Monday, April 16, 2018

France – Day 4 – 4/1/18 – Easter Sunday

As we prepared for breakfast, Larry noticed water on the floor in the toilet room. (This is separate from the shower room.) Clearly, the toilet was leaking.

After breakfast, we told the concierge about the leak and reminded him we still had no English-language TV stations, despite the efforts of the maintenance man the day before.

The last time we were in Paris (four years ago), we were also here on Easter Sunday. We decided to go to the local church near our hotel to celebrate the holiday with the locals. What a disappointment! No music, no indication of a special day, no flowers, just a regular Mass. When we returned to our hotel, we saw another member of our tour group. She said she had gone to The American Church, and the service was wonderful. This time, we decided to follow her lead.

To make sure we arrived on time, we asked the concierge call us a cab—well worth the cost (16.36).

I was surprised to find the church—a cathedral really—located in the middle of a residential block. However, the illusion was shattered as soon as we entered. What a beautiful edifice.
The only seats remaining were either in the balcony or down the side. We were pretty well over climbing stairs from the day before, so we opted for the side seats. Although there were posts in our way, we were able to maneuver so we could see nearly everything.

The Prelude featured several soloists performing sections from The Messiah, accompanied by the magnificent organ and trumpet. What a great way to start to the day.

Following the Greeting and Call to Worship, the choir entered to a marvelous arrangement of “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today” with “Thine is the Glory”. (Here is a slightly different arrangement from Duke Chapel in 2012, not the American Church.

Following the Prayer of Confession, the Youth Choirs sang “Our Lord is Risen!” (This recording doesn’t do the song justice. The kids did a much better job.

Following the reading of Acts 10:34-43, The choir presented the anthem: “Let the Bright Seraphim.” (I couldn’t find the Malcomm Archer arrangement of this one with three trumpets, organ, and choir.) Magnificent.

The reading of Mark 16 1-8 was followed by the sermon. Wonderful message, appropriate and applicable to today.

Next came “Exsulatate, Jubliate” from an a cappella group, Lumina. (

More prayers were followed by the offertory: “Passacaglia” performed by the bell choir under the direction of music director, Fred Gramann. (Much of the music, including this piece, was written and/or arranged by him. What a talented guy.)

The Doxology followed. Then came the invitation to communion. The usual words of institution were sung to “From All That Dwell Below the Skies.” (This tune was used What a delightful change. The congregation sang the first and last two verses. The lyrics in the middle were changed to the words of institution, sung by two of the pastors. I could imagine Bob using this way of beginning communion during his days as a minister.

The communion service was efficient, despite the number of people in attendance. During communion, we were treated to Bach’s “Sanfte soll mein Todeskummer” from the Easter Oratorio. (All the versions I found were played by chamber orchestras.) This was followed by “My Lord, What a Morning,” sung by Nichole Taylor. What a magnificent voice!

Another prayer was followed by the hymn “The Day of Resurrection”

After the benediction, those who wished to were invited to join the choir for the singing of “The Hallelujah Chorus.” They close their Easter service this way each year, appropriate since “The Messiah” was written for Easter.

I had to. I just had to. We had sung this on Christmas Eve in our church in Kobe, Japan (in addition to many other times). So, I simply had to sing it in Paris when given the opportunity. Larry, Bob, and Bernie also opted to join. I loved it.

The Postlude was one of Larry’s favorite organ pieces, “Toccata” from Symphony No. 5 by Charles-Marie Widor.

I was in ecstasy throughout the entire service. What a wonderful contrast to our experience four years ago. This time, we had an abundance of gorgeous music, a communion service, and a fabulous sermon. One of the most perfect Easter celebrations I have ever experienced.

After church, Bernie and I went in search of the toilets. When we located them, we found a pretty long line—as usual. As I always do, I began a conversation with the gal behind us. She asked where we were from. When we said, “Dana Point,” she laughed. “I was there just a week ago.” No one ever knows where Dana Point is, so this was a real surprise. She said she visits there quite often. We exchanged cards, and she said she’d contact us the next time she is in California. Small world, indeed.

We left the church about ten-thirty with time still left in the morning.

Next: France – Day 4 – 4/1/18 – Easter Sunday Part II


  1. I haven't been to a big church in so many years, this sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate Easter!

    1. It may have been the very best Easter service I've ever experienced. So much spiritual energy, beautiful music, and a great sermon.