After several months in the making, I am delighted to announce the first twinning arrangement between Lansdowne Church and Eglise Evangélique Libre de Lyon.
Frédéric Sépari and Sylvain Guiton are the pastors of the church with which the Partners An. & Sa are actively involved.
A personal visit last year to the An. & Sa, sparked in my imagination the possibilities of setting up a gospel partnership between our churches.
This will enhance our relationship with the An. & Sa themselves and enable us to understand better the scope of their ministry. It will also enlarge our understanding of the church in France, Lyon in particular.
I am a great believer in the value of big maps which show us just how wide, diverse and exciting is the global Aim of the Church.
Over the coming months we are going to build our relationships with the church in Lyon which is itself one of the largest and fastest growing Evangelical Churches in that region of France.
Practically we will exchange monthly prayer information that will be feed into several of our Communication Channels: E News, Prayer Central, website.
Our aim is to have a Skype conversation in our Sunday service during the New Year. We have also begun to talk with the leadership there about sending a Team to them in 2016.
I have spoken to and emailed Frédéric. His English is much better than my French! He was converted to Christ under the Ministry All Souls Langham Place in the 1980’s. He is married with children and has been the Senior Pastor in Lyon for a number of years.
I think this concept of a gospel partnership, Church to Church, country to country carries huge potential for us to support the gospel in a strategic city in Europe.
The recent terrorist attacks in Paris far from intimidating Christians and silencing the French Evangelical Church have actually emboldened it. The evil of Jihadism is creating many opportunities for conversations about the glory of Jesus.
In fact at a recent Baptismal service in the church, 340 adults packed the event, 100 more adults than normal. Many of them, like others right across France, wrestling with the profound questions raised by this violent expression of religious faith in the name of God.
Read the attached prayer digest for an up to date picture of some of the issues the Church is facing. We have left the language as it is – authentically Franglaise therefore! We will not try writing in French, unless there is a fluent French writer available once a month to be an amanuensis (that is Latin by the way, a language with which I am much more comfortable!!!?).
May the Lord bless this growing partnership to enlarge our vision and deepen our faith.
In His grace, serving the gospel together