Protestants celebrate Quebec City’s milestone anniversary

QUEBEC, QC—French and English volunteers will blanket Quebec City with thousands of Scriptures this month to help celebrate the city's 400th anniversary.

Various denominations and evangelical organizations have united in the initiative to celebrate the city's unique history and share Christ. The group raised funds to print more than 350,000 Gospels of John in French, English and Spanish to be distributed as part of a program targeting thousands of visitors expected this summer.

One of the participating groups, the evangelistic team from Quebec Espoir (Hope for Quebec), will present a "Breakfast of Hope" which features speakers sharing personal testimonies of faith. Other outreaches include dramas , concerts and larger conferences.

While mainstream events take place all summer, the group focused on peak tourist season (mid-July to mid-August) for their evangelistic efforts.

"The main objective of this historical rendezvous with faith is to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to the population of Quebec City as well as to the thousands of visitors from all over the world," says Roland Grimard, general secretary of the Union of French Baptist Churches of Canada.

Grimard's denomination held its annual general meeting during the celebrations and organized several public concerts and evangelistic events. The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada also planned a major convention in Quebec City in August.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Bible Society provided more than half a million Scripture selections from the Gospel of Luke for events in conjunction with the International Eucharistic Congress, a large Roman Catholic event that took place in July.

Celebrations to mark Quebec City's milestone officially began July 3. Church bells in both Roman Catholic and Protestant spires across the country tolled to commemorate the arrival of explorer Samuel de Champlain.

For several Protestant groups the event is an opportunity to highlight the early involvement in New France of French Protestant Huguenots who came searching for greater religious freedom.

Reformed churches share close historical and theological links with the Huguenots, and highlighted the French Protestants' contributions to the development of Quebec City with a kick-off conference in May and the launch of several historical books.

Some of the detailed historical research by Protestant groups also contributed to the content of "Forgotten Presence: The Huguenots in New France," an exhibition that will run until March 2009 at the Musée de l'Amérique Française.

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