Annual Letters

The Association of Pastors of Alsace and Lorraine

The APAL (Association of Pastors of Alsace and Lorraine) is actually a small pastor’s association. This is demonstrated by its geography. Although the name suggests that it includes all of Lorraine, it only includes the Moselle department. In all, the APAL is only responsible for three of the 101 departments of France. The explanation for this is historical. It was only here that the concordat was not abolished in 1905, when it was for the rest of France. At the time, our region belonged to Germany. When Alsace and the Moselle became French in 1918, this special status was retained. There is no church tax; the French government pays pastors and part of the administrative positions. In many places, the church and parsonage belong to the town, which pays for part of the upkeep.

Another reason for the small size is that membership is voluntary. A pastor who joins the association simply pays a membership fee of € 10.00, but some colleagues forget this from time to time. Nevertheless, even those who are not members can count on our help. What follows is a description of our activities.

Our statutes declare that the goal of our association is the preservation of the "professional interests of the pastors". For example, we are ready to mediate in conflicts between a pastor and church leadership. From time to time, a board member accompanies a colleague who is summoned by church leadership. It can help for someone not directly involved to be present. Many situations could be cleared up in this way. Two board members also participate in a mediation group with the personnel director, a mediator and three pastors. The goal is to recognize whether mediation could be helpful in conflicts between colleagues, or between a colleague and his or her congregation, between a colleague and church leadership.

Another area of responsibility is solidarity. Our resources are modest, but the association does have a small solidarity fund that can help relieve colleagues in financial straits.

We hold a yearly assembly for our members. A part of it is devoted to an important topic (for example, in 2018; the pastorate and political engagement, in 2019; how to successfully balance work and recreation). Unfortunately, we had to cancel the 2020 assembly, with its planned topic of church reality and pastorate between change and capacity for persistence.

We are pleased that next year, June 2020, we will host the congress of the KEP. We hope, of course, that by that time we will have the Corona crisis behind us.

Greetings from France

Daniel Boessenbacher

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