We have just returned from France, where we spent one week in Paris and one week in Aix-en-Provence. In Paris we attended a colloquium on “The Church and Politics.” The timing could not have been better, as the French government had just decreed that no one could be in any public place with a covered face. Although the official reason given was security, the new law would clearly affect Muslim women more than anyone else. Since 1905 French policy has sponsored “la laïcité,” that is, a neutral, lay state. One must wonder whether neutrality has not become a new religion.
We also were able to meet with various church leaders and church- planters. Although their efforts are for the long term, we saw many signs of hope, including the favorable mood among young people toward spiritual things. Called by Grace Davie, “believing without belonging,” it seems many Europeans want to acknowledge a higher power yet without being cramped by doctrines or institutions. So, one emphasis these leaders try to communicate is that worship, like love, requires a structure.
In Aix we worked at the Reformed Seminary, where I was able to teach two courses and sit on a doctoral panel. It was gratifying to see two Westminster graduates holding key positions at the school, Paul Wells, the current Dean, and Yannick Imbert, professor of apologetics. Enrollment is solid, and we were once again impressed by the marvelous faithfulness of this community, nearly 40 years on from its founding. The one significant change is that Frédéric Hammann is leaving to take up a new ministry in Switzerland. The Seminary plans to hire an interim coordinator for the practical theology department. None of this affects the Boice Chair.
Please find enclosed a “save-the-date” flier for our grand soirée, September 16, 2011, at the Philadelphia Country Club. Proper invitations will be sent over the summer.
Very Truly Yours,
William Edgar, President