Sunday, May 14, 2017

Festival Des Confreries - Place Ducale - Charleville-Mezieres, France
 Festival des Confreries

One thing we have generally appreciated about the City of Charleville-Mezieres is that they tend to be very active in producing events of interest for their citizens.  We suppose that in a city this size - not too big & not too small - that such activities are important for keeping the city center vibrant and the citizens involved and compensated.

Place Ducale, just two blocks from our apartment is the center of all such activities and events.  One such event, Festival des Confreries, is in process this weekend.  Yesterday we went to take a peak at what was going on as we had no idea what a Festival des Confreries might be.  We had a nice surprise upon arriving at the place and we took a few pictures, some of which we share with you here.
 La Confrerie de la Moutarde de Dijon - Place Ducale - Charleville-Mezieres, France
It seems a Confrerie (la/une) is what we would call a Guild in english.  Each guild seems to have its own costume or dress which we found rather interesting.  Many of the representatives of the confreries also sported medals which seemed to represent some sort of achievement or quality of product.  This festival in Charleville-Mezieres is focused on food products and provides the citizens an opportunity to enjoy a meal or snack of regional products and some not so local (but mostly regional).  There was much sampling and eating going on.  We suppose that promoting and selling products is the objective of the Confreries who participate.   Whatever; we dare say that both citizen and vendor were rewarded.
La Confrérie de la Galette à suc' - Place Ducale - Charleville-Mezieres, France

La Confrérie de la Jurade Princière de Chimay - Place Ducale - Charleville-Mezieres, France
Confreries represented at this festival ranged from Sanglier/Wild Boar products to candy nuggets.  There seemed to be more than a fair share of beer and wine confreries - of course, this is France and the water aint all that great!  One representative of a confrerie nearly forced Sister Clark to try a sample he offered.  She said it was good and only after she ate it did we learn that the man offering samples belonged to La Confrerie du Lapin a la Biere.  Guess Sister Clark got her first taste of beer!
La Confrerie de la Gaufrette Maconnaise - Place Ducal - Charleville-Merzieres, France
Cigogne/Stork Chicks

Several weeks ago we posted some stork/cigogne on the nest pictures, indicating that they were one of the signs of Spring we were seeing in the Ardennes.  This week, on our way home from our District Meeting in Reims, we decided to check in on them.  Sure enough, there are chicks in the nest now.   The picture below show three.  We discovered that the male and female cigogne share many of the responsibilities of mothering their chicks; including siting on the eggs and feeding.  Why do some animals do this and the supposedly more intelligent humans tend to leave most of the dirty work to the mother?  We have greater respect for the male now.   We sense that these are true French cigogne - they seem to like frog.
Cigogne/Stork in the Nest - Haudrecy, France
Coq of the Week

Take note: this one is from Suzanne, France.   

The most unusual thing about this coq is that we also found his older brother.   Perhaps coqs do get to eventually retire after many long years of service - their retirement age is much greater than ours for sure.  We suppose not many actually retire but simply move from the steeple to the grave.  Nonetheless, our coq of the week certainly has a retired brother.
Coq Girouette - Eglise Saint Barthelemy - Suzanne, France 
Should a coq be fortunate enough to retire, it seem he is put upon a pedestal - well deserved we would say.  Below is the retired older brother of our coq of the week.  He sits in the Mairie widow in Suzanne, France where he can keep an eye on his younger brother just across the street.

Feeling that a retired coq deserved more than a window seat, we offered to take him on a trip to the United States.  Yep, we inquired as to whether he could be had for the right price.   The old gentleman who cares for the church and the Mairie felt the coq has more to accomplish in Suzanne - he will stay put.  While we would like to acquire such a coq, we might want to reconsider what is best for these coqs.  

We did get a tour of the church though - not always easy to do in these small villages - we appreciate the old gentleman for his kindness.   By the way, it is he and his wife who have taken on the repairs needed in the church, including the statues that have been broken over the years.
Retired Coq Girouette - Eglise Saint Barthelemy - Suzanne, France
Branch Members

Our recent trip to the Paris Temple Open House was very encouraging.  We had nearly a dozen non-members as well as two less-active members make the trip.  We are praying that the Paris Temple will further bless the people of France - members and not - embrace the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and receive the blessings provided through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

One of the less-active members joining us at the Open House was Sister Lisette Horun.  Sister Horun has been a member since 1997 when she and her husband were baptized.  Brother Horun was invalid for many years and Lisette took total care of him without ever complaining.   Brother Horun passed away on December 19, 2016.  Sister Horun continues to be very emotional and is trying to regain her footing in life.  Brother Horun tended to have the stronger testimony and devotion to the Church.

Sister Horun has a great desire to be with her husband again and realizes that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only christian church that teaches that she has that possibility.   She seemed to be touched by her visit to the Paris Temple and the information provided during the tour.  We are hopeful that she will find the way to return to activity in the Church and qualify for the blessing of Eternal Life in a family unit.  At this point, we are grateful that she would accept our invitation to visit the Temple with the Branch.
Soeur Lisette Horun - Charleville-Mezieres Branche - France
Friends of the Church

Brother Lauren Biver decide at the last minute to invite his father Robert to join us on our trip to the Paris Temple Open House.  We had met Lauren's father once or twice and he seemed extremely nice. Thus, we renewed our encouragement that Lauren invite him once we knew we had a couple of extra seats on the bus.  Lauren was hesitant as he had tried to discuss the Church with his father on several occasions without much success.  Hesitation turned to surprise and delight when his father said he would like to join us.

Lauren was even more pleased to experience his father's positive responses during the Open House tour of the Temple.   On the way home, Lauren and Robert discussed mostly the Temple and the Church - a great blessing for Laurent regardless of where it all ends up.   Another blessing realized because of a Temple in France.  We pray for and expect many more.  We invite you to add your prayers to ours, asking that great blessings flow from a Temple in France.
Robert Biver - Friend of the Church - Charleville-Mezieres, France

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