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40th anniversary at Aix

November 2014 | by Paul Wells

The John Calvin Seminary in Aix-en-Provence, France, celebrated its 40th anniversary in September. The weekend was marked by several events.

An open lecture with discussion on the theme of the future of the Reformed faith was given by guest speaker Gerald Bray from Cambridge and by Paul Wells. This was followed by the official opening of a renovated classroom and library, a half-million pound facility that has already been paid for, thanks to gifts from around the world.

On the Lord’s Day, Etienne Lhermenault, president of the National Council of French Evangelicals, preached from Romans 9 on the necessity of training for the pastoral ministry.

The afternoon was marked by greetings brought from friends of the seminary, from Europe, America, Indonesia and Brazil.

During the weekend a festschrift was presented to the president, Pierre Berthoud, and emeritus professor Paul Wells, who have both served the seminary for their entire teaching careers.

Representatives of Kampen Theological University in Holland also announced a partnership with the seminary, including full academic recognition — an important step, as no theological colleges in France have government recognition.

At present, the seminary, which is a confessional institution based on the French La Rochelle Confession (1559) and which is committed to maintaining the Reformed faith in France, has more than 100 students enrolled in bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral programmes. Half of them are in distance learning and already involved in pastoral ministry.

The students come from a broad spectrum of French-speaking evangelical churches. Some 80 per cent of graduating students enter the pastoral ministry or Christian work. The seminary has six full-time teachers, five of whom are former students with pastoral experience.

Paul Wells

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