The John

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By Laura Salamon

The John-Bost Foundation gives great importance to spirituality and nurtures its link with the Protestant community.

Spirituality and pastor chaplains occupy a special place within the John-Bost Foundation. Pastor Christian Apel was able to testify to this during a discussion on the relationship to Protestantism of the works that resulted from it, during the 24 hours of the Federation of Protestant Mutual Aid in May. Indeed, the Protestant base of the foundation has remained strong over time. Guarantors of this anchoring, the board of directors is composed mainly of Protestants and the general manager is a pastor. But how to maintain this attachment in the future? For the foundation, which welcomes people oriented by the structures of the State, the stakes are high.

This bond passes above all through a very present spiritual life, animated by four chaplains: Christian Apel is in the Paris region and in Normandy, Ottilie Bonnema on the site of the Dordogne valley, Philippe de Pol is in charge of catechesis while Isabelle Bousquet intervenes in other establishments and works on cross-functional projects. “Spiritual life is broader than religious practice,” explains the latter. We accompany residents spiritually. Some are Protestant and attend worship but others ask to go to mass, for example. We make sure they can get there. » All religions are welcome. Even if, sometimes, it is necessary to remind certain employees of the Protestant character of the structure and its values, such as tolerance with regard to different convictions.

Appropriate spiritual times

To animate the spiritual times, the pastors have also developed specific tools. This Friday afternoon at the end of May, Philippe de Pol brought his “accessories” to the La Famille home, which welcomes residents with a mental disorder. Everyone rings the gong that marks the beginning of worship and welcomes their neighbour. For worship, the pastor activates a loudspeaker with his mobile phone and the music carries the participants along, who sing heartily. Fabric prayer rope, words of intention inscribed on wooden plates, everything has been thought out to facilitate gestures and accompany prayer.

The pastor touches the marks of a plate repaired according to the tradition of Kintsugi, a Japanese art which aims to glue broken ceramics back together with gold. The scars are beautiful. It then presents the logo of the John-Bost foundation, with a scar bringing the two parts of a split square closer together. “Popol! » exclaims Jean-Daniel from the corridor, before rejoining the group and settling down. He arrived late and leaves just after the Our Father to be sure not to miss the snack. Then the group breaks up singing: “You are there, at the heart of our lives, / And it is you who makes us live, / You are there, at the heart of our lives, / Very much alive, O Jesus Christ…” Words that the residents really live and that continue to run through our heads! As you walk away from the foundation, you realize how sad the outside world is without the diversity here.

Laure Salamon, special correspondent at La Force

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