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Taybeh An appeal for peace

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A quarterly magazine FOI No.39 - December 2013 - January - February 2014 - 5,50 â‚Ź

a Special report

n o i n u m m co o t t c i fl From con

VIE Contents


Editorial by Fr Laurent FABRE Special Report



An appeal for peace in the Holy Land




Christian training


Youth Pages

14 • 500 years of the Reformation 16 • Orthodoxy: Advent Liturgy 18 • Prayer

20 • Bible: Night time: Light of the Word? 22 • Charismatic life in a parish 24 • Interview. Jeroen von Geusau

26 • The ‘Concert of Praise’ Phenomenon 28 • Testimonies


Life in the Community


Young Talent

30 • Congo Kinshasa: A great story in prospect! 32 • A world tour: Destination the Philippines 34 • Christmas: Present ideas

35 • Arthus Viaud

FOI magazine (FraternitéOecuménique Internationale, International Ecumenical Fraternity) is published by the Chemin Neuf Community, 10 rue Henri IV, 69287 Lyon Cedex 02, France Publication director: P. Laurent Fabre, Executive director: Jean-Charles Paté, Editor in chief: Pascale Paté, Editorial committee: Franck Démaret, Marie Farouza Maximos, Fr. François Lestang, Isabelle Rambert, Fr Gabriel Roussineau, Fr Adam Strojny. Graphic design: Annick Vermot (06 98 61 98 76), Photo credits: CCN, Martin Steiner,, Andres Rodriguez, kasiap, herreneck, Eisenhans, kevron2001, Alexander Zam Subscriptions: Nicole Zébrowski, Administration-Management: AME, Production: Sandrine Laroche, Bruna Atallah (Cover) Printing: IML - 69850, St Martin en Haut - Printed on paper from sustainably managed forests, PEFC certified, Registration of copyright: December 2010, CPPAP : 0310 G 83338, ISSN : 1770-5436


FOI • N°39 • December 2013 - January - February 2014



he absolute duty of welcoming a stranger is a theme which is very dear to the Old Testament, and one which is taken up in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Heb ch 13 v 2), which goes as far as to stress ‘Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.’ Unfortunately, the strangers we welcome into our cities are not all angels. How should we react? What solutions can be found to a problem which is so difficult at every level – social, cultural, economic, political…?

 Father Laurent FaBRE Founder and leader of the Chemin Neuf Community

The little West Bank town of Taybeh is like a beacon of hope, a light which shines into the gloom of relations between Christians and Muslims. However, in 2005 this village was the victim of a pogrom, when a 23 year old Muslim became pregnant. She lived in the neighbouring village of Deir Jarir, but was employed in Taybeh in a clothing workshop owned by a Christian. On 31 August 2005 she was found dead, having been poisoned. It was later established that she was the victim of an ‘honour killing’, poisoned by members of her family. In the interim, the villagers of Deir Jarir accused those of Taybeh and filled the streets there for two days, burning down the homes of members of the employer’s family, while the Israeli police did nothing to intervene. For its part, and despite demands to the authorities by the US Consul to facilitate their passage, the Palestinian police were delayed by having to negotiate several checkpoints. The situation calmed down thanks to the intervention of the local Christian religious authorities and the advice of the elders of both villages.



n its December edition:

• the magazine PRIER [Prayer] contains a special Christmas feature with the Chemin Neuf Community. Vente en ligne sur

• 5,50€ le numéro • 22€ Abonnement 1 an

In fact, the village of Taybeh has been Christian since the earliest days of the Church. It would also seem that, listening to and watching the most recent Net for Gold film, the Gospel is bringing forth its usual fruits of Reconciliation, Peace and Love for the stranger. Muslims are very well received in the village’s Christian schools. In brief, these Palestinian Christians give us reason to hope against all hope. The real reason for this success is to be found in this strange word ‘disappropriation’, so often used by Maurice Zundel. For this mystic theologian and prophet, the mystery of God is an infinite disappropriation. Giving – radical giving – is at the heart of the Trinity. God gives everything! He gives his Son and his Son gives himself. In their turn, Christians are invited to enter into this folly of sharing which begets Peace. « Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. » Psaume 85 (84).

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6 9


Presented by Father Raed


Being a Christian in Palestine

11 12 4


A pioneering example


Ecumenism in Taybeh

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special report


a light on the Palestinian mountain

Reconstitution du village d’Ars à l’époque de J-M Vianney

« Jesus withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples. » (John 11:54)

This short verse from John’s gospel leads us to believe that Jesus had friends in this place, that he was welcomed there and that he could withdraw there before going up to Jerusalem to face his passion. From then on, the vocation of the town of Ephraim, now known as Taybeh, was decided. Today, Net for God is setting out to meet Father Raed, the parish priest of Taybeh, a village that is particularly committed to working for peace, in spite of all the difficulties that its inhabitants encounter. This special report has been written as a collaboration between Sylvère Lang, the director of the film, the Net for God team and FOI magazine. Each month, a film is produced, translated and sent to 72 countries throughout the world. A network of prayer has been created through this, the NET FOR GOD International Ecumenical Community (www. A DVD of this film can be purchased from

FOI • N°39 • December 2013 - January - February 2014


Taybeh High in the hills of Judah between the desert of Judah to the east and the arable zone to the west, Taybeh is a Palestinian village in the occupied territories, 30 km north east of Jerusalem. Photographs: 1. The Roman Catholic parish of Taybeh, 2. Fr. Raed Abu Sahlieh, former parish priest of Taybeh, 3. The baptistry, St George’s church (4th century) 4. Children from the Catholic school in Taybeh.




Tel Aviv


Jérusalem Bande de GAZA



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Net for God: Taybeh is surrounded by sixteen Muslim villages and several Jewish settlements. These are always taking more land and monopolise the ancestral water sources. The population of Taybeh is made up entirely of Palestinian Arab Christians of the Byzantine, Orthodox and Roman rites. Fr. Raed Abu Sahlieh: “Jesus came here before his passion to prepare himself to bring about the mystery of redemption. Since then, the people of the village are proud to say that they were evangelised by Jesus Christ himself and by his disciples. At present it is the only village in the Holy Land which is entirely Christian. There are some very important archaeological sites in this village such as the Byzantine church of St.

special report



1 4 George from the 14th century. For me, the most important thing is the baptistry of this church, which is proof that our ancestors in the faith were baptised here. It was Saladin who gave the village its name as he was passing through. He came here in 1187 on his way to conquer Jerusalem because there was a crusader castle here. There was no battle and he was very well received by the people. He asked what the name of the village was, and they said it was ‘Ofra’. ‘Ofra’ is an Arabic form of ‘Ephraim’. But this name also has a negative meaning, it means ‘dusty’ or ‘devil’. He said to himself that people who were so generous and kind should not have a name like that, and this is why he changed the name

of the village from Ofra-Ephraim to Taybeh which means ‘good’ and ‘delicious’. In 1898, Charles de Foucauld came here. He wrote a commentary which he called ‘Ephraim retreat’. It is a 127 page commentary on the mystery of redemption. ‘Lord, I am here and I am listening with your disciples. It seems to me that what you are saying is, «These ten days that I am going to spend at Ephraim are the last days of retreat and solitude of my life. So I am going to spend them strengthening you before my passion”.’ Fr. Raed Abu Sahlieh: Our pastoral mission at Taybeh, like that of the whole Latin Patriarchate, is founded

on two pillars: the church in the centre and next to it, the school, because we believe that education in the faith is passed on through the school. There are 470 pupils in our school, mostly children from the village but about a third are Muslims coming from neighbouring villages. It is very important for us to have Muslims in both our private and parochial Catholic schools because we believe that if they have studied together as children, they will be able to work together as adults. It is an education in peaceful coexistence in a mixed society like ours, where we have lived together for fourteen centuries. We have no choice other than to live together for ever. Even with Muslims in the school,

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the day begins with reading the Gospel, prayer, and of course the national anthem, and our Muslim brothers and sisters listen with respect. At the same time we respect others; even if there is just one Muslim pupil in a school, this pupil has the right to a Muslim religious education. In this case, the Christian children go with their

catechist and the Muslim children go with their religion teacher. We have also introduced a religious hour where Christians and Muslims are together with their religion teacher to get to know each other because one of the goals of our Catholic education is to facilitate mutual understanding. In every room in the school, there is

a cross. There is no question about whether or not there should be signs and religious symbols in schools. It is not like the schools in France or in Europe where everything must be secularised; here everything is mixed together: social and personal life, religious life and even political life, are all one thing.”

Israel - Palestine... The origin of the conflict

1897 : the Basle Congress

The first Zionist congress took place in Basle in Switzerland from 29 to 31 August 1897, a year after the publication of The Jewish State, a book by the journalist Theodor Herzl, in which he noted the impossibility of the assimilation of Jews and recommended the establishment of a national territory as a solution to the Jewish question.

1917 : the Balfour declaration

On 2 November, Arthur Balfour, the British foreign minister stated that, “His Majesty’s government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object.” One month later, the British army occupied Palestine.

1920 : the british mandate

On 24 April 1920, the San Remo International Conference decided to make Palestine a British mandate, and to allow the establishment and development of a Jewish national home. The government was also to facilitate Jewish immigration.

1936 : the Great palestinian Revolt

LThe confrontations between the Palestinians on the one hand, and the British and the immigrants on the other, provoked an armed revolt which inflamed the whole of Palestine for three years. This ended in failure for the Palestinians and strengthened the Zionist movement which led to far-reaching consequences. In 1939, the British put forward a third White Paper, which limited Jewish immigration and promised the establishment of a Palestinian state within ten years.


1942 : the Baltimore conference

The conference of American Zionists, held in New York, confirmed radical opposition by the Zionist movement to the British White Paper, demanded immediate unlimited immigration and the formation of an autonomous Jewish army.

1947 : the plan for partition

In anticipation of the end of the British mandate, the UN adopted Resolution 181 on 29 November 1947, which proposed the partition of Palestine into three zones, two states, one Jewish, the other Arab, and a zone under international control, consisting of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The plan was rejected by the Palestinians and by all the Arab countries.

1948 : the State of Israel

In April 1948, armed Jewish forces occupied territory assigned to the Arab state in the partition plan, and expelled the inhabitants. David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the creation of the state of Israel on 14 May 1948, which was immediately recognised by the United States and the Soviet Union. The following day, the Arab armies declared war and were quickly defeated, resulting in an exodus of the Palestinians.

1949 : the Rhodes accords

Israel takes up 78% of the mandated territory of Palestine and becomes a member of the UN. Ben Gurion announces the transfer of the capital to West Jerusalem.

1950 : the annexation of the West Bank

by Jordan; the Gaza strip is put under Egyptian administration.

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1956 : SUEZ WAR and deployment of UN troops in Sinai.

1964 : the creation of the PLO, at the

initiative of Nasser at the first summit of Arab Heads of State. Under the chairmanship of Ahmad Choukeiri, the PLO regards the partition of Palestine and the creation of Israel as illegal decisions. Since then, the region has been the principal scene of Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. It has seen more than ten wars or major civil insurrections: the six day war (1967), the Yom Kippur war (1973), the war in Lebanon (1982), the first Intifada (1988), the second Intifada (2000-2005), the Israeli-Lebanese conflict (2006), the Gaza war of 20082009 and the operation of 2012.

special report Christians in Palestine NFG: Areen and Maureen help their parents in the village grocer’s shop. At the same time, they pursue their studies at the university in the neighbouring city of Ramallah. Areen Maouddi: “I have a Muslim friend that I’ve known for 12 years and if God wills it, we will continue together at university. As Palestinian women, even with different religions, we live together in peace.”

on 13 september 1993, in Washington, following the Oslo accords, there was mutual recognition between the PLO and Israel.

in october 2011, Palestine becomes a member of UNESCO.

november 2012, the State of

Palestine is admitted to the UN as a non-member with observer status.

Maureen M.: “To get into university, you need money, patience and a lot of determination. I need most of all to have a calm mind and to be serene, because before I can go into the lecture hall I have to go through road blocks and cross borders, because of the Israeli occupation. I wait for long hours, in huge queues, I have to accept very harsh words and keep my mouth shut. This is why you really have to have a strong will to study.” Areen: “You really have to be able to fight; and to want to fight. Even so, what we want, and what we need is not so very much. We just want the minimum to live a normal life, that’s all, and we need security. We want to live like humans, not like animals.” Fr. Raed Abu Sahlieh: “You will have seen how Taybeh is surrounded by three settlements, Rimounim, Ofra and a new settlement called Hamouna. These three settlements are built on land owned by the inhabitants of Taybeh. The Israelis settled there under a military order, for security reasons. They moved in and enclosed themselves on the heights, in these three settlements. Unfortunately the people of Taybeh can’t do anything about it. Here in the occupied terri-



tories of Palestine, as Christians we either have to deal with the Israeli soldiers who humiliate us at the military check points or with the settlers who live on the mountain heights. So we have the problem of confiscated land, the problem of freedom of movement and the problem of water.” Hilda Zayed: “The children in the settlements play with water, and yet here in Taybeh there is not enough water to drink. It is very difficult in the summer because it’s very hot and there is not enough water to wash with or to drink or to cook.” Fr. Raed Abu Sahlieh: “Our appeal on this political question is very simple. First of all this occupation must end as soon as possible and for good because there is not a people in the world that could accept living under occupation forever, and there is no military force in the world that could control the will of a people who demand their freedom. Our second appeal is that Jerusalem, especially the holy places, should be open to everyone in time of peace and war. Israelis and Palestinians have used every form of violence and non-violence in order to resolve this conflict. After a century, we are back to square one. So I say, ‘We must

FOI • N°39 • December 2013 - January - February 2014


pray, we must ask the Lord himself for the grace of peace in the Holy Land.’ This is why we have proposed putting a lamp for peace in every church throughout world, with two conditions - the first is to pray for the Holy Land; the second is to use oil from the Holy Land to light it. And so the lamp, the oil and the light become a message of peace as well as a sign of solidarity. At Easter this year, we reached 80,000 churches. Each year we make 20,000 doves which fly like little birds to the four corners of the earth. Our strategy is this; we will continue to make lamps for peace until we have peace in the Holy Land. Taybeh has become very important as a place to welcome pilgrims, because it is a biblical village with ancient sites to visit, a hospitality structure and a Christian community.


We have cried out to the world, ‘Come. Don’t just visit the holy places which are very important but visit a Christian community as well... Celebrate Sunday Mass with them, listen to their stories, eat with them and discover that in the Holy Land there are also Christians who are Arabs and Palestinians’.” Areen: “Christ gave us the strength to resist so that we can live here. We are inhabitants of Christ’s homeland, the Holy Land and we trust Him. We are never going to leave, because we are Christians, in the country of Jesus.” Maureen : “We are proud that we live in this country, to have been from this country since its origin. Christ was born and lived in Palestine, he spent time in Taybeh, our village. He walked in our land and we are walking in his footsteps.”

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Fr. Raed Abu Sahlieh: “In the Gospel, Ephraim is a place of rest, of prayer and for reflection and big decisions. Ephraim exists everywhere, in the heart of every human being. So when we have problems, big decisions to take, we come back to our heart, in our own Ephraim. This is why I say to all pilgrims that I really hope their pilgrimage to the Holy Land can be their Ephraim. If not, they are wasting their time.”

special report A pioneering example Fr. Raed Abu Sahlieh: “The only house for old people that we have in Jerusalem, the house of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows, has been blocked off by the wall. The wall was built 10 metres from the entrance. So the old people from the occupied territories can no longer go to Jerusalem. We have built a house for old people; this house was an immediate response to the wall of separation. We built this house in ten months and it has been in use for eight years. It was built like a palace, a very beautiful house with lovely gardens. These old people had suffered so much during their lifetimes that they deserve to end their lives with dignity. This is why our principle is to treat them like kings and queens. They should be well housed, well fed, praying and living as a family. They should not feel as though they are being pushed aside or abandoned. On the contrary, even the children from the school and the parish come from time to time to celebrate Mass, to sing and to provide a programme of entertainment. It is very important for both the old and the young people.” Anna Garcia : “The thing that struck me since I arrived is the way in which the Palestinians welcome us. It’s really impressive, the way they look after us. They share their culture and their tradition with such joy. We learn a lot through being with them.”

Fr. Raed Abu Sahlieh: “The whole house was laid out in the shape of a dove. The head is the church; the tail is the administration, the management and the clinic; the body is all the service departments. There is one wing for the women, and another for the men; everything points east and west; we say that our declared aim is to bring everyone to heaven. I mean later, not now, of course!

“The strength of these people is their creativity in dealing with difficult situations (…) It is a pioneering example for other Palestinian villages”

After eight years of experience, I have noticed that these elderly people are very tired as they reach the end of their lives, yet even so they can still keep going for one, two, three or even more years because they are very well cared for in this house. The strength of these people is their creativity. They always manage to find solutions, alternative, creative solutions, to deal with all the difficult situations they are faced with. It is a pioneering example for other Palestinian villages and for the world. These people want to live life to the full. Eight years ago, we launched the “Taybeh Oktoberfest” beer festival, since they make the Taybeh Beer brand of beer here. You will find 15,000 people here on the first weekend of October. Why? Because they can see that this is a peaceful, calm village; it’s wonderful. These activities are a means of expressing the will to stand firm and remain in this country in a positive manner.” In order to order a dove of peace and support the Christians of Taybeh, contact: Photographs, from top to bottom: The old people’s home in Taybeh; The house of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows, blocked by the wall; Oktoberfest in Taybeh.

FOI • N°39 • December 2013 - January - February 2014


Ecumenism in Taybeh NFG: The village has a population of 1300, broken down into three communities, the Greek Orthodox church, The Catholic Greek-Melkite church and the Latin rite Catholic church. Fr. Jack Abed, Greek Melkite: “Ecumenism at Taybeh began in 1990 with Father Boutros Slimane, who was the priest of the Latin parish. We asked the Orthodox priest to switch the date of Easter from the Gregorian (Orthodox) calendar to the Julian (Latin) calendar. Initially opposed to the idea, he then changed his mind for the benefit of the Christians of Taybeh. Since then, we have the Passion Sunday procession together. We do a lot of things together with the Greek Orthodox, Latin and Greek-Melkite priests for the benefit of the faithful of Taybeh. Let’s hope that one day, there will be genuine ecumenism not just in Taybeh, but throughout the whole world.” Fr. Raed Abu Sahlieh: “We have even celebrated Christmas and Easter on the same day for over thirty years now by making a very simple compromise. The Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on 25 December with us, and we celebrate Easter with the Orthodox Christians using the eastern calendar.” Fr. David P. Khoury, Orthodox Church: “We have three churches and three priests; we work together for unity, to do the right thing for our young people, our faithful and our communities. We pray without ceasing for the Lord to help us to overcome all the crises which we are facing in this village. Thanks be to God for everything.”


Fr. Raed Abu Sahlieh: “A particular feature of this church is that it has a youth choir, whose members range from 10 to 20 years of age. They sing very well, not as well as the Vatican choir, but almost...” Sister Leonie, the Choir Mistress in Taybeh: “The choir has a spiritual mission in the Church through singing. It worships the Lord with beautiful voices. It helps the faithful to pray, it proclaims the word of God. The youth of the parish of Taybeh have a sense of belonging to their village and to their Church.” Fr. Raed Abu Sahlieh: “We even launched the ‘music for peace’ initiative with a French artiste who wanted to produce a collection of songs for peace from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions. We recorded the CD called ‘d’une seule voix’ (with one voice). Following the CD’s huge success in France, we did a tour of 15 French towns with Christian, Jewish and Muslim children, Palestinians and Israelis together. Nermeen Faysal Jasser, a member of the Taybeh choir: “Peace is not an easy word, it’s a real problem, but we have to do our best, and this, this is a matter for the two sides, the Palestinians and the Jews.” NFG : Do you believe that it is possible? Nermeen Faysal Jasser, a member of the Taybeh choir: “I don’t think so. I’ve put the question to Jews and they say that it isn’t possible. So if they say that it isn’t possible... it won’t be possible. So we have to get to the root of

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the problem. And we need the whole world to help us... We are human beings just like everybody else, we’re not a different species.” Fr. Raed Abu Sahlieh: “I believe that we must encourage every initiative that can help people to approach one another, to work together. Let’s hope that one day they can all make peace together in the Holy Land.” v Photographs, from top to bottom: Fr. David P. Khoury, of the Orthodox Church - Fr. Jack Abel, of the Greek Melkite Church – The Taybeh Choir.

special report To go further... BIBLIOGRAPHY Une histoire moderne d’Israël (A modern history of Israel), Eli BARNAVI, (available in French but not in English), Flammarion, coll. « Champs », 1998.

The former Israeli ambassador in Paris and an advocate for peace, the author took part directly in the negotiations with the Palestinians in Oslo. A very thoughtful work by a historian.

Israël-Palestine, vérités sur un conflit (IsraelPalestine, truths about a conflict), Alain GRESH, (available in French but not in English), Hachette, 2012.

The history of the conflict is retraced within a wider framework.

On the border, Michel WARSCHAWSKI, Pluto Press, 2005. The autobiography of one of the figures of the Israeli left who argues for peace and self-determination for the Palestinian people. La Palestine expliquée à tout le monde (Palestine explained to all), Elias SAMBAR, (available in French but not in English), Seuil, 2013.

By the founder and editor in chief of Palestinian Studies and Palestinian ambassador to Unesco.

SERIES Le Serment, on DVD and Blu-ray, (2011), a series by Peter KOSMINSKY. Through the eyes of a young Londoner in Israel for the first time, and those of his grandfather, a British soldier in the Palestine of the 1940s, P Kosminsky (Warriors; The Tony Blair years) retraces the history of the Palestinian conflict from 1945 until our time.

Le rescapé et l’exilé (The survivor and the exile), Stéphane HESSEL and Elias SANBAR, (available in French but not in English), Ed. Don Quichotte, 2012.

Exchanges between a former member of the resistance and deportee to Buchenwald, then a diplomat based at the headquarters of the UN since its foundation, and E. Sanbar, who was less than one year old when his parents had to leave their home city of Haifa to seek refuge in Lebanon.

Le camp oublié de Dbayeh (Dbayeh, the forgotten camp), Palestinian Christians, refugees in perpetuity, Nathalie DUPLAN and Valérie RAULIN, (available in French

but not in English), Le Passeur Editeur, 2013.

Driven from their village in Galilee by the Israelis in 1948, 500 Palestinian families regrouped in Dbayeh, north of Beirut, in the only Christian camp out of the twelve in Lebanon.

Palestine dans quel état ? (Palestine, in what state?) Emmanuel PROST and Maxime LE ROY, (available in French but not in English), Ed. La boîte à bulles, 2013.

The fruit of several stays in Israeli and Palestinian territory, this work recounts the voices of “Palestinians in their every day life” on their vision for the future of their region. A road map to provide answers to the questions: One state? Two states? What can be envisaged? What is credible?

Histoire de l’autre (The other’s story), by several authors, (available in French but not in English), Ed. Liana Lévi

Twelve history professors, six Palestinian and six Israeli, look at three decisive moments in the history of the conflict and give their points of view. An excellent initiative, which is used in the High Schools in France.


Lemon Tree (2008), Fran RIKLIS, director. A very moving account of one Palestinian’s attempt to keep his orchard from Israeli soldiers.

Wall (2004),

A bottle in the Gaza sea (2011), de Thierry

Amreeka (2009),

BINISTI, director, based on the moving novel by Valérie Zenatti.

Le fils de l’Autre (The son of the other) (2012) (available in French but not in English), de Lorraine

LEVY, director. At the age of eighteen, a young Israeli and a young Palestinian learn that they were exchanged at birth. The lives of their two families will devastate them.

Svimone BITTON, director, a documentary starting out from the separation wall.

Shirine DABIS, director, relates the saga of Muna, the mother of a family that emigrates to the USA.

With one voice (2009), Xavier de Lauzanne, director. Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Christians, Muslims, above all else, musicians.

FOI • N°39 • December 2013 - January - February 2014


VIE Ecumenism



1517-2017: 500th anniversary of the Reformation

“From Conflict to Communion” “From Conflict to Communion” is the title of the document recently produced by the International Lutheran-Catholic Commission on Unity. It is not a question of celebrating an anniversary, not even that of the Reformation: “No one who is theologically responsible can celebrate the division of Christians from one another.” (§ 224). The document is easy to read and sets out clearly the history and theological problems of this troubled period in the history of the Western Church while at the same time taking due note of recent ecumenical advances...

Why and how should we mark 31st October 1517?

The Commission begins by emphasising the importance of the present situation (the growth of the churches in the South, increasing secularisation in the West, religious pluralism, the reality of ecumenical dialogue). In this context, remembrance together, and ecumenically, is a demanding and difficult exercise. The very word «reformation» illustrates that in itself: for Catholics, it evokes the divisions in the church, whereas for Lutherans it points to the rediscovery of the Gospel message.

Common commemoration means telling the story together. So how can we do this? Anne-Cathy GRABER,

Pastor of the Evangelical Mennonite Church, ccn


«Remembrance makes the past present. While the past itself is unalterable, the presence of the past in the present is alterable. From the in viewpoint of

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2017, the point is not to tell a different history, but to tell that history differently» (§16). This different way of telling the story of the Reformation is the subject of Chapter II: “New Perspectives on Martin Luther”. For Lutherans, this re-reading of the 16th century, with Catholic theologians, has enabled them to overcome one-sided confessional approaches (§31). Catholics, for their part, recognise that Luther did not intend to divide but to reform the Church, as a «witness to the Gospel». The aim is «to find a common way of remembering past events» (§35). Chapter III highlights the salient points of the Reformation. This «ecumenical anamnesis» prevents the past from being told in a one-sided fashion and brings out the responsibility of both sides, Catholics and Lutherans, in the process that brought about divi-



sion. This ecumenical rereading of history makes it possible to present the main themes of Luther’s theology «with one voice» (Justification, Eucharist, Ministries, relation between Scripture and Tradition). “With one voice» does not mean that Catholics believe exactly the same thing as the Lutherans! Each theme is presented in three stages: 1. Luther 2. Catholic concerns or points of disagreement 3. The achievements of ecumenical dialogue over the last 50 years, even if some points of difference still remain.

Striving to achieve the full catholicity of the Church Baptism is the basis for unity (cf. Eph 4), making Catholics and Lutherans members of the unique body of Christ. Hence the importance of remembering together the fact that we belong to the same single body, even if we are still divided!

The document describes this as «an impossible possibility and the source of great pain» (§223). These words express in their own way the abnormal -- indeed unliveable -- situation caused by the divisions among Christians. Believing in belonging to one and the same body enables Catholics and Lutherans «to struggle in the face of their division toward the full catholicity of the church. This struggle has two sides: the recognition of what is common and joins them together, and the recognition of what divides» (§223). The document then sets out in detail those things which are a source of joy and thanksgiving for the Lutherans and which were received at the Reformation (the living relationship with the Scriptures, the certainty and the freedom brought to us by the Gospel, the catechisms, and the canticles). Catholics, taking up the affirmations made at Vatican II, they recognise with joy, and appreciate, the genuinely Christian values […] of our separated brothers. (UR 4, 6).


The five ecumenical essentials 1. Always start from common

ground, not from the sources of division.

2. Constantly let oneself be

transformed through meeting with others, and by each other’s witness to our common faith.

3. Commit to seeking visible unity, and those things which will allow it to be put into practice … and don’t give up! 4. Rediscover together the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for our world today. 5. Bear witness together to the

grace of God by proclaiming the Gospel and placing ourselves at the service of all.

There is also an aspect of lamentation in commemoration. Consequently Lutherans have expressed their regret regarding Luther’s anti-Jewish judgements, theologically-based persecution of the Anabaptists and identification of the Pope with the Antichrist …

«We can now tell the story of the Reformation together»

the Lutheran World Federation (§§234237), before going on to set out some principles for the future. The five ecumenical essentials (see inset), as well as the way in which the ecumenical rereading of history is approached, go beyond Catholic-Lutheran relations. May this document also be read and understood by the other church traditions. v Footnotes 1- International Lutheran-Catholic Commission on Unity, “From Conflict to Communion”, Istina (2013/3) p. 269-330. 2- Expression used by the theologian Karl Rahner, who used it in other contexts. 3- FEDOU, Michel, « Le document luthéro-catholique Du conflit à la communion », Istina, 2013/3, p. 240.

Lutherans and Catholics recognise that they repeatedly violated the eighth commandment (which prohibits bearing false witness against one’s neighbour) in their theological disputes during the 16th century (cf. §233). The document recalls the steps taken to ask for forgiveness by various Popes and by

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VIE Ecumenism



Orthodoxy: the Liturgy of Advent

The Birth of Christ

Message of hope If the feast of Christmas is celebrated by all Christians, in each tradition it finds different accents, which is what brings about the richness of our churches. Through each Christian tradition we see the mystery of God who comes to us, a mystery which is the source of all hope.


Priest of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch


In his epistle to the Galatians, the apostle Paul writes: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, in order to redeem the subjects of the Law, and to confer on us adoption as sons.” (Gal 4:4-5).

renew his Covenant with man, sealed by the blood of Christ poured out on the cross. These two Sundays recapitulate, so to speak, the whole divine economy of salvation.

The third Sunday of this liturgical period is the one which really inaugurates the The entry of the Son of God into the period of Syrian Orthodox Advent – it world and into time is celebrated in the commemorates the announcement Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch afmade to Zechariah, the father of John ter a long period of preparation which the Baptist, (Lk 1:5-25). The fourth Sunaccording to the Syro-antiochene rite day is the Sunday of the Annunciation contains eight Sundays. During this to the Virgin Mary (Lk 1:26-38). The fifth period the Christian is calis that of the Visitation led to commemorate the of Mary to Elizabeth (Lk “In the modern salvation events which 1:39-56) and the sixth is preceded the entry of the that of the birth of John context of Son of God into the world, the Middle East (…) (Lk 1:57-80). The sein order to celebrate at venth Sunday is called the end the “mystery of one aspect seems to the Sunday of the reveus to be eminently piety”, the manifestation lation to Joseph (Mt of God in the flesh (1Tim 1:18-25). It commemoimportant: 3:16). The first two Sunrates the declaration hope.” days are entirely dedicamade to Joseph, Mary’s ted to the community of fiancé, of the divine saints, that is the Church. The first is calidentity of his fiancée’s child. The last led “Sunday of the Consecration of the Sunday is the Sunday of the genealogy Church” and the second is called “Sunof Christ according to the flesh. day of the Renewal of the Church.” On reading the pericopes Mt 1:1-17 and These two Sundays express the eternal Lk 3:23-38, we are called to see how Will of God to establish the Church as a God humbly consented to clothe our place of encounter between God and sinful humanity so as to heal it of its humanity created in the image and lideadly sickness. keness of its Creator, and the unfolding During this period, the Christian rememof that Will in time. bers the crucial events which marked God creates man to live with Him in full the self-emptying process (kenosis) communion of love, and after man’s sin of the Son of God. We commemorate and his becoming distant from his Creathem, we bring them into the present tor, God intervenes in time in order to and we live them.

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O Son who by your birth have saved your Church from becoming lost, Grant her peace, and protect her children by virtue of your Birth, O Lord! O Peace who have pacified both heavenly and earthly beings, grant peace to your church and protect her children by virtue of your Birth, O Lord! In the modern context of the Middle East, the historic cradle of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch before its expansion throughout the world, one aspect of this period seems to us to be eminently important: hope. During the night when Christ was born, the angels sang a song which has become the regular doxology (song of praise) of the Church: “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good hope to humankind” (Lk 2:14). This text quoted according to the Syriac translation of the Bible (the Peshitta) renders the Greek word “eudokia” by two separate words: good hope. The birth of Christ has brought “good hope” to humans. How much we need this today! In the midst of the unjust war, of the atrocities committed and the tears of the victims, only the birth of the Saviour can bring good hope to the world. The Saviour was born to establish peace on earth, but if peace is always threatened by war, the Christian must know how to maintain hope in his God. His God has not yet spoken the last word. Evil can reign for a certain time but jus-

Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

tice will establish itself – the psalmist said it very well: “the needy one is not always forgotten, the hope of the poor is never brought to nothing” (Ps 9:18, JB). The feast of Christmas is the inexhaustible source of hope for the poor who have put their whole existence into the hands of God. Let the Lord come to the aid of his people!

Receive the peace

of Christmas!

Lastly, by way of conclusion, let us read these words from the start and the ending of the liturgical hymns by James of Serugh (†521) sung for the feast of Christmas: O Son who by your birth have saved your Church from becoming lost, Grant her peace, and protect her children by virtue of your Birth, O Lord! O Peace who has pacified both heavenly and earthly beings, grant peace to your church and protect her children by virtue of your Birth, O Lord! v

The IEF (FOI) team FOI • N°39 • December 2013 - January - February 2014






FOI • N°39 • December 2013 - January - February 2014





Hymns to Christ

Syriac Liturgy – A prayer for Christmas


ight of our faith, Image of the invisible Father, Jesus Christ our God; Herald of the Father’s great designs, Prince of peace, father of the world to come! For us, he took the form of a slave, Becoming flesh from a virgin mother, Most Holy Mary, without human intervention.


hrough love for us, He was wrapped in swaddling bands And placed in a manger, Worshipped by shepherds And the angelic powers who sang: Glory to God on high and on earth Peace to mankind. Hymns to Christ from before the year 1000 with miniatures, Mediaspaul and Editions Paulines 1982.

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Christian Training

Bible : “God in the heart of the biblical night”


word of light? Scripture tell the story of the great events which gave birth to humanity, the people of God and the great spiritual adventure of salvation. Now these great events are born by night. In our own lives waiting and struggle take place at night. But the Bible announces that we are not alone, that these nights will end to let shine forth the light of the day without end.

François LESTANG

Bible scholar, Chemin Neuf Community


Night. Obscurity. Darkness. Essential realities, disturbing or reassuring. Sleep or watch? Immersed in the night, not finding sleep, man asks himself: will day come? Where then is God? Covered by the cloak of night, he lets go, confident, asleep: the God who brought him to this day will guard his life (cf. Ps 121, 7). The book of Psalms witnesses well to this ambivalent relationship with night: it is both terrible and appeasing. Many indeed are the dangers contained in the night: wild animals, thieves and murderers, evil spirits. How can one sleep with such threats abroad? How can one not worry and have sleepless nights if God seems absent? We should here quote all the first part of Psalm 77, so exemplary of the anguish of the supplicant. Nevertheless, other psalms show how, when night comes, it is possible to sleep in peace, for God is good: “You have put more joy in my heart than in the days when grain and wine abounded. Thus fulfilled, I lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Ps 4, 7-8). The God who reveals himself from the first page of Genesis is indeed the one who prepares a stable home for humanity, who transforms initial chaos (Gen 1,2) into an organized cosmos, very good work. The first step of the divine work is to make light shine forth amid the darkness, by his word alone: “Let there be light” (Gen 1, 3); but the arrival of day does not yet do away with

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night. A rhythm appears the alternation of nights and mornings. Already we can hear that the refrain of this creation story “there was evening and there was morning” sets forth as an itinerary an emergence from night towards light. It is, moreover, the road proposed by the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation; in the very last pages of that ultimate book, the beholder reveals to us: “there will be no more night” (Rev 21, 25). This too is what can be understood by the Hebrew word used to speak of the day when for the first time light poured forth: rather than “the first day” (yom

an training training an training F

rançois Lestang guides

us in the biblical world of the night through a reading from Genesis to Revelation which will renew our approach and direct our hopes.

Editions Nouvelle Cité, 128 pages, 13€

God, for the salvation of many. But it is by night that God gives Abraham the promise of descendants as numerous as the stars of the sky (Gen 15), it is by night that He struggles with Jacob and gives him a new name (Gen 32), it is by night that the sea opens before Israel, permitting escape from enemy armies (Ex 14) and by night that Jesus rises from death.

“As for this new-born child, this Jesus proclaimed saviour and king by the shepherds and the Magi, he will be manifested throughout his ministry as light.” rishon), the sacred author wrote “day one” (yom ‘ehad), “one” like the God acknowledged by Israel (cf Deut 6, 4). The prophet Zechariah is to use it to speak of the end: on that day “one” to come, God will be king over all the earth, and there will be pure light (Zech 14, 7-9). Before the coming of that day of pure light, God does not abandon man to the power of darkness. On the contrary, he likes to manifest himself. This can come through premonitory dreams which need interpreting; the Josephs of Genesis and of the Gospel are both sent dreams which reveal to them the will of

When the women came to the tomb, whether it was early morning (Mk 16 or Lk 24) or in the night following the Sabbath (Mt 28), the resurrection had already taken place! God acts during the night for the salvation of those whom He loves. Again is it not astonishing that it was in the depth of the night that the Nativity of Jesus was announced, in two distinct ways. In Luke’s Gospel, God sends angels to proclaim aloud and without ambiguity the birth of the saviour to shepherds watching their flocks by night (Lk 2). The call to watch will be heard in Jesus’ preaching as in the preaching

of the apostles Peter and Paul: though night reigns, we should watch to hear what God will do, for He is coming! Elsewhere, in Matthew’s Gospel, God entrusts to the science of men the deciphering of his work, manifested by the appearance of a star which must be followed from step to step (Mt 2). The wise astronomers, whom we call Magi, correctly associate the star with the kingdom of Judea, and go to the capital, Jerusalem. But to arrive in Bethlehem, they need on one hand the aid of the Scriptures, which the high priests and scribes read for them, and on the other hand the presence of the star, which guides them as far as the exact place where Jesus is: thus it is by night that they come to him, that they offer their gifts, and it is in a dream that they are led to leave by another route. It is a matter of interpreting signs from heaven given particularly during the night. As for this new-born child, this Jesus proclaimed saviour and king by the shepherds and the Magi, he will be manifested throughout his ministry as light. Thus he will dwell in the night without fear, not hesitating to go apart from other men to pray by himself, to surrender confidently to his Father night after night as far as the “yes” of Gethsemane, as far as the darkness of death on the cross, as far as living in our nights and illuminating them with his presence, in the hope of day one. v

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Christian Training

Charismatic life in a parish

Share your talents! A bishop does not entrust a parish to a community which emerged from the Charismatic renewal by chance. Parishes have been entrusted to religious communities for a long time. It is a mutually enriching opportunity for both the diocese and these communities. A bishop does not give a community responsibility for a parish to make up the shortfall of priests in his diocese, and he does not expect it to behave like a team of diocesan priests. If he did, at least one of the parties would be disappointed. I like bishops who encourage us and send us out telling us, ìBe yourselves! Share your talents! What you have received is not for you but for the whole Church! For the vicar and his whole team of community members serving the parish, it is a duty and a real challenge to be constantly concerned with sharing oneís spiritual gift with the parish. It is living out the parable of the talents. The temptation would of course be to flee all our Ignatian and charismatic spirituality. That would perhaps sometimes be simpler and more restful. Would this not be a good example of ìtemptation under the appearance of good, to simply keep the parish ticking over without creating the slightest wave? But that would of course be to miss our calling. The Holy Spirit challenges us and works in us constantly, and we must remain attentive to Him, and do His will, even if it disrupts our own plans.


Sharing what we have received from Saint Ignatius is a nice challenge and generally goes over well. For example, Ignatian offers of individually guided retreats during Advent or Lent are always appreciated. On the other hand, charismatic spirituality is more bewildering and disruptive. Now, in the Chemin Neuf Community, these two spiritualities are interwoven and complement each other such that it is impossible to separate them. Decisions, guidance, important choices are made in prayer, and quite often received in charismatic prayer, but how they are implemented, reviewed and evaluated is very Ignatian. We tend to distinguish natural and supernatural gifts from the Holy Spirit. Nobody thinks twice about exercising natural gifts like teaching, serving, singing, or music. On the other hand supernatural gifts, the charisms Saint Paul writes about in his letter to the Corinthians, often raise questions (1 Cor 12-14). These supernatural gifts cannot be exercised in a parish in the midst of an uninitiated congregation without running the risk of creating futile misunderstandings.

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But for a charismatic community where each member has been renewed in the Holy Spirit, by giving his life to Christ when he received Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and by welcoming the gifts of the Holy Spirit, it is impossible not to exercise the gifts received. Of course, the prayer group is the perfect place to exercise spiritual gifts but it is often restricted to the faithful few. The Alpha course and related events are also good opportunities to exercise oneís gifts. Christís example is enlightening: Jesus exercised spiritual gifts at any opportunity during his ministry. He healed, prophesied, gave words of knowledge, freed people from demons, did miracles and so on. Without these signs, it is probable that there would not have been as many conversions, or crowds. These signs are not in themselves the most important thing, but what they express is capital, the Kingdom of God. It is here, in your midst, it is the Good News. This is the Good News which we must announce to the whole world. Is depriving oneself of the signs which God is ready to give to his people not

an training training an training « I like bishops who encourage us and send us out telling us, “Be yourselves! Share your talents! What you have received is not for you but for the whole Church!” »

St Justin parish in Levallois-Perret.

losing the chance to witness to the love of God? Is it not taking the risk of missing the chance to touch hearts and lead them to Jesus? When we are gathered in his name, we are this Body of Christ, and when we pray with faith, signs show the presence of the Kingdom already among us.

So God can still act like this when 800 people are gathered in his name? Do we not raise great hopes for all those who go away without being healed? Are we not putting God to the test by asking him for healings like these? Why does God heal one person and not another?

That is what we experienced in our parish last spring, when we issued a general invitation to an evening of prayer for healing. We held it on a Tuesday evening right there in the main church; not by having a special guest ìhealerî, but by putting together a team of members of the Chemin Neuf community and other close contacts to run the event. During the preceding weeks, members of the prayer group, parishioners for the most part, distributed invitations to all comers in the street, at the entrance to the metro. A lot of people came and the church was full.

We all have these questions and it must have been the same in Jesus time. That never prevented Christ from carrying out his mission, despite the Pharisees recriminations.

A programme of teaching, testimonies, praise and singing was followed by prayers for healing. About fifty people had the candour, faith and courage to say that they had been healed. Signs, healings like these, shake us all up.

Charismatic living in a parish is of course not just a case of organising this sort of evening. They are just one way of sharing what the Word of God is doing even today: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to

proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lordís favour” (Luke 4:18-19). v

The aim of these times of charismatic prayer, when we pray explicitly for the healing of the sick, is not healing as such, but rather the conversion of hearts. The very great majority of those who came were not healed, but they were deeply touched by the love and power of God, and that is what is most important.

Bertrand FAYOLLE

Chemin Neuf Community, Vicar of St Justin parish (Levallois Perret, 92)

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Christian Training

Interview : Jeroen von Geusau

A Christian in Politics

Is it possible for a Christian to be involved in politics? What tensions are experienced as a result of this commitment? How can one live out one’s faith against the mainstream of society? Is it possible for a Christian to help develop democracy, and if so, why? Does God call us to be involved in Society? All these currently relevant questions are addressed in the film, “Watchers”. Jeroen von Gesau, a senior manager with Netherlands Railways and member of the Netherlands Christian Democrat Party (C.D.A.), gives his testimony.

Jeroen von geusau >>> A member of the Christian Democrat Party in the Netherlands, spoke to the young people at the International Festival in Hautecombe in 2013.

* Interview by the Net for God team


m NFG*: When and why did you

decide to get involved in politics, in the service of society for the common good?

J. von Geusau: “I come from a family which has always been involved in Dutch politics. My father and both grandfathers were committed to the life of society, in politics, and in the Church, for a part of their time, as well as in their work. In my family it was quite normal to discuss politics, what was happening in the country and in Europe.

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When I was a student, I decided to join the party of the Young Christian Democrats, where we had the chance to train in political debate, and to learn the principles of Christian Democracy. I was also very interested in what the Church had to say about politics; it seemed to me very close to the principles of Christian Democracy. Later, the political party asked me to make more and more commitments. But it was quite normal in our family to take political responsibility in society, because if you have received a lot, you also need to give a lot.”

an training training an training m NFG: How is it possible these days to be a Christian in politics, to think and act as a Christian? J. von Geusau : “A lot of people think that because you’re a Christian you can’t be involved in politics, because politicians lie and argue all the time. If we see people lying, why not get involved, simply to make the lying stop? If we want to change society, we have to go to the roots of it; if we stay out of things, content to watch and make comments, nothing will change. This is why it is very important for us as Christians to take responsibility, to play an active part in society, and take our place in politics. Today, particularly in Europe, there is a lack of willingness to act among Christians in society. It’s a bit like the Apostles at the Last Supper, praying among themselves behind closed doors. What we need to do is act like those same Apostles at Whitsun, opening doors and windows, going out to spread the Gospel. It is our responsibility. In politics, you don’t spread the Gospel, but you can act and think like a Christian in politics. It is not Christian policies we’re putting forward, we’re not rebuilding the Kingdom of God on earth, it’s not possible. But with Christian thoughts and actions, you can show what is the common good in society. This is something we should do a lot more often than we do at present.” m NFG: Does that necessarily involve accepting compromise, getting your hands dirty? Where do you draw the line? J. Von Geusau : “In politics you always need to compromise. But I think , as a Christian, you have to set a limit for yourself, a line you won’t cross. If something troubles your conscience, and really goes against Christian morality, compromise is impossible. That means that, in matters of ethics which really touch my conscience, I can’t compromise. But I can agree to

compromise in other things. Nowadays in European countries, several laws are being passed which cause problems for us as Christians? What can we do about that? It’s very difficult. First of all, we have to consider the reasons why these laws have been passed; we haven’t acted to influence politics, we were simply absent from the debate. Now that these laws have been passed, what can we do? In any case, we must never use violence.”

“In politics, you don’t evangelise, but you can show clearly by your thoughts and actions that you are a Christian.”

“What is happening in France with these “demos” is a good example of the way you can show clearly that you can’t accept the law that’s being passed; what we read in Dutch newspapers about the demos makes it clear that it’s a movement in favour of raising each child with a mother and a father, which is the prime concern. So it’s not a movement directly against this law, but also a movement in favour of its opposite. This gives us hope, and, more and more often, we have to find this kind of solution so that, when we can’t accept a law that’s being debated, we can show that there is an alternative, a better solution, more hope. We have to follow this way at the European level.” m NFG: What lessons can we learn

from the recent elections in the Netherlands? J. Von Geusau : “I really believe that we make a lot of mistakes in politics, as in other areas of life. To take the example of Dutch politics, the Christian

Democrat Party made a bad mistake in co-operating with the Extreme Right, which seriously divided our Christian Democratic movement. No-one should ever co-operate with a party that does not respect democracy. And the Extreme Right is not a democratic party. It’s always against things, it does nothing to give people hope. Our Christian message is a message of hope, not one which despises or excludes anyone. After a year and a half, the government fell because the Extreme Right didn’t co-operate, and was always against everything, just as we’d predicted. During that period, our group, which had always been against that co-operation, was completely excluded from politics. What followed was a time of recovery, and an opportunity to reconstruct political activity, which is still in progress. What I have learned from this experience is that when you start co-operating with the wrong partners, it costs you votes and you lose. But what is even more important is that, when you aim for power and lose sight of the main message that your political movement has always stood for, it turns against you with a negative impact on your political movement.” v

Report - Testimonies:

“The Watchers” A film which portrays a new generation of young people of all countries and their call to make a commitment, in the name of the Rights of Humanity and of the Gospel. A fine invitation to all of us to become watchers, each in our own way. On sale on the site

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VIE Youth


yout youth

worship Concerts The phenomenon


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« Worship Concerts » are in fact great prayer gatherings which have, for the last twenty years or so, attracted thousands of young people to concerts all over the world. The basic idea is simple : they are at one and the same time a concert, (complete with amplification, giant screens, lights).. . and an evening of prayer devoted to God.

It all began during the ‘80s, in AngloSaxon countries (in the U.S. and Australia) with the emergence of the first traditional prayer groups from the charismatic revival in evangelical, pentecostal Protestant churches. In August 1983, after settling in Sydney, Pastor Brian Houston (the son of a pastor) founded, together with his wife Bobbie, the Hillsong church, an evangelical, pentecostal Protestant church where members of the congregation came together to join in weekly prayer meetings. Not many years after its foundation, this church went on to produce a form of Christian music inviting people to praise and worship that was to enjoy worldwide success (70 albums issued in 10 years and over 15 million albums sold), and to become the source of some of the greatest concerts of Christian worship. Today, the “Worship Concert” is a phenomenon that continues to spread, thanks to famous Christian groups and singers of world renown like Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Martin Smith, LZ7, Michael W. Smith, who produce high-quality music that has an increasingly popular appeal. The concerts bring together thousands of young people, all drawn by a music that speaks to their generation and by the dimension of prayer and worship that takes them out of themselves. In Europe, the biggest worship concert took place in the Netherlands, on the 5th. June 2010 in the Arnhem stadium.

30,000 young people were there ! Admission to these concerts is never very expensive. On that occasion they only paid 2.5 euros. Most of the young people who come are Christians, but not all of them ! Some non-Christians go to the concerts, readily invited by friends. Whatever the case, the concerts often present an opportunity for a fine ecumenical encounter, notably when Catholics, Pentecostalists, Evangelicals find themselves standing side by side in prayer. Young people expect to feel strong sensations, to be moved deeply. Worshipping, experiencing the love of God for them answers their needs. During this kind of concert , some of them discover prayer and are converted. For others it is an intense experience which can affect their daily life, opening the gate to a new life of prayer. The music, the ambiance at the concerts make young people feel at ease. They are much more likely to lose themselves in prayer in a place where they feel good, during a concert, not afraid that other people see them, than they would in more traditional Christian surroundings less adapted to their generation – perhaps because less dynamic. Matt Redman and Martin Smith, both English by birth, have been “worship leaders” since their 20’s. Their most recent titles, 10,000 Reasons, (Matt Redman) and God’s Great Dance Floor, (Martin Smith) have met with tremendous success. Matt Redman won two Grammy awards this year, one, for 10,000 Reasons, was acclaimed as “best contemporary Chris-

Mathilde MONTOVERT, Hungarian Youth Mission

tian music. They are successful because they are close to young people, able to guide them and are not afraid of revolutionizing the image of prayer and Christianity. Martin Smith, now father of 6 children, bounds on stage and then leaps into the crowd before giving testimony of his encounter with Christ. The youth of today is thirsty for this kind of freedom The new generation needs movement, needs to break out beyond the self, to dance, to find its own expression. Matt Redman sings we are the free and dancing generation. He knows that young people don’t tire of standing for four hours in praise and worship of the Lord.

« We are the free and dancing generation. » Matt Redman

Even though traces of a tradition can be found in the early prayer groups of the revival, the success and impact of the worship concerts is such that they could be counted as a new component in Church history. In the year 2000, pastors from the Protestant church in Kansas City, U.S. predicted that Christian music would become the driving force behind the coming awakening, attaining worldwide recognition and precipitating conversions. v

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« 28



yout youth

Camille, aged 21 What I find moving during praise concerts is that God is really given the first place. When we went to the concert given by Martin Smith and Matt Redman in Paris, they had a way of leading the songs which gave the audience room for prayer, and a humility which called on us to praise the Lord above all else. I like the freedom that we find in praising. When we make the commitment, with our will, to stop being self-centred, we can forget ourselves and make more room for God. This summer, during the praise concert that we ran during the Festival, I had my eyes fixed on the Cross all evening. I wanted to pray with every word that I uttered, because there was no sense to singing if I wasn’t paying attention to what I was saying. I was singing the words, “I know that you love me,” I became aware of the strength that these words could have and of the fact that I could believe in this love. God was truly present during that time of praise. And then, offering the gifts that the Lord has given me to His service filled me with joy and brought me closer to Him, which gave me one reason more for praising Him!


Tuesday V.I.P. Very Intensive Prayer! In Angers, Lille, Nantes, Nice Paris, Reims, Rennes, etc. Details on

Charles, aged 21 I played in the band at the 2013 Hautecombe Festival. Together with the organisers of the Festival, we decided to try positioning the band differently on the stage; the normal thing is for the musicians to be on one side, with the festival leaders on the other; but this time, the musicians took up the whole stage (like a “real” stage band), with the leaders in the middle. This gave us a new way of concentrating our praise, all together, just like at praise concerts. For me, it was a very good experience, both demanding and filled with grace. With this configuration, it is impossible to hide, all your actions and movements are much more visible. And also, musically we became stronger, we had to be able to listen to one another and react without necessarily being able to speak. Spiritually I also felt that we were all much more committed in our praising. But my lasting memory is of those 1000 young people with their arms raised to the sky during the final prayer meeting, all together in magnificent praising worship. Thank you Lord.

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AGE 18-30

AGE 14-18

• WEEKEND: LIFE IN THE SPIRIT: 8-9 Feb. 2014 in Tigery (91). Who is the Holy Spirit for you? The unknown god, a dove, the third person of the Trinity?... (Re) discover the Holy Spirit, how it works in our lives and how to let it speak to us, and from there to discover its gifts and charisms...

• WEEKEND: JUST CHOOSE – SPOILT FOR CHOICE: 22-23 Feb. in Nantes, 15-16 March in Tigery (91), 22-23 March at Hautecombe (73). Has God get a project for my life? Is my future already decided? Wheredoes my freedom and responsibility come in? A weekend for learning how to make choices in the light of the Holy Spirit for your studies, your relationships and your calling...


“What success are you aiming for?” with Pierre-Yves Gomez (founder of the Zacchaeus course), Bénédicte Faivre Tavignot (Director, Chair in Social Business, HEC Paris), Mgr barbariN (Archbishop of Lyon) Plenary sessions where we will be challenged by stirring words about our work, our faith, our world. Workshops to find ways of becoming a “co-worker with God”. An atmosphere which is fraternal, relaxed, prayerful.

• CELEBRATE EASTER at Hautecombe Abbey: 19-21 April. The brothers and sisters of the Chemin Neuf Community invite young people from 17 to 30 to join them to celebrate together the resurrected Christ. Live through the Easter liturgy, taste the joy of the resurrection.

• WEEKEND “Put your mates first” 14-15 year olds: 18-19 Jan. in Paris (Livry) and in Lyon (Les Pothières) Friends, a matter of luck? a need? a treasure? Do you define yourself by your friends? Two days to discover the riches of friendship, to explore its meaning and its promises, to share the joy it can bring. • WEEKEND “A little, a lot, madly, … not at all” 14-18 year olds: 1819 Jan. in the Western region (Sablonceaux). You’re in love with Marie and you don’t know how to tell her? Three weeks ago you were going out with Emmanuelle... Two months ago, it was Juliette who was always in your thoughts... a little... a lot... passionately... madly... or not at all? Feelings that you can’t handle? 24 hours for those who want to learn how to love and to be loved. • WEEKEND “Become who you are!” 14-18 year olds: 15-16 Feb. in Boquen (Britanny, Strasbourg (Eastern region), Nice. A weekend for self assessment, for reflecting on who I am, who I want to be, who I could be and what I want for my life, to hear what I am called to be... and to enjoy all our differences, all our rich identities! • EASTER with the 18-30 year olds. 19-21 April, at HAUTECOMBE for the 16-18 year olds, and at CHARTRES (national weekend) for the 14-18 year olds.

•T  here are many other proposals on our internet site: Young people’s masses, Praise evenings, Young Professionals’ Fraternity groups, the “call” group, etc. Contact: +33 1 47 74 93 73 or +33 6 30 14 06 96

• Secretariat 14-18 year olds: +33 4 78 15 07 98 or +33 6 61 61 02 72

coming events


FOI • N°39 • December 2013 - January - February 2014


comm life in thecom



Community Life

A wonderful


in sight ! Testimony


ere’s an account of what we’ve undertaken over the last six years in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (R.D.C.), or more precisely in the area of the N’gaba round-about at the Mobengui dispensary. My wife, MariePascale, (a general practitioner) and I (an ophthalmologist) happened to be going to Kinshasa in the R.D.C. at the invitation of Father Francois Michon, who is in charge of the Chemin Neuf Community there (The Chemin Neuf is a recognised NGO which has been operational for the last ten years in Kinshasa and for over twenty years in the Congo.)


Philippe Tabouy examines his patients

In the course of this first trip in 2007, Marie-Pascale stood in for the person responsible for the dispensary, Benoit Lokila. For my part, I came to meet the poor people who had problems with their sight on behalf of the Caritas organisation, notwithstanding the fact that I was not travelling to the Congo for this purpose. Therefore, it was through sheer luck that I had taken with me ophthalmologic material: ophthalmoscope, strong highly magnifying-glasses, portable refractometer and about a hundred pairs of spectacles recovered from a number of opticians. Much to my surprise, I examined an uninterrupted flow of people during a week. We were given the use of two small rooms. In the first one, patients would be asked to read, and I would examine them in the second room. Whenever correcting glasses had to be prescribed, we relied on the stock I had brought with me. However, we ran out of the required correcting glasses very quickly. We also became aware of the high number of cases of presbyopia (long-sightedness).

FOI • N°39 • December 2013 - January - February 2014

munity life in the comm comm mmunity life in the

On the medical front, we also encountered many cases of very dense cataract - thus rendering people blind. Luckily, I met with Dr. Kilangalanga, who was trained at the University of Rostock in Germany and who later took charge of the ophthalmology unit of St Joseph’s hospital which is under the responsibility of the archdiocese. With his help and assistance, I was able to perform a number of cataract operations albeit in far more precarious conditions than in France. This was to be the start of a close friendship between us. I was able to present to the ophthalmology unit equipment for people with badly impaired vision, donated by an optician from Chartres in France. On an “exchange” basis, we obtained a place for a girl of 15, attending college, and suffering from badly impaired vision, in a professional training centre for young people with such impaired vision. In addition to these commitments, we were called to St. Christine’s school, a local school entrusted to the Community, to examine the teachers. I noticed that they encountered difficulties in teaching due to the fact that they did not have glasses for presbyopia. From then on, during each of our trips, we organised (in the first instance) tests to recognise any problem of vision in children of 10 to 15 years old. Out of a total of 600 pupils that we examined at the beginning of 2012, we dispensed 145 pairs of glasses (-0.5 to -3d) for myopia (shortsightedness), 35 pairs of glasses for hypermetropia (longsightedness) and a few for those suffering from astigmatism (far more difficult to correct in view of our restricted stock of glasses). Thus, our involvement here has become more and more substantial. Firstly, at St. Christine’s school, where we examine, in the course of each trip, 800 children to whom we give a follow-up whenever necessary. We then examine our patients at the Mobengui dispensary and organise ourselves as follows: we start by a reading test, from short or long distances, carried out by a nurse; we follow by an ophthalmologic examination which I undertake myself (I determine whether correcting glasses are required or, in the event of a disease in the eye, whether an operation is required). We finish by allocating as far as possible a suitable pair of glasses to each person according to the person’s condition. We travel to Kinshasa twice a year for a period of two weeks and, on each visit, we carry 80 kilos of glasses in our suitcases. We collect them in different ways: either at my consulting room where my patients hand over their old glasses (a third of these can be used again – we sort them out and label them ourselves), or, from the opticians in Chartres who have been made aware of our involvement and who support us with willingness and generosity (some even provide us with optical equipment which we take to Kinshasa), or again, from the Krys Foundation which, also, has never failed to support us actively from the start of this project. I was also able to recover ophthalmologic examination

equipment from ophthalmologists who retire and who have been informed about what I do by medical representatives. This equipment is sent by container within three months, by courtesy of the Chemin Neuf Community. As a result of all these donations, we have gradually established in Kinshasa a complete consulting room. I have trained Benoit Lokila in ophthalmology so that he can continue to carry out the consultations in between each of my visits; he is responsible for the Mobengui dispensary and is also a member of the Community and has already considerable medical experience. Here’s a short anecdote: an old man who could hardly see came for a consultation accompanied by his son. The examination of his right eye revealed an optical atrophy (thus irrecoverable) while the left eye, surprise, surprise, revealed a healthy optical nerve on an eye without the crystalline lens (his cataract operation took place in the 90s without an artificial lens implant). Luckily, we had correcting glasses (+13d) and not only was he able to leave the dispensary on his own but started running on his way back home, quite amazing considering that he had come to the dispensary almost blind! Another anecdote is that of a very “shy” young teenager who was introduced to us in the course of our first visit. As a result of her wearing glasses for myopia (-10d), she became far less shy! Dr. Kilangalanga, with whom we work, came this year to the French Ophthalmology Society at my invitation. He was able to further his skills in various surgical techniques. I would like to do even more, such as training a nurse in ophthalmology, and, so as to proceed along these lines, I have started to forward optical equipment, and then we went back last October with someone from “Opticiens sans frontières” (Opticians without borders). Our next trip is being planned for June 2014. v Docteurs Philippe et Marie-Pascale TABOUY, ccn

Marie-Pascale TABOUY looking for the right pair of glasses

FOI • N°39 • December 2013 - January - February 2014


comm life in theco



Community Life

A world tour...

destination The Philippines A new step in our «World Tour»: the Philippines, with 7107 islands, with a multiplicity of cultural influences which you will not find anywhere else and the only predominantly Christian country in Asia. Immediate boarding!

BACKGROUND OF THE COUNTRY The Philippines are an archipelago of 7107 islands! Before the Spaniards arrived in 1521, it was divided between four tribes. The Spaniards discovered the archipelago by accident as they steered for the spice trade routes. They took possession of the island of Cebu, established themselves there and set up a cross there. They called them “The Philippine Islands” in honour of the King of Spain, Philip II. Quickly, there were conversions to Christianity. The Spaniards continued their conquest of the islands but suffered a defeat at the hands of Lapu-Lapu, a tribal chief. THE COUNTRY’S MOTTO: Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, THE PEOPLE, NATURE AND THE COUNTRY SURFACE AREA: 300 400 SQ.KM CAPITAL: Manille  Population : 105 millions d’habitants (2013) MAIN TOWNS: Quezon City, Cebu City, amboanga, Davao, Bacolod City, Iloilo, Ángeles, Batangas... OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: PHILIPINO, TAGALOG, ENGLISH, SPANISH CURRENCY: PHILIPPINE PESO NATIONAL DAY: JULY 4TH


FOI • N°39 • December 2013 - January - February 2014

This man, converted to Christianity and fearing God, chose to make peace instead of fighting. Since that time, the Philippines has been recognised as the only Christian country in Asia. The country was colonised by the Spaniards, then by the Americans, and finally experienced occupation by the Japanese during the Second World War. It only really gained independence in 1946. Jose Rizal, through his writings, was one of those who was known to have awoken the awareness of the people to fight against the Spanish administration. Centuries later, Nino Aquino, another national hero, gave his life for the Philippine people during the dictatorship of President Marcos during the ‘70’s. He rekindled this desire for independence, for peace and democracy for the Philippine people. Today, after what has been like “three hundred years in a convent, 50 years in Hollywood”, the Philippinos continue to fight for the unity of their country and for democracy. About 10% of the population (10 million) work abroad, something which makes a big contribution to the country’s economy, but which also upsets the life of many families. Despite that, these “Overseas Philippino Workers” (OFW), the “new missionaries” according to Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila – because wherever they are, the Church is coming alive – are considered their country’s new heroes. v

munity life in the comm comm ommunity life in the

The s tu d e n t s


of St Lo

urent, Janis and T

th La Launch in 2013 wi

The chapel

THE COMMUNITY IN MANILA The Community welcomed the first Philippinos in 1997, at the World Youth Day in Paris. It was a good experience and some of the young people wanted to extend their experience of community life in France. Among these young people were Al Martinez, Revelene Romero (today Nicolas), Shiela Regalado and Cathy Sanico. Since 1997 we have receive groups at virtually every World Youth Day. The biggest group was in 2000 in Rome with 500 Philippinos. For more than ten years, many priests, Olivier Turbat, Hasso Beyer, Simone Russo, Etienne Veto, and others, travelled to the Philippines to lead weekends and sessions for young people. After all these years of coming and going without having a house in the country, the Community had difficulty in really launching a mission for young people in the Philippines. Fr Laurent Fabre and the Council set an ultimatum, “Either we find a house in the Philippines and found the Community in Asia, or we stop everything, with the journeys costing too much.” So in the summer of 2011, Fr Laurent Fabre, accompanied by Ela Tuason (Philippino) spent a month in the Philippines looking for a house. He visited many islands and dioceses. He was warmly welcomed but no proposal was on the table. His last meeting was with

Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop of Manila. After half an hour, having listened to Laurent, and changing his programme for the day, Cardinal Rosales took him to the centre of Manila to a student hostel, San Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic Student Centre. Reaching the place, the Cardinal said to Laurent, «Perhaps this place is where God’s will is.» We had had our first CANA session in September 2012 with nine couples. On this occasion Al and Josianne Martinez came from Canada and led the session with Fr Etienne Veto. In May 2013 we had the second session and today there are two Cana fraternities in the Philippines. “To left and to right you will spread out, lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes” (Isaiah 54.2-3). This was the word received by the World Youth Day at Madrid. As it turned out this last Ash Wednesday we were the first four to arrive in this huge hostel of Manila (to the right!)… just as Antoine Cousin, at the same moment, at the other end of the Earth (to the left!) signed the settlement for the very large Chartreuse of Aula Dei in Saragossa (Spain). So in February 2013 we were there at San Lorenzo Ruiz Student Centre (rechristened “SanLo” by the students) after 20 hours of travelling and after the prayers of all the brothers and sisters down the years: “The Fun is about to begin in the Philippines,” (the slogan

Mo re f un in t he Ph ilippin e s! Am b iance. ...

« The Fun is about to begin in the Philippines ! » of the country is: “it’s more fun In the Philippines”) SanLo had been established at the beginning of the 80’s when there was martial law and when any meeting in a public place (university campus, school, etc…) was forbidden. The Archbishop of the day, Cardinal Sin, bought this former school and orphanage from the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary so as to make it a meeting place for university chaplains. Until our arrival, the hostel was run by a diocesan priest, Mgr Bauson. This hostel is special because it is there that young students and “reviewees” are welcomed. This last group are often adults (single or married) who are already in the world of work and who are preparing for a big exam. We can be on the spot, in our house, alongside the teenagers mission (18-30 year-olds) and the CANA mission! >>> >>> If it is the will of God, in the future

FOI • N°39 • December 2013 - January - February 2014


com life in thecom



Community Life the mission alongside the poorest people could be developed. In the district where we are, Samaploc (meaning Tamarin in Tagalog) is an old residential and university district. This is why it is also known as the “University belt”: there are fifteen universities around us. But it is also a working class and poor district…

We are four consecrated celibates in the house: two Philippino, a Brazilian and a Mauritian. These days, we have a small prayer group and Net for God point. Some young people, friends of the Community, join us for this time as well as young people from the hostel. We really are beginning to “lengthen the cords” to the right (Asia) – will the Philippines be the way in to China? and we remain open to the breath of the Holy Spirit “to strengthen our stakes.” v Janis Leong Son, ccn

CHRISTMAS Ideas for presents... To prepare for and to celebrate Christmas the Chemin Neuf shop offers you calendars and Advent activities, cribs to be made up as a family, and a big choice of cribs from the whole world. Ideas for presents for all ages! Liberty Bracelets, DVDs, statuettes icons, honey and other monastic foodstuffs! Come and take a look at our site on line:

the ho ste l the staff of h it w y it n u The Co m m


The co uple s at the Cana Session


“Christian Marriage”

Icon Course

The week for “exploring Christian marriage”, known as the CANA programme, is an opportunity to go deeper into the richness of marriage.

5 day courses: March 30 –April 4 and June 22-27 Booking:

Discovering Christian marriage

Les Dombes Abbey (01)

Guided by the Holy Spirit, couples read from various documents of the Catholic Church and look at the traditions of other churches. They study themes which are relevant to the family and delight in the call to establish a family which is united in and rooted in Christ. An open session especially for people involved in preparation for marriage

v From

15 to 21 March 2014 at Les Pothieres (near Lyon)

FOI • N°39 • December 2013 - January - February 2014




en ildr

h tc

Kaspars and Ruta Poikans, of the Community of Chemin Neuf, who trained at the monastery of Mirozskoi in Pskov (Russia), lead an icon workshop at the Les Dombes Abbey. In that place, which is so rich in ecumenism, iconography is equally a means of working for Christian unity for it is a tradition that was shared by the whole church until the twelfth century, and now safeguarded and developed by our brothers in the eastern Church.



A young talent Arthus Viaud I am Arthus, I am 19 years old and I am a Motion Designer in a business in the video games world. I was very young when I began to get involved in Internet projects. Bit by bit, I taught myself how to use the software for graphic design and video montage. It has become my number 1 passion; this is what I do all day…and all night! Alongside that, I was at college, where I was very bored. I could not summon up any interest in what I was doing. This is what made me leave the school system after Year 3. From then I committed myself 200% to my passion. Someone became interested in me and my work and I was recruited. In due course this person suggested I join a school for graphic design. Essentially my job consisted of doing video productions, creating visual identities, via artwork, etc… I was lucky to get this work, it is exactly what I would have wanted. I work in the world of video games/events!; this gives me the chance to get around to more or less the whole of France and to encounter other experiences. I do all I can for my clients to ensure they are satisfied, even it means being up until 4 in the morning! It is my passion and thanks to certain people to whom I am grateful, it has also become my job.

* Illustration of work by Arthus is unavailable for reasons of company property rights; this illustration is provided by Arthus to give an idea of his work. Source: Video You M6 – Ident- Jingles PUB – May 2012

FOI • N°39 • December 2013 - January - February 2014




urch Unity

New Vision & Structure for the Church: a debate



Protestant Theological Faculty, Strasbourg University

Jean-François CHIRON

march 2014

Theological Faculty, Lyon Catholic University

From Thursday 18h00 to Sunday 17h00

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