Monday, May 11, 2009


I was first introduced to The American Church not because of the church itself, but because it is widely known throughout Paris to post ads for housing. People gather during non-worshiping hours with pens and papers in hand, hoping to find just the right spot to live. Don't bother looking on
Sundays, however. The bulletin boards will be covered up on this traditional day of rest and reverence.

For a little history, this second version of The American Church in Paris opened its doors to the public in 1931. While it may be a twentieth century edifice, it is certainly inspired by the Gothic Revival that was popular at that time. With its ceilings that span high above and its general architectural plan that is based on 15th century design, it certainly casts its beauty to any discerning eye.

Located on the quai d'Orsay, just a five minute walk from Les Invalides metro station, this church has been serving American expatriates, as well as other English speaking members since the original church was built in 1857. Traditional services are offered on Sundays at 9:00 and 11:00 and the contemporary service is at 1:30.

Rev. Dr. Scott Herr leads the interdenominational Protestant church. Even as a non-Christian, I myself enjoyed listening to his contemporary sermon filled with positive messages. While it may be a common site to see most ministers stand at a pulpit, separating themselves from the congregation, Reverend Herr is not one of them. He stands at eye level at the front of the church and instead of reading a passage, he truly connects with the congregation as a whole and with each of us as an individual. He gives his parishioners his attention by offering eye contact with them. It was as though he was looking into our souls and I wanted to listen. One can't help but like this man who never stopped smiling.

Even before I heard Rev. Scott speak, the church practically pulled me in the first time I attended a service. I was like metal to a magnet being led by the truly magnificent voice of the songstress who sounded like a messenger from the Divine. During this contemporary service that I attended, much of the hour was spent listening to her and that was not a problem for me. I think that it is fairly safe for me to say that all of us were moved by the powerful energy of the room. Hands waived and bodies swayed as the audience couldn't help but be captivated by her talent. I personally felt the powerful resonance of every sound that I heard.

While you are here, don't forget to take a peek at the extraordinary stained glass. Some of the glass was designed for the original church in 1901 by the famous studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany. These pieces are considered National Monuments and according the church's website, they are the only Tiffany stained-glass windows inside a church in France. The American Joseph G. Reynolds collaborated with Charles J. Connick on some of the other pieces. These gentlemen specialized in Gothic Revival glass work, which fit perfectly in the motif of the building. For a full list of the glass, click in history page of the church's site.

Along with Sunday worship, The American Church has a host of classes, activities, fitness groups and other forms of fellowship, which are all listed on their website.  Furthermore, docent tours are given every Sunday (with the exception of the first Sunday of the month) at noon.

If you are an expat or a visiting Christian, this is the church for you. If you simply are looking to discover information about the history and the architecture of another church in Paris, the arms of the congregants will be open to you—and believe me, you won't be disappointed.

The American Church in Paris
65, Quai d'Orsay
75007 Paris, France
+33 1 45 56 09 50

Thank you for reading and bonne journée!