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French pastor dies in climbing accident

November 2020 | by John Tredgett

Édouard Nelson SOURCE CNEF
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Édouard Nelson, a US-born French pastor, Vice-President of the National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF), and father of four, has died aged 45 following a tragic climbing accident.

In August he was holidaying with his wife, Laura, and children in Chamonix, southern France. They went rock climbing at the cliffs of nearby Les Gaillands. While at the popular climbing spot, Édouard fell fifty feet and sustained serious head injuries.

Paramedics worked at the scene before Édouard was rushed to Annecy Hospital via helicopter. He was kept in an intensive care unit while accompanied by family and friends.

The doctors informed Édouard’s family that due to the severe nature of his injuries treatment was impossible and Édouard had a few hours to live. The following day, he passed away.

CNEF announced his death on their website and paid tribute to Édouard’s faith: ‘We know that Édouard is now with our God. His discernment, his love of the gospel, his sympathy and his humour will be missed at the CNEF, as well as by all those who collaborated with him.’

Raphaël Anzenberger, President of France Evangélisation, said, ‘Édouard’s passion was three-fold: preaching, church-planting and mentoring. And he did all three with excellence.’

Former president of CNEF, Lhermenault Etienne, also paid tribute: ‘I had the privilege of working closely with Édouard Nelson for three years. The news of his death is a real shock. Evangelical Protestantism has lost a man of conviction, vision and action. I have lost someone who gave me unwavering support.’

Édouard pastored Eglise Protestante des Ternes, just north of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The fellowship belongs to the Association of French-speaking Baptist Evangelical Churches.

Édouard previously worked with the Groupes Bibliques Universitaires, which carry out ministry with Christian Unions in French universities. He also contributed to the 2008 book, Conversion: Manipulation or Transformation?

Matthieu Sanders, Pastor of Eglise baptiste de Paris-Centre, a church with close links to Édouard’s own fellowship, said, ‘We still lack words to express the pain we feel. Édouard was a man who had a tireless passion for the proclamation of the gospel. He was boiling with energy and zeal; he had a “holy obsession” of the need to multiply the places and communities where the gospel is proclaimed.’

John Tredgett