In a time of increasing government pressure on minority religions and churches, evangelicals in France are finding growth through cooperation in outreach with Catholics.
The British charismatic magazine Renewal (June) reports that evangelical churches are facing restrictions and harassment under a new government effort to monitor groups that are considered cults. Churches that have operated for decades face disruptions and restrictions in using meeting space and other forms of public discrimination, writes Catherine Butcher. A group of churches along Britain’s southern coast have been particularly active in organizing prayer groups and engaging in evangelism in this new environment.
British churches known as c:net congregations have been in the forefront of encouraging a new model of evangelism based on working with Catholics as allies in mission, Butcher writes. These Christians hold conferences and prayer groups that include both Catholics and Protestants. Many of these prayer groups, which are charismatic, are viewed as embryonic churches. Other events, such as Embrace Nos Coeurs (“Light the Fire”) bring together Catholics and Protestants with the goal of demonstrating unity and praying for revival.
The Alpha courses — introductory courses in charismatic Christianity — that have been so popular in Britain and other parts of the world are also finding a following in France. In the last 10 months, 3,000 French people, including 500 priests, have been trained to run Alpha courses.
(Renewal, Broadway House, The Broadway, Crowborough, East Sussex TN6 1HQ England)