “church”: Wednesdays 5, 12, and 19 October 19h30-20h30 on Zoom. These sessions will focus on three different time periods in the life of the Church: First century, 16th century, and 21st century. We will explore Biblical passages, reflect on historical documents, respond to the sermon series “What Did I Sign Up For?”, share our own knowledge of the Church in these periods, and use our imaginations to conjure the character of Church life in each of these critical periods. Register at acparis.org/signups.

 


What’s up in Paris, by Karen Albrecht

House of the rising sun

Photo: © Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris / Studio Christian Baraja SLBClaude Monet's 1872 painting "Impression, sunrise" gave its name to the Impressionist movement. To mark the 150th anniversary of its most celebrated possession, the Musée Marmottan Monet has assembled a suitably luminous show, bringing together around 100 depictions of the sun, from Antiquity to the present day. Be it a brightly crowned charioteer frozen onto a gracious Grecian urn, Pissarro's exquisitely watery winter sun, the lyricism of Turner, the bright, dancing dots of Signac and Derain, or boldly stylized 20th-century orbs, the result can only be described as... dazzling.
Until 29 January, www.marmottan.fr

 


Photo: © Rijksmuseum

Beasts on the beat

"Musicanimale" is an exuberant and somewhat random menagerie celebrating the intersection between music and the animal kingdom. The A-to-Z presentation fails to impose any order whatsoever on the joyful cacophony (broadcast, thankfully, via earphones). Most hilarious: an operatic duet (purportedly by Rossini) composed entirely of passionate meows, and the folk song "Froggy went a-Courting" performed with a chorus of 300 gobbling turkeys. Don't miss the hidden cranny, filed mysteriously under the letter "D", with magical footage of humpback whales singing to each other as they perform a graceful underwater ballet.
Until 29 January, philharmoniedeparis.fr

 

 


Photo: © Dag Fosse / KODE

Munching out

Edvard Munch's angst-charged "The Scream" is one of the world's most iconic images. The new show at Musée d'Orsay delves into the Norwegian painter's long career, making sense of the symbolism, the brooding sensuality, the themes of death, disease, and despair, all rendered in audacious colors and an intense vibrato of radiating lines. Munch's unexpected starry-night and rising-sun scenes glow with a quirky, counterpointed, yet compelling beauty. Perhaps most fascinating: the jittery, quizzical "Self-Portrait with a Cigarette" that opens the show and the eerily sleek and strangely serene "Self-Portrait in Hell" that closes it.
Until 22 January, www.musee-orsay.fr

 

 


Photo: © Charles Fréger

Native sons

The Musée du Quai Branly is celebrating New Orleans's "Mardi Gras Indians," African Americans who parade through the city in lavishly decorated costumes inspired by Native American dress. The tradition is thought to date back to "Congo Square", where in the mid-18th century enslaved people who had Sundays off gathered to share music and dancing. The show explores the area's unique history, from the arrival of enslaved Africans during French rule, through the Louisiana Purchase, the Civil War, and the Hurricane Katrina disaster, underscoring the resilience and creative energy of the city's African American community.
4 October-15 January, www.quaibranly.fr

 

 


Photo: © Adagp, Paris, 2022

Foreign powers

The Musée de l'Immigration's show "Paris et nulle part ailleurs" celebrates two dozen influential foreign artists who worked in Paris between 1945 and 1972, including Wilfredo Lam (Cuba), Roberto Matta (Chile), Joan Mitchell (USA) and Victor Vasarely (Hungary), providing a powerful reminder of just how much immigrants have contributed to the city's art and culture. Fast-forward 50 years and take the pulse of foreign-born creativity in Paris today, at this autumn's "Festival visions d'exil," showcasing artists who have fled conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Ukraine.
"Paris et nulle part ailleurs," until 22 January, www.histoire-immigration.fr
"Festival visions d'exil," until 10 December, festival.aa-e.org

 

 


Photo: © Courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris

The ever-endearing Chéri

Congolese painter Chéri Samba's exuberant colors, glittery textures and comic-book-style captions convey an irrepressible joie de vivre, tempered with sly humor. Samba got his start as a painter of advertising posters. The new show "Stupéfaction" includes early canvases like the refreshingly juicy "Love and watermelon," plus several new creations. Most feature the artist himself, perhaps none as tellingly as the tongue-in-cheek "The old age of a man without sin": Samba's older self, complete with greyed hair and sagging skin, against a background dotted with sticky gold and silver stars recalling those awarded by Sunday-school teachers.
Until 23 October, www.magnin-a.com

 

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Mirror of the World: Masterpieces from the Dresden cabinet of curiosities, by Karen Marin

 

Wars are not all fought on the battlefield. From the 16th through 18th centuries European kings, princes, and sovereigns also sought to compete by collecting art, scientific instruments, objects from natural history (shells, fossils, skeletons), and artifacts found in faraway lands. The Prince-electors of Saxony, powerful rulers of one of the States of the Holy Roman Empire, accumulated one of the most prestigious collections of very rare and exotic pieces. This kind of collection is known as cabinets of curiosities (“cabinet” originally described a room) and were the precursors to the modern museum.

The Kunstkammer (art cabinet) of the Prince-electors in Dresden was one of the first to open to the public, allowing students, artists, scientists, traders, and inquisitive individuals to admire, study, and take inspiration from the items on display. Now the Musée du Luxembourg is hosting a curated selection of rare pieces on loan from the Dresden State Art Collection in the exhibit, Miroir du Monde.

It is an apt title, since looking through a mirror shows us a mirror image – the reverse of what is real – but also lets us reflect on ourselves and our diverse world. The curators of the exhibit take it a step further by inviting us to reflect on the fascination for possessing the rare and unusual while also taking into account the geopolitical and economic conditions of the time. Alongside the descriptive texts in each of the seven exhibit rooms, there are complementary texts called “The point of view of the museums,” which provide additional information, contemporary opinions, and intellectual challenges for the visitor to consider. Each room also showcases a modern artwork that illuminates the themes of the past.

The first room features 16th century globes, maps, and cartographic inventories. One of the globes was created just 50 years after Columbus discovered America; on another, the continents of America and Asia touch each other. In the second room, the visitor discovers natural wonders such as nautilus shells from the Pacific, porcelain from China, and Cocos de Mer nuts from the Seychelles. Collected on expeditions and often given as diplomatic gifts, it was believed that non-European naturalia had valuable magic powers.

The following room is devoted to carved ivory, a precious material that was highly appreciated for use in luxurious products, sourced from Africa, India, and the Ottoman Empire. Ivory was prized in the Chinese court from around the 18th century, and there is proof that carving machines from Europe were sent to China in what could be considered an 18th century scientific exchange.

Moving on, the fourth room exhibits several impressive pieces centered around nautilus shells embellished with silver, gold, and mother of pearl. I was particularly enchanted by a drinking vessel featuring a seahorse astride a shell, and a mobile centerpiece in which the shell forms the base of a ship that sits on four wheels, facilitating movement and placement on a table.

The last few rooms feature objects from South America, Africa, and what is known today as South East Asia. Artists frequently joined expeditions and their drawings and accounts of what they saw helped form the European vision of these countries. An entire room is dedicated to porcelain, which was referred to as “white gold.” Prince-elector Augustus the Strong (1670-1733) was an avid collector of Asian porcelain and was responsible for founding the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory in 1710. The exhibit ends with an impressive collection of treasures from the Ottoman Empire.

For anyone who is intrigued by oddities, by craftsmanship, by exploration, and history, this show will surprise and delight. It continues through 15 January, at the Musée du Luxembourg https://museeduluxembourg.fr.

 

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Announcements


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


ACP Picnic, 9 October, 12h15
Join us on the quay across from ACP at the grassy area, next to the children' playground and benches. Bring food, drink to share, or just bring yourself! Plates, cups, cutlery are provided. Celebrate our new members and gather as a community!


Women’s Monthly Sunday Bible Study:
2 October, 12h30-13h30 room F2 (1st floor). Praying Scripture is a study on verses and Biblical truths to help direct our paths and continue our walks in Christ. All women are welcome! Contact Teri Lee Valluy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register and for more information.


Women's Fellowship:
9 October 12h15-13h30 in the Thurber Room. Join us as we hear Pascale Deforge share a portion of her faith story. Please bring a snack to share if you are able. No pre-registration is required, all women welcome!


ACP Engagement Sunday, 16 October
Join us at our combined worship service at 11h and then stay after the service to find out how to share your gifts of time and talent by getting involved at ACP.  Jesus didn’t say worship me, he said follow me. Looking forward to seeing you there!


Art in the Sanctuary

With Les moires reflètent un miroir sans fond, Camille Bruat honors the American Church in Paris’s Art Nouveau stained-glass windows made in 1901 by Louis Comfort Tiffany. In relation to the sinuous, curved stained glasses and the changing colors of these windows, Bruat’s drawings take on a stark black contrast to the immaculate limestone of the walls. In an unceasing dialogue, they float – suspended in the alcoves of the church.

From 7 October – 7 December in the Sanctuary. Read more here: https://acparis.org/les-moires-refletent-un-miroir-sans-fond-camille-bruat


Thurber Lecture:
Thursday 13 October 19h30 in the Thurber Room and via Zoom. Dr. Reggie Williams will speak on “Politics of Jesus and the Christian State: What happens when Christianity becomes the national religion”. A light dinner will be served in the Thurber Room. Join us: Register for in-person and Zoom options at acparis.org/signups.


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


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


ACP Movie Discussion Group

Thursday, 20 October, at 19h30
On Zoom and/or in room G2

To see ahead of time in cinemas: Moonage Daydream, Sans filtre/Triangle of Sadness, Azor.

On Netflix: I Used to Be Famous, I Came By, Do Revenge

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


Tuesday Morning Women's Bible Study
Meets online weekly on Tuesdays 10h-12h. Please register at www.acparis.org/groups.


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

Youth and Young Adults activities

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

Young Adult Ministry (ages 18-30): ACP Young Adults group meets Tuesdays at 19h30. See Young Adults Ministry page or contactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. Follow our YA Group on Instagram here for the calendar and latest updates: @acp_ya.


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

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


Are you an electronic basket contactless bank card donor? Please note that the electronic offering baskets do not capture information to identify the donor. No worries, if you would like to have your electronic basket giving count toward your French tax receipt, please contact Lucy Jamin at /Users/alison/Documents/Spire%20Lite%20September%202022/This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can arrange a moment with Lucy to capture a code that will allow us to identify your card. It's quick and easy and we'd love to help you make all your donations count.


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

  • Nursery Volunteers: Urgent! In order for Kelsey Poe to welcome children into our nursery and toddler rooms at both the 11h and 14h services, we need many new volunteers! If you would like to serve, contact Kelsey Poe at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Ushers and Greeters needed: It takes a team of volunteers to welcome our Sunday congregants with love, and to help them feel connected and ready to worship together. Agnès and Julien, Chair and Co-chair of the Worship and Music Committee, welcome all who would like to join this precious group of leaders. Join the team at acparis.org/welcome&ushering or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.
  • Audio Visual Ministry: If you’d like to be a part of our worship tech and A/V team for both Sunday services, we welcome your help. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Children’s Worship: Contact Mala Moktar at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are an adult and interested in joining our Children's Worship leadership team.
  • 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..
  • Serve the City Paris: ACP’s sister association, FACCP, supports Serve the City-Paris, an NGO focused on helping asylum seekers, refugees, the homeless, and underprivileged foreigners in Paris, with the assistance of the ACP Mission Outreach Committee. This humanitarian group serves sandwiches and hot drinks three times a week: Tuesdays and Fridays at 9h30, and Saturdays at 10h. You are invited to join them at Jardin Albert-Schweitzer (75004). They also need instant coffee, tea, sugar cubes, sardines, packs of kleenex, and socks. Donations can be left at Reception during the weekdays.
  • Volunteer editor for The Spire: ACP's thriving monthly magazine The Spire is looking for a volunteer editor-in-chief. The ideal candidate or team is skilled at content planning, text layout, photo-editing, graphics design, copy-editing, and proofreading. The position requires a native English speaker with a good grasp of French, excellent writing skills, good interpersonal skills, and sharp attention to detail. Interested? Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

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Bloom Where You’re Planted

Saturday 8 October 2022

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

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

Tickets can be purchased online until 28 September

 

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

We are so excited to meet in person again!

What can you expect at the Bloom event?

Welcome to Bloom at the American Church in Paris!

Registration begins with Welcome Coffee & Croissants

Exhibit Halls are open the whole day

Meet over 50 social, service and business organizations

Enjoy a delicious lunch

Network with fellow participants and exhibitors

Informative presentations and conversation groups throughout the day

Author book signings

Take your time to make new friends

Reconnect with friends you haven’t seen for awhile

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

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

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

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