French, Syrian Christians pray after Paris attacks
Philippe Daunuer, of the Marseilles Church of Christ in France, wrote about his reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings earlier this year. Read his Views piece. (PHOTO BY ERIK TRYGGESTAD)
As news trickled in about suicide bombs, shootings and hostages, the Christians prayed “for the victims’ families, but also for the salvation of our country,” said Philippe Dauner, a missionary who works with the church.
A family of Syrian refugees who accompanied the church on its retreat “prayed passionately with us,” Dauner added. “They personally lost so much in terms of family members, church and house not too long ago.”
The family is one of two encountered recently by members of the Marseilles church. Both families fled war-torn Syria after enduring persecution for their Christian faith.
When the church members offered to assist, “they told us they had everything they need materially,” Dauner said. “However, they deeply longed for a church family, prayer and brothers to weep with.”
The Syrians “thought they were fleeing to a Christian country,” the missionary added, only to find that most of the people in their neighborhood are Muslim. They also were surprised by the apparent lack of influence Christianity has on French society.
A few days before the Paris attacks, members of the Marseilles Church of Christ traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia, and sand hymns in French and English for the Church of Christ on the Neva. See videos of their performances. (VIDEO STILL VIA YOUTUBE)
The families “reminded us of the many Syrian Muslims that also flee the carnage — and of the opportunity to serve them for Jesus,” Dauner said. “Mission to the Muslim world starts right here in Marseille.”
In Paris, as estimates of the death toll from the Nov. 13 attacks neared 130, the Church of Christ at Moulin-Vert turned its Sunday worship into a day of prayer and fasting, minister Robert Limb said.
“Paris as a city is grieving and in a state of shock,” Limb said. “There is also anxiety as this may well not be the end of the matter — either here or in other cities in Europe or America.”
The “obstinate” faith of France : Ekel Jean teaches a Sunday morning Bible class for the Lyon Church of Christ. The small congregation includes native French Christians and believers who came to France from Caribbean nations and territories including Haiti and Martinique. See our related story from Lyon. (PHOTO BY ERIK TRYGGESTAD)
In Lyon, southeast of Paris, a Church of Christ spent Sunday mourning for the victims and celebrating a baptism.
The celebration was “an example of the triumph of good over evil,” minister Arlin Hendrix said. “God will not be stopped, and we mustn’t be either.”