The International Christian Community of Lyon
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The International Christian Community of Lyon

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Each year, Lyon becomes a temporary second home to thousands of English-speaking international students.

For most university students, especially those living abroad, nothing says “comfort” like a home-cooked meal!

Every Friday night during the school year, students from all over the world gather together to share a hearty meal followed by Bible study and conversation.

The group, sponsored by the International Christian Community of Lyon, is called “Refuge,” because it offers both a spiritual and physical refuge from the pressing demands of university life in a foreign culture.

At Refuge, young internationals can come to study God’s word, ask their questions, and meet others. It helps them connect with other Christian young adults and to those searching for answers and gives them a safe environment to explore the Christian faith.

Jonah Haddad and his wife Amy lead the Refuge group. “My desire is to help young people think through the ultimate questions of life using the Bible as a guide. I want their time in Lyon to be a time of spiritual growth and learning so that they can respond thoughtfully to the secular world around them,” Jonah said.

 For Szwei, a Taiwanese student at Sciences Po Lyon, the Refuge group has become an important part of his social life in Lyon.

I didn’t expect to have such a warm, open and cheerful Christian fellowship in Lyon,” he said, “I enjoyed very much sharing meals, our common faith and laughter with these international friends every Friday. I know this unforgettable experience is going to have a certain impact on my life.”

 Refuge is just one of the ministries that The International Christian Community of Lyon offers to students.

Besides the Friday night group, the ICCL offers weekly worship services on Sundays at 4:30 in Caluire, not far from the Cuire terminus of the C metro line.

The ICCL exists to provide a place of Christian worship and fellowship to English-speaking believers from all corners of the globe.

Pastor Greg Whitus said, “One of the key areas of emphasis for us is the international student community. We welcome any and all university students, including those who are strong believers as well as those who are curious about the Christian faith.”

In addition to Refuge and worship services, the ICCL offers a Women’s Bible study for all ages. It takes place on Thursday afternoons in the 6th arrondisement near Metro Foch (A line).

Moriah, a student from Australia, summed up the importance of this ministry: “The ICCL and Refuge group were an integral part of my semester abroad in Lyon. I loved that we came from all over the world and regardless of language or culture we were all united by our love for Christ. Both groups were my home, my family and my church and I am so grateful for the fellowship and teaching that I was able to receive.”

For more information about what the ICCL has to offer to international English speaking university students, go to their website at,

or contact Pastor Greg Whitus at