International Ventures Takes Students to Paris
Students Investigate Post-Christian Europe
NEW YORK, July 27, 2011—Continental Europe, center stage to so many major events in Christendom, is increasingly secular. Cathedrals are more national treasures of art than they are houses of worship for the masses. The decline in church attendance is so significant, in fact, that some say that Western Europe has entered a “post-Christian” era. What derailed a continent, so rich with Christian history, from the faith? This was one question that prompted 10 King’s students to travel to Paris, a historical centerpiece of Christianity in Europe, as part of the College’s International Ventures program.
The three week pilot venture to Paris was the first International Venture to Western Europe. At midnight on June 3rd, 10 King’s students, two alumni, and Professor Harry Bleattler, Dean of the School of Media, Culture, and the Arts, departed New York City for Paris. Six hours later, the group arrived.
While in one of the cultural capitals of the world, the team visited the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Basilica of St. Denis, the Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame. The trip, however, wasn’t “all fun and games,” as team leader Sarah Ferrara (’11) pointed out. Ferrara said that the group was in Paris to “talk about the greatest ideas in one of the greatest cities of the world,” and to ask the question, “What happened to promote such a wave of secularism, and why?”
To answer this question, the team set out to speak with Parisian students about their religious and philosophic beliefs. In order to narrow discussion, the students arrived in Paris prepared to shoot a documentary focused on French social attitudes toward love and marriage. Fewer Parisians are getting married, and more are choosing to forgo having children. Students from King’s wanted to know what people in the “City of Love” think of marriage. They handed out surveys, shot video, and interviewed French students as part of a documentary that is currently in production.
Students also had the opportunity to partner with the Campus Crusade English Club and Je Faim (“I have hunger”), a ministry that offers food, conversation, and the gospel to the homeless.
The last three days of the trip were spent in the town of Versailles, where the students spent their time recapping the trip and casting vision for the next year. Chris White, a King’s alumnus, summarized the trip saying, “Paris is, perhaps, the greatest city in the world in terms of its contribution to politics, philosophy, history, and culture. Moreover, Paris—and France—is a place that has championed human rights and freedom, while at the same time rejected absolute truth and Christianity. This tension provides a strategic framework in which TKC students, faculty, and alumni can engage a wide range of issues surrounding politics, religion, and French society.”
The King’s College educates students in the ideas upon which nations rise and fall. With a focused curriculum in the liberal arts tradition, students are prepared to help shape, and eventually to lead, the institutions of government, civil society, media, law, business, education, the arts, and the church. King’s is a Christian college located in the Empire State Building in New York City.
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