Catholiques et Protestants unis à Orléans (article du journal la Croix août 1999)

lArrivé au pied de la cathédrale d’Orléans, le petit groupe entonne son chant au son de la guitare et du tambourin. Plus loin, sur une place de la vieille ville, c’est le temps des saynètes et des témoignages, entrecoupés d’autres chants. Un tract vert à la main, certains vont à la rencontre des passants alors que d’autres, plus à l’écart, les soutiennent de leur prière. Devant eux, une pancarte précise : « Missions de la Tente de l’unité : des catholiques, des protestants, des évangéliques annoncent ensemble Jésus-Christ. »

Moqueurs ou étonnés, les passants se retournent ou accélèrent le pas en baissant la tête. « Mais c’est l’Armée du salut », s’étonne une dame. « Je trouve qu’il faut du courage pour faire ça », confie ce jeune homme. D’autres sont plus incisifs : « C’est une secte », jette sans appel une vieille dame.

Chaque été, deux missions de la Tente de l’unité sont ainsi organisées. Quinze jours chaque fois, qui rassemblent des hommes et des femmes de tous âges, majoritairement issus de la mouvance charismatique. A Orléans, catholiques, luthériens, réformés et évangéliques se sont retrouvés, venus de toute la France et de Suisse. Aujourd’hui, une autre mission démarre à Créteil, avec cette fois des orthodoxes.

Apprendre à se connaître sans gommer les différences

Chaque mission part plusieurs jours pour faire connaissance. Un moment important pour créer l’unité du groupe, où alternent temps de prière et séances de formation à l’évangélisation et de découverte des autres confessions. « Il ne s’agit pas de gommer nos différences, insiste Michel Parmentier, président des « Missions de la Tente de l’unité ». Chacun reste profondément enraciné dans son Eglise. » Mais très vite, les participants s’aperçoivent que ce qui les choquait dans l’autre confession tenait plus à des problèmes de vocabulaire. « J’ai vraiment découvert le catholicisme de l’intérieur », se réjouit un des participants réformé.

Au coeur de ces échanges : les célébrations communes. Un jour, la Sainte-Cène, le jour suivant, l’Eucharistie. Pour le pasteur réformé Daniel Galland, c’est le meilleur moyen de réaliser l’unité nécessaire à l’évangélisation : « Il faut être unis pour pouvoir évangéliser, avance-t-il. Sinon, c’est toujours perçu comme de la récupération par l’une ou l’autre Eglise. »

C’est seulement après une semaine que le groupe part dans les rues. Pas toujours facile. « C’est vrai que ça peut avoir l’air ridicule », reconnaît Henriette, la soixantaine respectable. Claire, une jeune Orléanaise, raconte qu’au début de la semaine, elle a eu beaucoup de mal à évangéliser dans ses propres rues. « D’autant que c’est moi qui portais le panneau », sourit-elle.

Une action complémentaire de celle des chrétiens du lieu

Daniel Galland admet que cela peut déranger. « Mais il faut surmonter cette peur d’être mal perçus », appuie-t-il. « Les gens ont besoin de cette spiritualité. Quand on voit la place prise par les sectes, poursuit Michel Parmentier, on se dit que si les chrétiens ne se lèvent pas, c’est les sectes qui occuperont toute la place. »

Au cours de chaque mission, une « soirée d’évangélisation » est organisée pour rencontrer ceux qui ont été contactés dans la rue. A Orléans, elle a lieu dans un petit hôtel des bords de Loire, dont la salle sert chaque dimanche pour le culte évangélique. Ce soir-là, une bonne soixantaine de paroissiens catholiques ou protestants, s’y retrouvent. Mais il y a finalement peu d’athées ou d’agnostiques.

« A Antibes, nous avions eu beaucoup de monde, se souvient Michel Parmentier. Ici, à Orléans, c’est vrai qu’ils sont moins nombreux. Dans chaque ville c’est différent. » Peu importe : la soirée se transforme en exhortation à l’évangélisation. Une nouvelle occasion pour le groupe de rencontrer les communautés chrétiennes d’Orléans.

« Nous ne sommes pas des parachutés, tient à préciser Michel Parmentier. Nous venons toujours en complément d’une pastorale, là où nous avons été appelés par les communautés. » Celles-ci auront, ensuite, la charge de continuer ces missions d’évangélisation. Pour lui, ce qu’ils font ne portera du fruit que si les chrétiens du lieu veillent sur ce qui a été « humblement semé ». Pour Orléans, il est optimiste : pasteurs et prêtres ont déjà l’habitude de se rencontrer. « Mais il y a des villes où ils ne se sont jamais assis à une même table », explique-t-il.

Nicolas SENEZE

La Tente de l’unité

C’est au début des années 70 que Thomas Roberts, un pasteur évangélique gallois, commence à rassembler à Gagnières (Gard) protestants et catholiques pour annoncer l’Evangile dans la rue, sous une tente. « Le chapiteau s’est agrandi peu à peu : un mât, deux, puis trois, raconte le pasteur Daniel Galland. On a senti qu’il fallait passer à autre chose. » En effet, les gens touchés étaient déjà souvent des chrétiens actifs. « On a laissé le chapiteau au Centre chrétien de Gagnières, et on est parti chercher les gens là où ils sont : dans la rue », continue-t-il. Les « Missions de la Tente de l’unité » étaient nées.

 

SENEZE Nicolas
Publié sur     https://www.la-croix.com/Archives/1999-08-04/Catholiques-et-protestants-unis-a-Orleans-_NP_-1999-08-04-480257

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