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01/14/2021

French Baptist Bicentenary

france,evangelicals,baptist churches,protestantism, sebastien fathDid you know that there were Baptist churches in France before Baptist churches started in Texas ?

Baptist beginnings trace back to 1820, with several Believer's baptisms in Nomain (North of France). One year after (1821), the first French Baptist congregation started in Aix, a very small village near Nomain.

Due to the current pandemia, French Baptists could not really mark this 200th Anniversary properly. However, this French Baptist bicentenary remains a significant step towards a more diverse French religious landscape.

As I did study this particular French Baptist history for my Ph.D (defended in Sorbonne EPHE in 1998), I've decided to review (and improve) an old Powerpoint presentation which explains the four steps of French Baptist implantation, from 1800s to 1950s.

Although this presentation is in french, the many pictures and sources may be of some interest to English-speaking lovers of Protestant History.

Link to download (the PDF file is BIG)

12/17/2020

French Evangelicals celebrate 10 years of CNEF

CNEF, Evangelicals, Protestantism, FranceDo you know the CNEF ? In French, it is Conseil National des Evangéliques de France (National Council of French Evangelicals).

Created 10 years ago after merging previous French Evangelical networks, this body represents at least 60% of the One Million French Evangelicals. It just celebrated its 10th Anniversary last tuesday.

From all France, more than 500 connected and registered. The French Interior Minister, Mr Gerald Darmanin, whished a "happy birthday" to all, through a taped video message.  

 

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12/10/2020

THe French weekly Réforme has got a new director

Sébastien Fath, Michael Langlois, ProtestantismeFounded in 1945, Réforme is the main French protestant weekly.

Notoriously very close to the French Presbyterian identity, rooted in the Huguenot past, Réforme has regularly struggled to widen its horizon.

Widen, enlarge, why ?

Why ? Because a weekly without new readers has no much future.

Réforme's main concern is the medium age of its readers: close to the retirement age-limit.

How to attract the new generations, which are impacted by Evangelicalism, but also Ecumenism and Secularism?

Nathalie Leenhardt, the former Réforme's director, did a great job maintaining Réforme's quality offer over the last years, which have been so challenging.

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12/03/2020

France and Covid19: fair treatment obtained for religions

france, state council, jean castex, french religions, freedom of worshipThe new suitable gauge for worship services (read blognote of last week) was unveiled yesterday (wednesday 2th of Dec, 2020) by the French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin. Based upon simple common sense, the new measures take into account the size of religious worship places.

This gauge was settled after consultation with the various French religious representatives, in order to put settle things in a fair and right way.

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11/26/2020

Covid19 in France: is "freedom of religion held hostage"?

Castex.jpgAmong French religious circles, many are currently debating about the way Jean Castex (French Prime Minister) and his government are dealing with Covid-19 restrictions. According to President Emmanuel Macron's last announcements, France will begin to ease its strict coronavirus restrictions this weekend, allowing "non-essential shops" to reopen.

French Supermarkets are already widely open, with no resctriction except respecting the mandatory safety precautions. French TGV and trains are also packed with people who share up to 4-5 hours together in a confined environment.

 

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11/12/2020

French documentaries on Billy Graham

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Billy Graham, "America's pastor", is a global figure. The example of France is revealing. Although France can't claim more than 3% of protestants (including 1 million of Evangelicals), Billy Graham has strongly impacted the country. 

This is why the French National TV Network "France 2" has devoted a very detailed documentary to Billy Graham. The first part has been released last sunday and can still be viewed for free here : 

Link

11/05/2020

Art of the steal: when it's time to return what belongs to Africa

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French museum are full of pieces inherited from Colonization.

Good news: President Macron (France)  and President Rajoelina (Madagascar) have agreed that a very precious royal item, belonging to the House of the last queen, Ranavalona III, would be given back to Madagascar today.

Crown surmounting the royal canopy of Queen Ranavalona III (raised as protestant), on display at the Musée de l’Armée de Paris,  is due to return to Antananarivo on November 5, 2020 for a simple loan before being definitively returned to Madagascar after the adoption of a law of exception by the French Parliament.

Having visited the Madagascar royal palace, I could not applaud more to this process of returning to Madagascar this cultural property, a symbol of Malagasy history.

Link

10/15/2020

Religion and Neonationalism in Europe (2020)

10.5771_9783748905059_big.pngHow do religions contribute to contemporary nation-building processes ?

Thanks to Florian Höhne, Torsten Meireis (Ed.), this impressive 2020 book sheds new light on the complex relationships between religion and (neo)nationalism.

The contributions to this volume analyse the complex relations between religious traditions, groups and ideas on the one hand, and (neo-)nationalism on the other. They do so on a conceptual level as well as with regard to concrete contexts and countries. They shed light on these relations from historical, sociological, theological and ethical perspectives, and contribute to the discourse on neo-nationalism, populism and public theology. While the first part of the book situates religion and (neo-)nationalism in a globalised world, the second puts the concepts of neo-nationalism, populism, religion in context. The third part presents different case studies (particularly from European countries), and the final part concludes with ethical and political perspectives.

Please notice that this book includes a significant contribution from Philippe Portier (EPHE, former GSRL director),

Philippe Portier, "Neo-Nationalism and Religion in France" (p.255 - 272).

Link

12/14/2015

A "must-"read": the French Virtual Museum of Protestantism

logo.pngDid you know that Luther’s ideas began to spread in France from 1520 onwards. The authorities did their best to oppose them. From 1540, under Jean Calvin’s influence, a new Church took shape, but separate from the Roman Catholic Church.

To know more, just click here (link), to reach the French-based Virtual Museum of Protestantism, an excellent website dedicated to spread scholarly information about Protestantism, France and worldwide.

Many sections are carefully crafted in English, so English-speaking readers have no excuse missing them!

Link.

04/22/2015

Evangelical churches in France: facts, figures & home truths (D. Buick)

paris.jpgAccording to a CNEF report published earlier this year, there are 1,600 more Evangelical churches in France than in 1970, according to the document, for a current total of over 2,000.

The CNEF survey also details progress in national coverage: 87 per cent of the country is now said to be within half an hour's drive of an evangelical congregation. Pastor David Buick's paper emphasizes the fact that there's a growing open-mindedness, too: many evangelical churches that aren't CNEF affiliates are included in the statistics.

To know more, read the rest of David Buick's paper here, written through pastor's lenses (link).

01/12/2015

Freedom of speech

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01/01/2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR !

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11/12/2014

Eurojihad Patterns of Islamist Radicalization and Terrorism in Europe

9781107437203.jpgEurojihad examines the sources of radicalization in Muslim communities in Europe and the responses of European governments and societies. In an effort to understand the scope and dynamics of Islamist extremism and terrorism in Europe, this book takes into account recent developments, in particular the emergence of Syria as a major destination of European jihadists. Angel Rabasa and Cheryl Benard describe the history, methods, and evolution of jihadist networks in Europe (including FRANCE) with particular nuance, providing a useful primer for the layperson and a sophisticated analysis for the expert.

Read more here (link to the publisher)

08/28/2014

A major comparative book on immigrant faith (Phillip Connor)

Canada, USA, Europe, immigration, migrants, immigrant faith, new york university press, book, religionIt is more than likely that the majority of religious attenders in the Paris area today do come from an immigrant background. Immigrant faith? It's not a footnote. It is a major aspect of contemporary religion!

Thanks to Phillip Connor, Immigrant Faith (NYU Press, 2014) is providing new comparative insights on this major topic.

It examines trends and patterns relating to religion in the lives of immigrants. The volume moves beyond specific studies of particular faiths in particular immigrant destinations to present the religious lives of immigrants in the United States, Canada, and Europe on a broad scale.

Religion is not merely one aspect among many in immigrant lives. Immigrant faith affects daily interactions, shapes the future of immigrants in their destination society, and influences society beyond the immigrants themselves. In other words, to understand immigrants, one must understand their faith.

Read more here (link).

07/02/2014

European Court of Human Rights upholds French full veil ban

_75960425_niqabindexgetty.jpgThe European Court of Human Rights has just upheld a ban by France on wearing the Muslim full-face veil - the niqab. A case was brought by a 24-year-old French woman, who argued that the ban on wearing the veil in public violated her freedom of religion and expression.

The court ruled that the ban "was not expressly based on the religious connotation of the clothing in question but solely on the fact that it concealed the face". The Strasbourg judges' decision is final - there is no appeal against it. From BBC Europe (more here, link).

05/30/2014

French Catholics more and more open to far-right National Front

france,catholicism,catholic church,far-right,national front,europe,european elections,religion and politicsIn last sunday's European elections, far-right National Front (FN) party has rattled the French political establishment by making very significant gains in local elections.

France's National Front stormed to victory: 25% (24 seats); Classical right UMP 21%; President Hollande's Socialists got a poor third with less than 14%.

For observers of the French religious scene, these elections have also signed the end of a lasting feature: French Catholic's tendency to boost Europe and to reject far-right National Front.

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05/27/2014

Muslims and Jews in France: History of a Conflict (2014)

 
k10137.gifMaud Mandel is associate professor of Judaic studies and history and director of the Program in Judaic Studies at Brown University. 

Her book traces the global, national, and local origins of the conflict between Muslims and Jews in France, challenging the belief that rising anti-Semitism in France is rooted solely in the unfolding crisis in Israel and Palestine. Maud Mandel shows how the conflict in fact emerged from processes internal to French society itself even as it was shaped by affairs elsewhere, particularly in North Africa during the era of decolonization.

To read more, click here (link).

05/22/2014

Regardsprotestants: Gateway into the French-speaking protestant world

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Better late than never: let's emphasize the great value of Regardsprotestants, a French-speaking website dedicated to news from a Protestant perspective. The Pastor Eugène Bersier Foundation, with the help of WordAppeal, has launched it at the beginning of 2013.

A unique and remarkable gateway into the French-speaking Protestant world, www.regardsprotestants.com unites content from about 60 French Protestant media (blogs, TV, press, radio, etc.). From society to faith, culture and international affairs, the website covers all topics that are making headlines around the world. This new website - completely free - is gaining a growing attendance. It is aimed at people of the Protestant faith, and more broadly, to anyone interested in religion. 

To know more, click here

05/19/2014

"Adopt a priest" : up-to-date French catholic fundraising

Catholic-dioceses-in-Norm-012.jpg"The Catholic church in France can't be accused of lacking a sense of humour. Six Catholic dioceses in Normandy have banded together to encourage the faithful to "adopt a priest" via an online video as part of their annual fundraising drive. The 48-second video, which has already been viewed more than 22,000 times since being launched last week, targets young donors with its parody of a popular French dating site, adopteunmec.com (adopt a guy)."

Read more here (from The GUARDIAN)

And link here to the video (link)

04/12/2014

Faith in Empire: Religion.. & Colonial Rule in French Senegal

41SQEHHT83L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg"Faith in Empire is an innovative exploration of French colonial rule in West Africa, conducted through the prism of religion and religious policy. Elizabeth Foster examines the relationships among French Catholic missionaries, colonial administrators, and Muslim, animist, and Christian Africans in colonial Senegal between 1880 and 1940. In doing so she illuminates the nature of the relationship between the French Third Republic and its colonies, reveals competing French visions of how to approach Africans..."

This Stanford University Press book published in 2013 has recently been reviewed in the French Studies quarterly (Oxford, link).

02/12/2014

"French evangelical networks before 1555: proto-churches?"

reformation,protestantism,france,jonathan reid,huguenots"Over eight hundred Reformed churches sprang into existence in France between 1555 and 1562. Their advent occurred after a thirty-five year period of buildup, during which evangelical doctrines gained adherents throughout the kingdom and local networks formed out of which those churches would coalesce. (..) why and how these conventicles grew and then suddenly metamorphosed into well-organized churches remains largely a mystery"

Thanks to Jonathan Reid, this mystery is solved now. In a Open edition full text version now available, let's read his contribution "French evangelical networks before 1555: proto-churches?", in Philip Benedict, Silvana Seidel Menchi & Alain Tallon (ed.), LA RÉFORME EN FRANCE ET EN ITALIE, Ecole Française de Rome, 2007 (p.105-124).

 

 

02/02/2014

Religion and Gay Marriage Opposition in France

jesus-avait-deux-papas.jpgA few months ago (may 2013), France became the 14th country in the world recognizing same sex marriage and child adoption by gay couple. 

Coordinated by the Centre for Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen, Religionfactor.net is analyzing for us "Religion and Gay Marriage Opposition in France" (link). 

01/31/2014

Blasphemy in Secular France

images.jpegIn the last years, Blasphemy has become one of the hot topics in French public debate.

Is it allowed, or not, to trash religions, deities, beliefs?

An interesting article has been rencently written on that matter by Diana Johnstone on counterpunch website. I do not agree with all of it, far from that.

Implying, for example, that Manuel Valls (French interior minister), "proclaims his own devotion to Israel, because his wife is Jewish", is just plain wrong!

However, Diana Johnstone's paper is a stimulating article and I recommand it for reading.

Link here.

01/11/2014

Dieudonné, controversial French comic: freedom of speech at stake?

_72019976_lead.jpgOne of the most gifted French contemporary stand-up comedian, Dieudonné M'bala M'bala is also the most controversial. His bizarre journey led him to be condemned several times for ugly antisemitic remarks. These days, he makes headlines because of his new show, Le Mur, which has been banned in many places.

This has stirred debate about freedom of speech. Where does it start, where does it stop?

To know more in English, let's praise the BBC website for a very good coverage, here, here and there.

01/04/2014

Religion and secularism in France: see FRANCE.FR

France, religion, secularism, laïcité (laicity), france.frThis blog should have advertised earlier about this website. But better late than never!

As 2014 just began, let's emphasize the great value of France.fr, officially launched in 2010.

France.fr is the multilingual website of reference about France, intended for the international general public. Religion and secularism topics are part of it, as one can check here (link).

12/30/2013

Religion and Culture (Michel Foucault), a new 2013 edition

france,religion,culture,michel foucault,book,routledge,jeremy r. carrette,university of stirlingMichel Foucault (1926-1984) was one of the most important French intellectual figures of the twentieth century. He is known for many significant writings, including The Archaeology of Knowledge (1969) and the first volume of The History of Sexuality (1976). More than enough to take a look with great interest at this new edition of Religion and Culture (Routledge, 2013).

The editor of this collection of texts and essays is Jeremy R. Carrette, formerly Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Stirling (a great city where I was fortunate to live for one year).

11/01/2013

Welcome to the World Religion Watch (French-based)

raphel liogier,bruno etienne,france,world religion watch,observatory for religious phenomenaNot always easy to have access in English to all French scholarly work!

Let's praise the The Observatory for Religious Phenomena (World Religion Watch) for its focus on providing resources in English. This French-based group was founded in 1992, within the framework of a research contract, under the guidance of Bruno Etienne, emeritus Professor at the Institute of Political Studies. It is now led by Professor Raphael Liogier.

After having obtained the status of "seed team", it has since acquired ongoing impetus as a widely acknowledged study group focusing on the sociology and political analysis of religious phenomena. Website here.

10/06/2013

An amazing South Sudan refugee's testimony published in France

south sudan,france,naomi baki,le cerf,sébastien fath,marie taurand,sophie porteil,gbaya,refugees,asylum status,islam,christianityThis is a book to remember. In Je suis encore vivante (transl, "Still Alive"), Mrs Naomi Baki, a young mother and refugee from South Sudan, shares a unique story of survival, from deep South Sudan to France, crossing Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Turkey and Greece, where she stayed for almost 10 years. This is a heart-wrenching story of redemption, from bondage (forced conversion into Islam), to freedom and full refugee status (10 years card residency) granted by France.

For historians, woman's right advocate, social activists, and every reader keen to learn a "bigger-than-life" story of Hope in the midst of persecution and misery, this amazing book (link) is a must-have.

Just edited by the French respected publisher Le Cerf (2013), with the much valuable help of Marie Taurand and Sophie Porteil, this book is not yet translated in English. But it will come! 

For being lucky enough to know the author, Mrs Baki, let's say she is also a wonderful and convincing speaker, particularly fluent in English (her mother tongue along with Gbaya, her tribal language).

10/02/2013

Regulating religion in Europe: a French author to read

jean-paul willaimeAs the French (and Canadian) debate is still quite polarized by "laïcité" (laicity) and the challenge of public regulation of religion, let's have a wider look and remind (among others) the works of Jean-Paul Willaime (link to his page).

A worldwide leading sociologist of religion, Director of studies at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE, Religious Studies section) and former president of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion (ISSR), visiting professor at the College of Europe, Dr Jean-Paul Willaime is always worth being read.

He has authored many articles in English, including "European Integration, Laïcité and Religion" (link).

09/06/2013

The burqa affair in Europe: a major comparative study

9781409470656.jpgIn recent years, the wearing of the full-face veil or burqa/niqab has proved a controversial issue in FRANCE and in many multi-cultural European societies. Focussing on the socio-legal and human rights angle, The Burqa Affair Across Europe (Ashgate, 2013), edited by Alessandro Ferrari and Sabrina Pastorelli (linked to my GSRL research team)  provides a useful comparative perspective on how the issue has been dealt with across a range of European states as well as at European institutional level.

In so doing, the work draws a theoretical framework for the place of religion between public and private space. With contributions from leading experts from law, sociology and politics, the book presents a comparative and interdisciplinary approach to one of the most contentious and symbolic issues of recent times. Link to the publisher's website.