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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Bonjour Paris!

God's plan for our lives has clarified itself again, at least for the coming months. 5 weeks ago the senior pastor of the American Church in Paris emailed us to ask if we could talk in the coming days.
The wonderful view of the American Church Spire beside the Eiffel Tower
We are good friends with him and thought he just wanted to pick our brains on something. We knew that the pastor to youth and young adults in the church had unexpectedly left and returned to the US so we thought he was probably going to inquire as to whether or not we knew someone in our circles who might be interested in the position. Well, that was true to an extent but much to our surprise and delight, he was actually calling to ask if we'd consider coming over to serve as interim pastors to youth and young adults while they got a search process going.
Sharing a new job once again
Our initial response was that we are neither youth nor young adults but we do consider ourselves both at heart so we were intrigued. Scott expressed that the staff had talked about us in a recent meeting and felt that the combination of experience, maturity in ministry and ability to create and have fun could be the perfect fit for this time period. After talking, praying and pondering over the pros (many) and the cons (few), we said yes! We've signed a contract for March 1-September 30 with caveats for longer or shorter periods should the church find a good candidate sooner or later. As we've lived into the reality that we are moving to Paris, both of us have been filled with joy and excitement over this wholly unexpected yet inviting new call.
We are excited to join a church that we love. We've been at ACP many different times, most recently about a year ago when I was privileged to speak at a women's retreat there. We've so struggled to find a church here in the US that to be a part of such a vibrant and diverse church will be a huge spiritual boost for us. We are excited to join a staff that we respect and appreciate. It will be very good for us as a couple to join a staff and not be the ones driving the overall ministry. The thought of having a specific area of call feels exciting and fresh to us at this point. And we are genuinely thrilled to work with the intern, volunteers and kids, parents and young adults at ACP. We were always closely connected to these groups at Immanuel in Stockholm and look forward to pursuing these relationships with intention.
Being in Paris will still allow me plenty of time and space to work on my grant project with the Louisville Institute. Having just returned from the consultation with other grant recipients, I feel more passionate than ever to work on the topic of the welcoming church and being in Paris will open doors for interaction with others that being based in the US would not provide. Doug and I will share the position which means part-time work for us both. I have moved my deadline for my project completion to June of 2018 which gives me plenty of time once we return to continue the writing and research.
We will move to a furnished apartment that the church provides, so the packing up process will not be extensive. And of course, no canine to transport this time around. We will miss introducing the delights of Paris to Tanner but also know that a season without the encumbrances of a dog will afford certain advantages as well. We are working on some French vocabulary through a website called duolingo.com and will take some courses upon arrival. We know the neighborhood of the church and apartment well so look forward to wandering around our favorite haunts, exploring Paris more deeply, picnicking in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower on the Champs du Mars, which is a mere 15 walk away for us, and digging into church life again.
A few years ago on a previous trip to Paris
We'll button up the house in the desert for a few months so if you know anyone who wants to rent the place for a bit, let us know. We're open.
The timeline is quick on this one. We leave Feb. 26, arrive Feb. 27 and start work on March 1. Our Swedish citizenship allows us to enter the EU and live and work without further paperwork which is a big blessing.
I said throughout the election that I was voting with my right hand, and holding my Swedish passport with my left. Little did I know that the opportunity to return to Europe during this very difficult and sad time in the US's history would be ours to enjoy.
 Please do check out the church's website! It's truly a vibrant, exciting, meaningful ministry and we so look forward to experiencing the ways in which we will grow to love and appreciate the dear folks in the congregation as well as being a part the wonderful staff already in place.
Bonjour Paris. Nous nous réjouissons de vivre dans votre belle présence.