Over fifty years ago, Tom and Doris Julien stepped out in faith to purchase a dilapidated 14th Century chateau in St. Albain, a small village in Burgundy, France.
Their goal? Create a bridge to reach French society with the gospel. The primary fruits of those efforts are the leaders and members of new churches in France and beyond. Today, God is leading the renewal of this unique facility as a bridge to a new generation. The Chateau de St. Albain’s primary objective: utilize sports, music, drama, and other creative means to create a safe place where authentic believers can share Christ. Through relationships, they’ll make disciples among France’s next generation—ones who’d never darken the doorway of a church building.
The French government has recently called for a series of much-needed handicap accessibility requirements on all public-use buildings. The Chateau is over 600 years old! In order to see this ministry continue, these major renovations, even on an old castle, must be made.
French believers desire to see this place as a self-sustaining and growing training center where young French men and women are introduced to the person of Jesus and become disciple-making disciples of Christ.
They desire to see God raise up new growth in hard soil.
Believers all over Europe and the United States are rallying around their vision of creative outreach.
Why? …because the young people of France are least reached with the gospel.
This year, we, Grace College will contribute to this end.
EUROPE CONTINUES to be a highly influential and strategic part of the world. The post-Christian country of France registers below one percent true believers in Jesus Christ. This least-reached population of over 63 million is aggressively secular and spiritually indifferent. But more recently, from among the five Grace Brethren churches in France, there is a wave of new church planting. From Lyon in the south of the region to Dijon in the north, there are people coming to Christ and as many new churches as existing ones.
Churches use the Chateau as a neutral place for adult and youth activities, outreach weekends, sports camps, spiritual retreats, and Bible discovery. Fruitful evangelism and discipleship is the ultimate goal for this living bridge into the heart of Burgundy.
Nicolas Alphonso and his wife Nancy are members of the Grace Brethren Church in nearby Macon, the first church planted through the ministry of the Chateau. Nicolas, a Frenchman, has just been appointed the new director of the Chateau and is excited to move the ministry forward in focusing on the least reached of France’s young generations. Nicolas and Nancy are the proud parents of Samuel (5) and Esther (3). They bring an assortment of special gifts, talents, and expertise in areas such as youth ministry, sports, business management, counseling, teaching, and computer skills – all areas that will move the Chateau into a self-sustaining ministry. In addition, Nancy is a chef with her own cooking website and blog. Their warmth and engaging personalities are linked to a strong testimony for Christ among friends and acquaintances.