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03/04/2021

Material Religion in France – a Short Genealogy

anouk cohen, cyril ismart, france, material religionIf the growing English-speaking litterature that has arisen in the recend decades aims at "materializing" or more precisely "re-materializing" the study of religious facts, in France, the dynamism of this approach has been remarkable through numerous publications over the past five years.

To know more, click here (link).

02/25/2021

Understanding 'laïcité', France's special brand of state secularism

Jean-Louis Bianco, Laicité, France

France's particular brand of secularism, known as "laïcité", is considered a backbone of the French Republic. And yet this separation of church and state is a touchy subject and often misunderstood. Its backers say it's the glue that lets the French live together in harmony despite their differences, but critics say it's anti-religious and increasingly used to stigmatise Muslims. So what exactly is "laïcité" and is it compatible with a modern multicultural society? Florence Villeminot and Genie Godula take a closer look in this episode of French Connections Plus. 

LINK TO THE VIDEO (FRANCE 24)

02/11/2021

A major book about the main French reformed church (ERF)

PkrMS01b-1.pngThis is the first work devoted to the history of the Reformed Church of France, from its rebirth in the 20th century on the ashes of the Concordant Church to the union between the Reformed and Lutherans in 2013.

This Reformed Church embodies a particular presence in the world, carried by a strong identity.

A must-read book édited by a prestigious publishing house, which hopefully may be translated in English, at least partially ! Congrats to the authors.

Link

01/28/2021

Law against "separatism": French freedoms at stake

Emmanuel-Macron-prononce-discours-separatismes-Mureaux-2-octobre-2020_0.jpgThe French national motto is Freedom, Equality, Fraternity.

Will the current French government remember its first word, "Freedom"?

As it is heading toward a new law targeting "separatism", concerns rise.

Lire la suite

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.  

 

Lire la suite

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.

Lire la suite

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.

 

Lire la suite

11/19/2020

Diffamation and reply : French pastor Samuel Peterschmitt strikes back

déf.jpg50 years ago, French Evangelicals were still shy sideliners. Today, as they reach 1 million of believers, it is not the case anymore. They have somehow become "mainline", not within French global socieyty, but at least within French protestantism.

An example among many is the open way French world champion Olivier Giroud (who already scored 44 goals for the French football national team) speaks about his Evangelical faith in many mainstream media.

This new visibility of French Evangelicals explains also why they do not hesitate to engage in public debate when they feel wrongly accused. A recent example can be found with Pastor Samuel Peterschmitt, leader of one of the 6 megachurches of continental France (the "Porte Ouverte Chrétienne" in Mulhouse, East of France).

Last february, his church became the scapegoat of Covid19 propagation. Many diffamatory comments lead this church, and his pastor, to be targeted.

Pastor Samuel Peterschmitt did not hide. After having received substantial backing from various circles (including the mainstream weekly Paris Match), Samuel Peterschmitt replied on solid ground, deconstructing the diffamatory accusations through a book which has just been released. Written with a mainstream journalist (from the weekly Marianne), the title is "La déferlante" (the flood), ed. Première Partie, 2020.

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

10/29/2020

Standing by Nice

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10/08/2020

Sunday schools movement in France: read Anne Ruolt

Stephen Orchard, John H. Y. Briggs,Thomas E Bergler, Anne Ruolt, GSRL, sunday school, Protestantism, Evangelicalism, France, bookSunday schools were first set up in the 18th century in Protestant England to provide education to working children. Since then, the movement spread worldwide. Some very insightful researches have been conducted.

For England, let's mention Stephen Orchard, John H. Y. Briggs, The Sunday School Movement : Studies in the Growth and Decline of Sunday Schools, Londres, Paternoster, 2007.

For the United-States, see (among others) Bergler, Thomas E. The Juvenilization of American Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2012.  

The French Protestant landscape has been also impacted early on by the Sunday school movement. Thanks to  (picture), who conducted several researches on Education and Protestantism, a very complete synthesis is available: Anne Ruolt, L’École du Dimanche en France au XIXe siècle, pour croître en sagesse et en grâce, collection religion – sciences humaines, Paris, l’Harmattan, 2012.

This book would largely deserve a translation. Dr Anne Ruolt, who recently defended successfully her habilitation thesis to supervise research,  is currently part of the GSRL research team (Paris, France).

10/30/2019

A major book on French religious minorities

9782227494855.jpgThis unprecedented work (1152p) has just been published in French (Bayard, 2019).

It brings together nearly 80 sociologists, ethnologists, anthropologists and historians.

It aims to provide a better understanding of the religious groups present in France and their recent development.
In a new approach, it offers a series of chapters each presenting in detail a religious group.

These religious "minorities" (including Catholicism) are grouped together by large denominational groups, which makes it possible to grasp the internal diversity of each of these.

Directed by Anne-Laure Zwilling, this remarkable synthesis should definitely be translated in English!

Link (in French)

02/25/2016

Amazing teaching tool: everything about JAPAN in 9 minutes

Lacking time ? Looking for a speedy teaching about Japanese History ?

There it is ! This excellent Youtube video will do the trick. Bill Wurtz surveys the Land of the Rising Sun's entire past during a colorful, funny 9-minute lecture. Budhism, Samuraïs, diplomatic history, rice culture, World wars I and II, Hiroshima bomb, post-war Economic miracle are all covered. Hopes some day French History may be covered with such speed and intelligence!

The 300.000 Evangelicals in Japan are not mentioned, though. For those who want to know about this sub-chapter of Japanese religious History, click here (link).

Here is the video:

12/20/2015

Pictures from Field work in DR Congo and Burkina Faso

africa, france, dr congo, kinshasa, ouagadougou, burkina faso, evangelicalsToo busy! This is the main reason why this blog has not been fed as expected in this year 2015. There is another reason however: my research has been directed more and more towards the French-speaking transnational territories between France and Africa. Here are some insights from my recent field studies in Congo DR and Burkina Faso (Ouagadougou):

Field in Congo DR (Kinshasa), Flickr Album here (link), september 2015

Field in Burkina Faso (Ouagadougou), Flickr Album here (link), nov-december 2015

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.

11/13/2015

PARIS, 13th of November, 2015

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11/01/2015

New Christianities explored in Afrique Contemporaine

E_AFCO_252_H310.jpgEdited by the Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency), the quarterly journal Afrique Contemporaine makes available the analyses and opinions of researchers and specialists on the evolution of the African continent with a view towards sustainable development.

 

It has been an honour for me to lead a special issue, with my colleague Dr Cedric Mayrargue, about NEW CHRISTIANITIES in Africa (mostly Evangelicals).

 

This edition (n°252) has been released in July 2015, whith a rich content (related to Congo, South Sudan, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia etc.).

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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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)

07/22/2014

France: anti-semitic violence at pro-Palestinian rally

france, religion, islam, judaism in france, antisemitism, sarcellesIn the first three months of 2014, Reuters reminds us that more Jews left France for Israel than at any other time since the Jewish state was created in 1948, citing economic hardships in France's stagnating economy but also rising anti-Semitism as a factor.

The riots in Sarcelles (northern subburbs of Paris) on the 20th of July, 2014 won't curb the trend: jewish shops and a synagogue were deliberatly targeted by Muslim protesters who were supposed to demonstrate for Palestine. The French government reacted very strongly, as Reuters reports 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.

Lire la suite

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)

05/14/2014

Legacy of a bold and talented French photojournalist

camille lepage, sébastien Fath"The French government has confirmed the death of Camille Lepage, a 26-year -old photojournalist working in the Central African Republic. The country is wracked with political instability,  resulting in widespread violence, internal displacement and sectarian tension. Her body was found by French peacekeeping troops on May 13, 2014." (click here to read more)

Camille Lepage was not only a very talented and bold young photojournalist (published by Time Magazine, The New York Times etc). She was also powerfully advocating for left-behind countries and people, especially South Sudan where she found home in JUBA for 2 years.  

To discover her brilliant work, click here http://camille-lepage.photoshelter.com/