La Côte welcomes 15 young people for First Communion

The 12th century stone church in Gingins, Switzerland, tends to be cool even in summer, but on Trinity Sunday on 11 June with the temperature well over 30° outside and a large crowd packed inside, the place soon started to warm up. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends all turned up to the mid-afternoon service to see 15 young people of La Côte Anglican chaplaincy taking their first communion.

La Côte’s youth band, directed by youth worker Calen Gayle, led the music and singing.

Following the prayers led by our CEMES intern, Alison Speed, the young people were welcomed to the Lord’s Table. When the adult congregation was asked “Will you parents and all the church family continue to worship and learn together, supporting these children and young people as we grow together in faith and love?” the answer was a unanimous and resounding “We will”.

Our chaplain Carolyn Cooke led the service, but our former chaplain Paul Holley who now has a parish in Bodmin, Cornwall, just happened to be on holiday in the area and stopped by for the service. Paul recalled having baptized three of the children during his time at La Côte.

Another member of the congregation commented that the “fantastic service” was a truly “special occasion” for the children. “I’m sure it will stick in their memories forever,” she said. “It was such a privilege to share in giving them Communion for the first time. I found it very moving.”



Bishop Robert confirms nine on the Franco-Swiss border

The Swiss Reformed church at Crassier, just 20 m from the French border was the site for a service of confirmation when Bishop Robert visited La Côte Anglican chaplaincy on 25 June 2017. After addressing the Swiss Archdeaconry Synod in Zurich the day before, Bishop Robert headed west across Switzerland to join La Côte’s Sunday morning service at Crassier where he confirmed five teenagers and four others who were somewhat beyond teenage. One of them was first baptized by Bishop Robert and then joined the others in their confirmation vows.

Members of La Côte in both Switzerland and France have no church building their own. The Swiss congregation meets in a church in the village of Gingins while the French congregation meets in Divonne-les-Bains.  Since some of the confirmands lived in Switzerland and some in France, the chaplaincy decided to hold the confirmation service in the church at Crassier which straddles the border. Using the larger church was made easier because La Côte has close links with the Swiss Reformed parish of La Dôle which covers nine villages and includes five places of worship, including the one in Crassier.

The Crassier church is therefore a good place for joint services of the two congregations.  At the confirmation service the song groups from both the French and Swiss Anglican congregations united their voices to provide a harmonious boost to the singing.  And to top it all, the wine offered with refreshments afterwards included viticultural products from both sides of the border.


Summer Musical Garden Party at La Côte
“YIKES! The weather forecast is rain!” The cri de cœur came from Julia Chambeyron, La Côte’s Assistant Chaplain in an email a week before the party. And we all dropped to our knees. And lo! hardly a drop fell throughout the party. The sun even poked an occasional ray through the dark and stormy clouds. Nevertheless, we did take a few precautions: an assortment of tents, gazebos and booths, all neatly aligned in the Chambeyrons’ garden, lent a festive air to the surroundings.

A camping tent contained scores of scrumptious ready-to-eat dishes, a barbecue provided satay brochettes, hamburgers and hot dogs – and there was music! A gospel choir, a family ensemble, the La Côte Youth Band, and a variety of soloists, duos and more. They hardly stopped all evening, and the ultra-powerful sound system ensured that even the deafest among us didn’t miss out on a single note.  Our intern, Alison Speed, who ended her stay at La Côte was given a leaving present by our Chaplain, Carolyn Cooke.  Darkness came at last, but before the party was over Julia’s husband Philippe treated us all to a magnificent fireworks finale.

In all, about 70 members of the congregation and their guests attended. The takings of €1070, have been donated to Médecins Sans Frontières for their humanitarian work and to our ongoing sponsorship of two children in Togo.