Three weeks after commemorating the death of Philippe Duplessis- Mornay (1623-2023) at the castle of Saumur (Western central France), I can say with great relief that everything went very well. After several months of intense preparations the evening of 18 November was marked by a double conference, one of them by a retired university professor, a noted biographer of Mornay. He stressed the latter’s worldwide strategic vision for the expansion of Reformed faith (and French influence), especially towards the Americas. This event was particularly well attended. People came not just from Saumur and its surroundings, but from the South and North of France, from Paris, Vendée, Normandy and elsewhere. The regional press as well as a national radio channel presented a report about the event and its significance. A few additional talks were also planned around the central event. One took place in Paris last week, another one in Saumur a few days ago (at the Duplessis-Mornay high school).
In the presence of Saumur’s mayor and another politician, a member of the French Parliament, I asked a vital question as an introduction : what is it about some people that means they are remembered in a positive way 400 years after their death? Will we be remembered 400 years after our death? If so, for what kind of achievement or legacy? It was not an altogether innocent question, in view of the fact that a project currently pushed forward by both politicians, is the establishment of a casino in the vicinity of Saumur (the green light has just been given by the Parliament in Paris). This is certainly not the kind of legacy that Duplessis-Mornay left behind him, or that he would have approved of! I have started praying the Lord that He will make this debased project utterly fail (please join me and a group of local Christians who are also opposed to it in your prayers), as it will only increase the moral and social decay of a nation already addicted to many idols. Also high on my agenda is helping a municipal counselor (a devoted Roman Catholic) to formulate adequate arguments on the matter. A retired army officer driving a local touristic business, he is clear-sighted, courageous and resolutely opposed to the inauguration of this temple of Mammon. On the other hand I prayerfully hope to build on the success of the commemorative event around Duplessis-Mornay to foster a different kind of influence at local level, perhaps even broader.
Coming Up in 2024
Last week br. Jacky Barbier (current chairman of Foi et Vie Réformées), and I were in Paris, attending an annual get together of Evangelical churches, organizations and missions. This event allows us to introduce our ministry to the public visiting the center, to network and get some new ideas or incentives. A Christian publisher suggested I compile a short book of meditations on the theme of union with Christ, on the model of the one published last year (In spirit and in truth). He strongly believes that there is a real need for a publication on this vital topic. I am considering it seriously, while having already committed to write another book, a kind of introduction to reading the Bible, intended to help first readers of Scripture (not necessarily Christians).
Another project for 2024 has to do with the organization of a colloquium on the German Calvinist thinker Johannes Althusius (1557-1638, a contemporary of Duplessis-Mornay), whose major work, the Politica (1614) has just been translated from Latin to French. This event is to take place on 3 February in Paris, at the Institut de France (something like the Library of Congress in Washington DC). Exactly a month later, our annual camp for young adults (the second one we organize), will take place in the South of France, and will deal with the following theme : Glorify God in your body (1 Cor. 6:20). We are actively planning the precise contents of the camp and the sub themes to be dealt with in the light of God‘s Word : food, health, sport, dance, bio-power, conception and contraception…
May our Triune God be glorified through these various activities. May we remain united in the one Lord and Savior who came at Christmas to reclaim his inheritance, given by the Father : the whole universe (not just our heart or our body), of which He is the only King.
Warmly in Christ,
Rev. Eric Kayayan
MAY OUR TRIUNE GOD BE GLORIFIED THROUGH THESE VARIOUS ACTIVITIES.
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