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FOYERS MIXTES

COMITE FRANCOPHONE PERMANENT

FRENCH-SPEAKING INTERCHURCH FAMILIES

A LETTER TO FRIENDS

Number 1

*1*

A World Gathering

    The first world gathering of interchurch families (Anglican/RC, RC/Protestant, Protestant/Orthodox) took place from 24 – 28 July 1998 at the World Council of Churches headquarters in Geneva.

    Some 200 participants, comprising interchurch couples and about 30 children, as well as priests and ministers, came from 15 countries, including Ireland and Croatia, and from three continents, including Australia, and spent four inspiring days together in reflection, discussion, celebration and relaxation.

    First objective: to deepen their knowledge of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, through the participation and contribution of the secretaries of these organisations, German Lutheran pastor Konrad Raiser and our French compatriot Mgr Pierre Duprey from Rome.

    Second objective: to get to know one another better across the geographical barriers of frontiers and oceans: all interchurch couples share the same joys and difficulties, coloured in different ways by their individual cultural and church contexts.

    Third objective: to compose together a message, meant for those present and those unable to attend, as well as for friends outside the interchurch family movement but in sympathy with the search for Christian unity. An account of this gathering appeared in edition no 122 of the ‘Foyers Mixtes’ newsletter (obtainable from 2, place Gailleton 69002 LYON; 50FF franco; CCP 6662 62 W LYON).

*2*

Comité Francophone Permanent (CFP)

The final message from the conference has been published very widely in several languages. In France and Switzerland, a joint committee which grew out of the conference has the responsibility of making it more widely known. This committee has at present two addresses:

 

Centre Saint Irénée
2 place Gailleton
F-69002 LYON

Tel: 04 78 38 05 07
Fax: 04 78 42 11 00


    The committee is examining the possibility of creating a website, and would be pleased to hear from anybody with appropriate experience who could be of assistance in this project.

    The aims of the Comité Francophone Permanent are broader than the publication of the final message of the international conference. It does not wish in any way to replace local, regional or national representatives, whether interchurch families, priests or ministers.

    It seeks, however:

    1) To help to coordinate the movement in French-speaking areas, particularly in France and French-speaking Switzerland

    2) To strengthen links with similar bodies in English-speaking countries: the Associations of Interchurch Families in Britain and Ireland (AIFE, SAIF, NIMMA, AIFI), the American Association of Interchurch Families (AAIF) in the USA, the Canadian Association of Interchurch Families (CAIF) in Canada, and with any future German-speaking bodies which may be formed.

    3) To work with the ecumenical movement, and in particular with the two bodies which are responsible for this movement on an international level (the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity); might it be possible for interchurch families, a part of the wider international ecumenical movement, to have a place in the Forum planned alongside but independent of the WCC?

    The principle of this Forum was adopted at the 8th Assembly of the WCC in Harare in December 1998, but it is not yet known what form it will take or when it will come into existence. Its aim is to enable ecumenical dialogue not only with churches which are not members of the WCC (for example, the Roman Catholic church and some evangelical churches) but also with other ecumenically-minded worldwide bodies within the ecumenical movement in the same situation as these churches.

*3*

A Letter to our Friends

    The bulletin ‘Foyers Mixtes’ has been providing a great deal of information for 30 years to the French-speaking public. We think it is helpful to complement it with a newsletter of which this is the first issue. This newsletter is hoping to provide a summary of information two or three times a year, not on a local, but on a national and international level.

    It will be sent to all our friends, and especially to church leaders and those working in the ecumenical movement who seek to go a little way alongside interchurch families on our common pilgrimage towards full Christian unity.

FUTURE MEETINGS

  • Swiss interchurch families, Arzier-sur-Nyon, 29 – 30 May 1999: ‘The future is ours to make'

  • Interchurch families in South-Eastern France, Grenoble 5-6 June 1999: Mary, an ecumenical contemplation

  • Interchurch families: France/Italy/Switzerland, Torre Pellice (Italy), 9-12 July 1999: The family or domestic church

  • French-speaking interchurch families, Le Rocheton-Melun, 6-7 May 2000.

  • Second world gathering, Rome 2003.