Can Johny Cash and Alison Krauss save Gif?



When your  two BMS colleagues are quite ready to work along you on one of your crazy ideas on how being church in this secular place, you think that whatever the results will be, it will be a great day.

Last Saturday, the second of June we had our first Saturday evening service specially designed for non-church goers. The format was made of a two set of 20 mns of music sandwiching a 10 mns “sermon” and 10 mns interactive discussion.

With Philip and Rosemary Halliday and one of their best friends Cathy Sbernadori ( another Scottish lady) we had put together a list of songs on the theme of Creation with some titles from Johny Cash, Alison Krauss, Simon and Garfunkel, a very Scottish Donald Macgillavry and other folk and Celtic music including some worship songs at the end. Cathy is a professional musician and obviously was bringing her experience and skills to the evening. Beforehand we had explained to the congregation that it will be something very different than our Sunday service- I don’t think they thought it would be so different – and an evening for inviting friends and relatives.


My talk was about “dialogue” : how to re-create room for open dialogues between strangers (that’s what we are Christian and non-Christians, strangers to one another). In my “sermon” who served as an introduction to the interactive discussion, I told the story of Genesis in non-religious or theological terms, highlighting what we have in common, playing with “liberte, egalite, fraternite”, “freedom, equality and brotherhood” in Genesis 1 and 2. The service didn’t include  prayer time or bible reading.

Despite the people invited didn’t join at the end – the weather was too nice and encouraged people to join other parties or stay outside – all the church was present, including children and some friends. We had a great evening -people did enjoy – we had good fellowship around the aperitif, “drinks and finger food” time at the end of the service. There is a dynamic around Saturday evening which is quite different than Sunday morning, people were more relaxed. In the future, people having now experienced by themselves this sort of service, will feel more confident to invite people.

We will definitely do again this sort of Saturday evening service, learning from this first experience.


On the Sunday morning, I joined the training of my athletic club. For the first time since I moved to Gif, I had a free Sunday. Driving to join the team, I was puzzled to see hundreds of people cycling, running, walking etc. This place is definitely the great outdoor playground for people in the South of Paris. I could not avoid thinking that where we – Christians – have to be present, if we want to have this “dialogue” with others. And in deed, I had some good conversations during the 1h30 with the team.

I would like to take the opportunity of this update for sharing that I decided to be back on Marathon in 2018. With my athletic club we will go to la Rochelle (Brittany) to run a Marathon at end of November. It will be an opportunity to get to know people from the athletic club, have quality time together and train together for a difficult challenge. I also decided to run for the cancer research center who was so helpful for my husband and to raise money for them. It will be my way to mark the 10th anniversary in September of my husband Eric death – an inspiring guy. More to come on this topic in the following months..

The next key events at Gif are our English classes, which start this Friday, the 8th of June. A couple of people already applied. Then the Church will be part of the Music Festival the 21st of June with a Gospel choir made from people of Massy and Gif.

In another post I will share some updates of my role as a chaplain in the residential care home after some very interesting meetings.

I put below two videos from this evening with our “Alison Krauss” and “Johny Cash” of the evening

Video 1

Video 2