Wednesday, May 9


I wrote a bit on L'Abri last time we were here, but will try to describe this place in a bit more detail.  First, I should point out that L'abri isn't an easy place to describe.  It isn't an institution or school, but it has some similar elements.

L'Abri was begun by theologians Francis and Edith Schaeffer in 1955.  They had traveled to Europe for a mission board, but eventually cut those ties and began L'Abri.  L'Abri means 'the shelter'.  Basically the Schaeffers practiced a radical form of hospitality.  They bought a chalet (see below) in the alps and anyone who came along was welcome to stay with them, working and learning.  From the beginning it has been a place where christians and non-christians are free to come and ask questions while sharing in christian care and community.  

Now, L'abri in Switzerland (there are several others around the world) has grown to include several chalets (including a chapel/library) and multiple workers.  Obviously over the past fifty-seven years things have changed some, but the general idea is the same.  L'abri is a place where anyone is welcome to come, ask questions and share in christian community.  There are a couple lectures every week, students have a weekly tutorial, and generally, students spend half the day studying and half the day working (to prepare meals, grounds work, cleaning, etc.)  Jim and I love the emphasis on work and study in the context of hospitality.  The focus on academics and spirituality, alongside the practicality of sharing meals and the work of the community creates a very holistic environment.  We are very excited to be a part of this community for the next couple months.  
This is the original chalet where the Schaeffers lived.  We are living in the top two floors while we are here and it is fun to read about the Schaeffers while living in this beautiful space where it all began. 
The front garden - yes, the view is amazing!
So far the days have been warm and sunny.  The boys are having a wonderful time exploring, hiking, digging in the garden, and playing outside.
This is the view from a path at L'abri.


Jenny said...

What a unique opportunity! Can't wait to hear more! Would love to see how you 5 are sharing what looks like a small space in "those top two windows."

Watkins said...

I think that those top two windows must actually be in the attic. We have the two floors below (just not the basement) and it is the biggest space we've lived in (I think). There is plenty of room with lots of great nooks for hide-n-seek!