Archive for the ‘France’ category

Megachurches in France

April 6, 2011

Sebastien Fath, French researcher and academic, presented a paper at last August’s Association for the Sociology of Religion in Atlanta, GA, in which he discusses four French megachurches (a church of over 2,000 members). These pentecostal or charismatic churches are described against a backdrop of just under an estimated 2 million French Protestants.  Characterised by their’vigourous worship’ three of these Churches are located in the Paris region, Rencontre Espérance, Paris Centre Chrétien andCharisma Église Chrétienne, with a fourth, Porte Ouverte Chrétienne, located in Mulhouse, Alsace.

On top of these another 30 churches are approaching memberships of 1,000. The better known from among these include the Evangelical Church of Sarcelles, the Evangelical Center Philadelphia, the Communauté Amour et Vérité and the Pentecostal EvangelicalChurch in Lyon. Other congregations founded as recently as the 1990s and 2000s now number several hundreds. These include the Baptist church of Honfleur(Normandy), the Centre du Réveil Chrétien (Paris), the evangelical congregation of La Défense (Paris), the Impact Centre Chrétien (Ivry-sur-Seine) and Hillsong (Paris).

French Roman Catholics are taking note of the megachurch phenomenon. Bishop Dominique Rey (Fréjus-Toulon) authorised a visit studying US megachurches in 2006. The Roman Catholic church of St Thomas (Sarcelles), sees 10,000 Chaldean rite Catholics celebrate mass at one of seven masses per week. Not quite a megachurch, this Roman Catholic congregation is not far behind.

One wonders what the secular philosopher J.P. Sartre would make of this renewal of Christian faith in the land of laïcité.

Fath’s paper can be downloaded from:

New Baptist church in Rouen facing challenges

January 21, 2011

The Incarnate Network reports on the work of Reuben and Katie Martin (with their three children, Naomi, Rebekah & Benjamin) working with BMS World Mission in Rouen. They have been working in a tough and challenging urban environment since 2007 and this short three minute video outlines some of the challenges and their reflections on their experiences to date. Here, Reuben honestly talks about the real challenges they’ve had to deal with.

Reuben and Katy’s experience in Rouen builds on almost six years of church planting experience in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik.

You can watch the video by following this link.

French cultural exchanges and Christian mission

September 13, 2010

A colleague working for the Church Mission Society, Sas Conradie, reports on an exchange visit from his home town of Uckfield to its French twin town near Dieppe and reflects on the value of such trips for Christian mission in Europe.

“We visited the twin town of Uckfield (our home town in East Sussex) near Dieppe as part of a group of our town’s twinning association. Dieppe’s international kite festival started on Saturday, so we were able to see that as well. This was definitely one of the most wonderful weekends we had for a very long time. It is still strange to think that one can get off a ferry at 4am on a Saturday in a place one has only seen on a map, staying with people one has never even heard about and then leave 36 hours later as good friends having becoming part of their community as well. We stayed with the French sales manager of a Nestle subsidiary that has their headquarters near Dieppe. He is managing about 2,800 sales people across France. It was fascinating to hear him talk about business approaches in different parts of the France. These say so much about the different cultures in France. For example in the north, you can take somebody at their word without them even writing it down. In the southeast near Nice and Cannes, ten signatures on a document still mean nothing because people might do the opposite. People near the German border want to have their own business representatives because they do not trust anybody else. I’ve never been involved in mission in France, but I thought that we can learn much from this new friend of ours in how to engage in mission in different parts of France. I will definitely stay in touch with him.

The visit also showed just again the importance of Christians participating in these town twinning initiatives. We witnessed in France as part of who we are and not as part of a specific outreach. I think we need to encourage this more. The new friendships (in Arques and also the ones with the Uckfield group) are the experiences that we will most cherish in future. The spectacular kite festival and even the visit to the Commonwealth War Cemetery (which was very special to me as a South African) were just the cherries on the cake.”

How important is religion to you?

September 9, 2010

At the end of August, Gallup released news of a 2009 survey examining the importance of religion for the population of 114 countries, based on telephone and face-to-face interviews. The global average for those who said that religion was important in their daily lives was 84% but this number dipped as low as Estonia (16%) and as high as Italy (72%) in Europe. Other European countries in the survey polled as follows: United Kingdom (27%) and 109th in the list of 114 countries. Denmark and Sweden were lower than the UK whilst France (30%), Germany (40%) and Spain (49%) were higher.

Further statistical  information and the Gallup press release are available by clicking here.

British Missionaries across Europe – 1951

August 19, 2010

A copy of Missionary Informer: A survey of British Missionary Activity has recently crossed my desk. It was published from a survey of British Missionary Societies in 1951 and lists missionaries by continent. The survey reveals that there were 103 British missionaries serving with missionary societies in continental Europe. The greater number of these were working in Spain (29), France (23), Malta (14), Germany (6), followed by Belgium, France, Portugal and Switzerland (each with 5) . The ratio of missionaries to nationals was calculated. Malta had one British missionary for every 22,000 Maltese nationals whilst in Italy there was only one missionary per 9,199,000 Italians.

The survey only counted protestant missionaries and probably didn’t include chaplains serving Anglican congregations and chaplaincies (serving for example with the Intercontinental Society or with the Diocese of Europe). It did include missionaries working with the Glynn Vivian Miners’ Mission (in France, Germany and Spain) and one missionary in Yugoslavia with the Barbican Mission to the Jews.

A pdf copy of the 8 page report can be downloaded by clicking here: Missionary Informer 1951 British Missionary activity