Day 3 of our #AYCFrance19 tour took us to Bordeaux, without question one of the winemaking capitals of France. For much of Day 4 we would retrace our steps and head back north as far as Tours, before heading toward the center of France to the city of Bourges, in the Berry province.
Today was slated to be the longest driving day and to be honest, we were all dreading it a bit. Distance-wise it wasn’t a killer (between 430-500km / 265-310 miles depending on the route) but we weren’t traveling by car… we were traveling by bus and therefore were limited to a speed of 100km/h (62 mph) and the driver’s contractual obligations (minimum number / length of stops).
We’d alloted 7 hours for this drive which isn’t bad in itself – you can still get in a bit of sightseeing before church if you leave early enough. The other half of the problem was that the driver’s total work day – exceptionally – could not exceed 14h (normally, it’s 12h). So we had to keep in mind his ability to get us to and from church later that evening.
Eventually we were able to shave some time off the day by leaving a bit later than planned and taking the highway as opposed to the more direct route on roads with a lower speed limit.
After a long morning of driving, we opted to take the kids to see the St. Étienne Cathedral, a mammoth structure in the heart of the city.
Knowing that they would not have the chance to visit Notre-Dame de Paris, this was an “icing-on-the-cake” stop because St. Étienne Cathedral dates back to the same time period as Notre Dame and both are built in the gothic style… right down to the flying buttresses (a fairly new “technology” at the time, which allowed builders to strengthen and stabilize walls from the OUT-side and include more windows… to bring in more light – the sacred element.)
Construction began in 1195 and the bulk of the structural work was completed in 1230 (Only 35 years!!!).
Some of the youth from the Bourges church joined us for the visit, for a photo op and for a time of prayer walking through the city center.
(note the center photo: there “may” have been some intense leadership discussion going on among the “saints”) 🙂
Church with the Local Believers
After quickly settling into the hotel and giving the kids a chance to freshen up, we headed out to church.
Pastor & Mrs. Pascal Chartier lead the local church and although there is a bigger group there, they do not yet have their own building, as we have in Châtellerault, so they rented a larger municipal hall for the occasion.
The Chartiers started out as simple church members some years ago, but after a failure of leadership (and much coaxing by Pastor Nowacki, who oversees the work in France), they assumed a leadership role some years ago. Their quiet & steady leadership-style has gone a long way in constituting a solid core of believers there.
It was nice to worship together with them as they are the closest apostolic church to us. They had been with us for a regional event back in 2016 but this was the first time that we’d been with them for a service in their neck of the woods.
If you live in an area where churches are on every proverbial street corner, or even reasonably close… don’t take it for granted. This is our closest sister church and it’s roughly 2 hrs away.
Pastor Chartier expressed how much he appreciated the AYC visit. I may have mentioned it before, but churches in the Paris region have access to special events & visiting ministers all the time because of their number and their close proximity.
It takes a real effort to get “out of Paris” to some of the outlying churches, making it something of a rarity. For this reason, when it happens, it has an even bigger impact.
Thank you, AYC, for blessing the local pastor and the church in Bourges.
Day 5 saw us head up to Paris… that’s tomorrow!