As young people from immigrant backgrounds experience new development in the neighborhood drawing in more affluent and European people, the repetition of unresolved history from generations past plays itself out. Many feel exactly what their ancestors described feeling when Europeans came to Algeria, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam ...
Many from the dominant culture want those who come from other cultures to just fit in and become French. They want them to forget history and look toward the future. They are ready to accept anyone, as long as they embrace fully being French.
But they struggle to understand that it is nearly impossible to embrace something that you don't believe embraces you. And embracing these young people means embracing their story, their history, including where it inconveniently clashes with your own.
We believe Jesus taught us how to face these difficult subjects boldly and effectively, through repentance and forgiveness. Honestly and bravely considering my neighbor and his story as equally loved and valued by God as my own. It is not complicated. But it is hard. Which is why we all need help from above and from one another if we are to succeed.
We are developing a community of Parisians dedicated to helping children and young people at risk of being marginalized from society. This community allows people to belong based on their common desire to help young people in need, and thus provides an opportunity for some who might never come into a church to experience the love and power of the Gospel in action.
The Village seeks to develop dynamic social activities for children and young people and to offer pertinent personal development and care to its participants and volunteers from both inside AND outside the faith. In particular, we want to stress the importance of seeing the value of our neighbors as the same as our own as the key to reconciliation and the key to the shalom of our neighborhood.
In short, we are following Jesus and inviting others to walk with us, allowing them to taste what that means in an authentic relationship.