Reformed Church of France concludes its 2010 General Synod

Reformed Church of France concludes its 2010 General Synod

The theme of the 103rd national Synod of the Reformed Church of France, which was held from 13th to 16th May, was solidarity and social action (or “diakonia”). Against a background of recession and the negative effects of globalization, delegates considered how the Church could respond to new types of insecurity, and how to prepare for service to those suffering from social exclusion and for accompanying “life’s wounded” on their spiritual journey.

We enclose the text of the relevant decision adopted by the Synod. It is in three parts, intended for three different recipients: the local churches, the Protestant movements and organizations engaged in community work, and the National Council of the Reformed Church of France. The Synod also adopted a public statement.

The Synod adopted a number of recommendations. The Synod encourages local churches to extend a welcome to members of the congregation who come from abroad, and to make room for their culture and their special sensitivities. Where Protestant communities of immigrant origin establish their own churches alongside the local Reformed church, the Synod recommends setting up a partnership to ensure they do not become isolated.

The Synod also reacted to the new government Bill on the situation of foreigners in France. Addressing Members of Parliament, it expressed serious concern about the possible consequences of the application of this Bill on the lives of foreigners seeking protection or a better life in our country. The delegates affirm that all life is precious in the eyes of God; consequently, they cannot accept the ill-treatment and humiliation engendered by a Bill that they regard as liable seriously to restrict freedom and contrary to Protestant ethical values. The Synod requested the National Council to bring its concern to the attention of the Government, and exhorted the local churches to challenge their elected representatives on this matter.

Finally, the Synod appointed a new National Council for a three-year term. Pastor Laurent Schlumberger was elected President, succeeding Pastor Marcel Manoƫl, who is retiring after nine years in office. Laurent Schlumberger, 52, has been a minister in different local churches, and was president of the Western Region of the Reformed Church of France. He has written a number of books, the latest of which, Sur le seuil, (On the threshold) is an attempt to define ways and means of evangelization from a reformed perspective.

With brotherly greetings from the Reformed Church of France.

The Rev. Didier Crouzet is responsible for International Relations for the Reformed Church of France.